Learning to say no is an important part of making sure you don’t spread yourself too thin.
However, setting boundaries can be difficult if you are afraid you will hurt business or personal relationships. So here are some ways to say no that won’t leave you feeling guilty, mean or selfish.
Don’t Make It Personal
The first thing to remember when saying no is to direct your rejection at the request, and not the person.
People have a strong tendency to personalize rejection and so it’s up to you to clarify. Make sure they know you are simply limited for time or have other priorities set in your schedule.
Don’t worry if your priorities aren’t the same as the person making the request. You’ve earned the right to set your own schedule!
Set Priorities Beforehand
If you set priorities beforehand and are consistent, people will respect your time.
“Identify what’s important to you and acknowledge what’s not. If you don’t know where you want to spend your time, you won’t know where you don’t want to spend your time. Before you can say no with confidence, you have to be clear that you want to say no.” – Harvard Business Review
The more confident you are in your decision to say no the better. When you are sure about what you are going to say no to, you are seen as a person of integrity who isn’t easily distracted.
Tell Them Why & Be Sincere
Some reasons for saying no will hold more weight for you than others.
“The particulars of your reason for saying no make very little difference. But having a reason does. Maybe you’re too busy. Maybe you don’t feel like what they’re asking you to do plays to your strengths. Be honest about why you’re saying no.” – Harvard Business Review
So whether you’re saying no because your schedule is busy or because you’re on vacation, it’s important to treat each excuse with sincerity.
Nix The Guilt
Know your reason for saying no and don’t be ashamed of it!
Sometimes saying no can make you feel guilty or selfish. These feelings are perfectly normal. They are confirmation ou are a thoughtful person who cares about other people’s feelings.
Remember, you’re not saying no to be mean. You’re saying no because you respect your own time. After all, if you don’t respect your time, how can you expect someone else to?
You are bound to get pushback when you say no. Stay firm in your decision and have confidence you’re on the right track!
Let Go Of The Fear Of Missing Out
Not everything you say no to will be undesirable. Sometimes you will have to say no to things you actually want to do.
“Be willing to say no to more things. This will provide you with more time to devote to those experiences that are more deeply rewarding. Remember: More isn’t necessarily better. Focus on the kinds of things that enhance the quality not the quantity of your experiences.” – Psychology Today
Saying no takes practice. When you excel at your job and are dedicated to good work, it’s easy to get taken advantage of if you’re too available. But don’t be too generous with your time; it’s your most precious resource.
Practice saying no without guilt. Learn to take pride in your ability to set boundaries. People will respect you, you’ll respect yourself, and above all else, you’ll feel a new sense of control over your time and your life.
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!