It’s tough to say no

photo credit: Espen Dalmo

In working with my clients, I realized there are two big reasons why saying no is so hard. When we want to say no and don’t, it’s because we worry about…

-what the other person will think about us
-what the other person will do to us

That’s when you’re inner voice starts screaming say yes! to help you avoid any possible pain or ugliness. Then, well, you’re stuck doing something you didn’t really want to, regretting it and beating yourself up.

I walk folks thru a process to get to a place where saying no is easier that I’m sharing on a complimentary call next month. A really fast tip I’ll share here is:  have your personal ‘Standard No’. You know, kinda like the canned response feature on Gmail.

Your Standard No is meant to give you time to think, delaying your answer, until you decide what to do. It’s more robust than the ordinary ‘I’d love to but..’ and comes in two parts: 1) question 2) response.


Your Standard No

The first part of your Standard No is a question that you ask the other person after their request.  I call it standard because you’ll use the same one all the time until you get practiced at saying no. (And maybe longer)

I tend to favor something like,

That’s interesting. Can you tell me more about…why, what you need?

It’s warm, shows interest yet is non-committal and gives you a chance to slow things down (useful for pop up requests). You’re gathering info to decide if you can/want to say yes or no.

The second part is the response or saying no, if that’s what you decide.  Great thing about this strategy is, by taking the time to ask your earlier questions, you can often reveal a way to meet that person’s need without sacrificing your needs or time.  There are loads of ways to skin a cat, right?

Can I tell you something?  Honestly, the hard part is not which words to say.  The hard part is getting the proper mindset to speak your truth to yourself and others.

What do you think is the hardest part of saying no?

PS  I’m talking more about this at my free teleseminar, I Hate to Say NO.  Registration opens March 14!

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