say no

You are walking out of the grocery store and all of the sudden you see a cute little girl selling cookies. You’re thinking “No, I am not giving in this time. I’m a strong person and I am going to say no this time!”

Next thing you know you’re fighting to carry an extra 4 boxes back to your car.

But how do you say no to their little “puppy dog” face?

I think more importantly, why is it so hard to say no to others? After all, saying ’no’ isn’t morally wrong; we should have the freedom to choose for ourselves!

Why we Always Say ‘Yes’

For the most part, we would love to kindly decline, but fear takes over and we get crippled in our own thoughts. We start to build the fear of:

  • being rude
  • weakening the relationship
  • hurting their feelings
  • choosing for ourselves (confidence)
  • missing out on the ‘event’
  • conflict in general

Because this fear takes control, we end up buying those girl scout cookies or worse, giving up half our weekend for something we could’ve avoided.

Remember: any time you say ‘YES!’ to one opportunity you will say ‘NO!’ to every other opportunity.

Our time is the most important asset we have. We will protect our money by keeping it secure no matter what, but why don’t we do this with our time?

By creating a system to automate certain responses, we will simplify our lives as well as saving ourself time and stress.

Today we will learn how to protect this precious time by throwing a few memorized responses in our tool belt.

But which responses should we use?

There are a 4 different strategies that you can take depending on your goal and the situation at hand.

Answer Without an Answer

  • That’s a great question. Let me think about how that would work.
  • In order to plan for this, can I get back to you tomorrow?
  • Let me chew on this and get back to you, ok?
  • Hmmm, let me think. (Now ask any question to divert conversation).
  • Thank you for bringing this up. I’m going to discuss this w/ (name).

Deliberately Say No

  • Thank you for including me, but I can’t because of my schedule.
  • I’m afraid I won’t be able to this time.
  • I can’t. I’m too stressed to do anything right now.
  • I appreciate your time, but no thank you.
  • I’d rather not. Thank you, though!
  • I would love to, but do you mind if we do a rain check soon?

Offer an Alternate Solution

  • Have you asked (Whitney)? I know she would love to be able to help out.
  • I would be able to if we changed the (location/time/etc). Would that work?
  • If you could help me (clean out my garage this weekend), I would be able to finish in time.
  • How about I help contribute by (donating towards the event).
  • Let’s (get everyone together) so I don’t have to make a decision for others. Sound good?

Blame Yourself

  • I promised my wife that I wouldn’t make any plans this weekend.
  • I made a commitment to stop (drinking) during the week.
  • I have already spent over our family budget on (vacations) this year.
  • It wouldn’t be fair to my (family member) to book this last minute.
  • I want to be reliable and I don’t want to overpromise right now.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to keep in mind is to be honest and sincere. Do not, and I repeat, do not be overly apologetic or explain why you are unable to say yes. This may be genuine, but it makes the situation more awkward than being direct.

Don’t forget: practice makes perfect!

Take a moment to find a few responses that will work for you and wait for someone asking you to do something for them. Say no to them with confidence and make a point to feel good about it.

The more you balance your time, money, and energy, the more flexibility you will have in the future. Once this method is second nature to you, these obligations will be automated out of your to-do list for good.

Ready – Set – Automate!

Let’s start today:

  1. Practice with a few ‘dedicated’ responses above and say no to someone today
  2. Start prioritizing what you should and shouldn’t respond yes to

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