Saying ‘no’ is a very common challenge for high achievers. Saying ‘yes’ to all opportunities shifts us off purpose and creates the sort of to-do list that wakes us up at 2 am worrying about how to get it all done!
Two year olds have mastered the art of saying ‘no’! Here is my then 2-year-old daughter absolutely embodying ‘no’. I guarantee that you were an expert in ‘no’ at that age too!
What happened? Many of us grow up to be people pleasers and ‘no’ drops from our vocabulary. Even worse, ‘no’ can drop from our notion of what’s possible for us.
And so the to-do list gets heavier, we pay attention to what we think others expect from us, and we no longer truly honor ourselves.
Understanding what drives your ‘yes’ is key to saying ‘no’ with confidence. I think there are eight overarching reasons why we find ourselves saying ‘yes’:
1 Good Samaritan. We feel compelled to step in and help.
2 Saying ‘no’ is rude. From very young children we are encouraged to please others. Now as adults, many of us worry that saying no will be seen as rude.
3 Fear-based ‘yes’.Fear of conflict; fear of being judged; fear that someone else won’t do the job as well as we would do it…
4 Burning bridges.A specific type of fear – the fear of lost opportunities driven by a scarcity mindset.
5 Success addiction. Feeding an addiction to success drives us to overcommit.
6 Lack of thought. Sometimes we simply respond without thinking.
7 Captive to enthusiasm. It all sounds so interesting and before we know it we have committed to something else.
8 Unclear on purpose. Any train is a good train if you don’t know what station you are heading for.
What drives your ‘yes’ and gets in the way of your ‘no’?
Can I leave you with a universal truth? Saying yes is simultaneously saying no! Every time you say ‘yes’, you are simultaneously – and often unconsciously – saying ‘no’ to something else. Or to someone else.
What or who are you saying ‘no’ to by saying ‘yes’?
Learn to say ‘no’ to manage your energy, prioritise your time & honour yourself.