How to say NO if you’re a YES person

One of the hardest things for business owners is to learn how to say no if you’re a yes person. Are you a yes person?

Even when you’re snowed under with work, family, and life admin, do you find yourself saying yes to things you don’t really have time or headspace for?

How to say No if you are a Yes person

The downside of being a yes person:

  • You can enable others to develop a dependency on you
  • You may be susceptible to people taking advantage
  • Stress and burnout can zap you and your energy levels
  • Your time can evaporate, leaving you to drop the ball on your own priorities
  • You can be distracted from your own tasks and not meet your goals

Don’t prioritise the needs of others over your own. You do have a choice. Flexing your no muscle more will enable you to so say yes to more of the right things.

​How to say no:

Use the ‘No’ word. Say it: “No”.

Don’t say you’ll think about it or dart around the issue; be polite but straight up when declining the offer. You might also thank them for asking.

Don’t justify your no.

If you say, “I’m too busy this time”, when really you don’t ever want to do it, they’ll assume it’s ok to ask you again.

Don’t apologise. It’s your time!

Practise Saying no.

​Break the habit cycle

Assess the relationship. If you can’t say no, ask yourself why. Are they a true friend? Does your colleague share the company’s values? In which case, they’ll be totally respectful of your no. It’s important to set relationship boundaries.

Say yes – with a catch.

Take the power back. Controlling the how and when can reduce the stress of saying yes. For example, maybe your colleague has asked you to do a job for them. You might say, “Yes, I can do that for you, however, I can’t begin until a, b and c are finalised, so it may take three weeks to do a good job of it”. That leaves it up to them if your yes with strings is their best solution.It’s important to value yourself enough to respect your own time and it’s also great to empower others to give things a crack themselves or find their own solutions.

In business, it’s critical that you only say yes to the things that align with your vision and five year plan. That might mean not developing that new product idea which is cool but doesn’t really fit your core business. Or, it might mean not developing a strategic partnership with that person you really like – as your business doesn’t stand to benefit enough from it.

Of course, being clear on your vision, goals and priorities makes it much easier to say no to things that don’t contribute to your desired outcomes!

Get in touch if you want help clarifying your personal and business goals!

“We’ll increasingly be defined by what we say no to.” Paul Graham

This article first appeared on our old website.