There are a lot of reasons why it’s hard to say NO, especially for women. Some of these could be:
When you have to say no someone or you have to say no to a really cool opportunity, it feels like:
Did you know that a stronger “YES” makes it easier to say “NO”?
I think I originally started talking about this in my Dynamic You Program and it’s an absolute favorite concept of my clients.
Torn between saying “Yes” or “No”
As I share some examples see if you can relate:
It was a time when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I was putting together a big summit. I was coaching my clients. My assistant was going to be finishing up. There was just a lot on my plate. Then my husband and my kids said to me that they wanted to go skiing. That’s a great idea, and I wanted to go too; however, the other part of me was already feeling overwhelmed.
Moms, you know what it’s like getting the family ready for anything! There's a lot to prepare: kids clothes, skis, boots, snacks… then carrying it all, putting it all on and then taking it all off. I didn’t want to do any of it and I didn’t think I could handle it anyway.
I had to think about what was important. My family is important- yes. My relationship with them is important- yes. Exercise is important- yes. But at that specific moment, I was feeling like my mental health was the most important. What I really just needed was time to myself. I sat with that realization for a while. I’ll admit I shed a few tears.
I told my husband that I really don't want to go. That I wanted to be alone, have some downtime, and just be by myself. He was understanding. The most important thing was that I said YES to me! Which then made it easier to say NO to them. That’s a hard decision because as a Mom I usually pick my family. But in this case, I really had to choose myself.
PRESSURE TO SAY YES:
Another example was when I was on a board and was asked to take on more roles than what I was already doing. I said, “No, I can’t take on more.” When I was pressed a little further, I said, “No, I was busy.”
What's crazy is that the response back to me was, “Well, we're all busy.” Side note, saying “No” is a complete sentence. But most people just won't take no as an answer. I felt like I couldn't just stand confidently in my no and I had to give a reason. I agree we were all busy, but I was the only one on the board with children. Not to say that other people aren't busy without kids, but if you have kids or even fur babies, you are responsible for them 24/7 and you need to do so much for them.
My free time was super limited, so I had to say “No”. I was already giving lots. I started to feel bad and thought that maybe I needed to take on more because everybody was taking on more.
I had to look at it from a different angle, “What do I need to say YES to?”
Once I got really clear on the things I wanted to say YES to, I was asked again by the board to take on more roles. I replied this time with more confidence, “I would love to but I'm saying YES to strengthening my marriage and my relationship with my children.”
The little change in my answer and a reframe to how I spoke about it had me stand very firmly in that Yes. YES to putting some of my own priorities before this request.
SAY YES TO YOUR OWN GOALS
I had a client who was running an event at her child's school for many years. It was taking a lot of her time and energy away from her business, family and herself. I asked her, “Is it time to pass that off to someone else at the school to do?” She responded, “Ya maybe. My daughter graduated a few years ago.” What?! So she was doing this for the school PAC to raise money for a school and her child wasn’t even going there anymore.
Then I asked her what she would do with that time and energy. She said she’d:
It was hard for her to say NO for many years, but now she found her stronger yes. It was hard for her to pass this off to someone else. But as soon as we put it in that perspective of what would you say YES to instead, it was super clear and she delegated it off her plate.
All of these have shown me that when we have a STRONG YES it’s easier to say NO.
So what do you wish you could say yes to in your life?
What are you saying YES to in the world? Or mainly, what do you want to say YES to and then look at all the things in your life that you really want to say NO to.
So what now?
Make a list of all the things you would like to say NO to and all the things you wish you could say YES to. I don't know how many times I've heard from clients that they wish they could have more fun:
You can have everything you want, just not all at the same time. But how sad when your life is filled with things you don't want.
You don't have to keep saying YES to things you don't want in your life. Yes, we have to honor some obligations or commitments or priorities in order to really care and support people we love most. But on that day I said YES to myself and stayed home by the end of the day when my family got home, I was ready to welcome them back. I was rested. I felt calm. I felt grateful.
When I've said YES to my family instead of saying YES to that board, it made a difference.
Look at every area of life.. all 10 areas and ask yourself, Where do I want to say yes? And where do I need to say no? Then leave a comment. Let me know how this goes. If you're having trouble with the conversation where you’ll be saying NO, that is one of my specialties. Reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org.
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