Kickstart Monday: How to Save Your Sanity with One Simple Word



The Power of No

A couple weeks ago my mother-in-law's looked at me and said "Pat, you've got to learn to say no once in a while."

Being a reasonably polite person I smiled and said "I do. In fact, I say no to people all the time."

I may be in the office six days a week and my calendar may look overwhelming to my mother-in-law, but I'm well aware how many hours there are in the day and I carefully plan how many of those hours can be spent on any given project.

I make sure that I include time for working out, reading and down time every day and I even schedule mental health days where I can either do nothing or go crazy and just do whatever I want. I also never eat lunch in front of my computer.

None of that was true when I worked in a cubicle. And it probably wouldn't happen now if I hadn't learned the power of NO.

No is a powerful word. It's a statement of autonomy that lets people know that you are in control of your own choices. And It doesn't have to be harsh or rude, it just has to be firm.

No doesn't require excuses.

You may feel like you have to give a reason, but if you're doing it right, no stands on its own without justification.

You may think that it's being kind or tempering the blow, but adding a reason weakens your position and gives false hope.

Think about it.

What happens when a parent says no to a child? If it's a resolute no the child will (eventually) back off, but as soon as mom or dad adds a reason that child sees it as a hurdle to overcome.

It's no different for adults.

What do you hear when you ask someone to do something and they say "No, I don't have the money right now?"

If you're most people, you interpret that as "I'd like too, but the price is wrong" and you go out and find a way to make it cheaper.

That's fine if the person really does have a problem with the cost, but you and I both know that chances are good that as soon as you come back with a solution to the cost problem the person will come up with some other excuse that skirts around the fact that they just don't want to do it. So why not skip all the hassle and just say no right from the start?

It's all about awareness & self-control

It's easy to say no when it's something we don't want to do, but it takes a lot of control and awareness to say it when it's something that appeals to us.

And this is where it's easy to get into trouble.

We're all working for the day when opportunity comes to us instead of us having to find it, which makes it hard to say "no" when someone shows up with an interesting project or offer.

It's easy to jump right in and say "Yes, yes, yes," but you have to remember the big picture.

  • If the project doesn't support your stated goals, then say no
  • If taking on the new project means changing timelines to the point where they are meaningless, then say no
  • If taking on the new project means giving up important projects that do further your stated goals, then say no

This is how you take control of your life.

Being able to say no, even when something sounds good is the number one key to avoiding overwhelm and saving your sanity.

Give it a try.

Most people understand and respect your decision. The ones who don't are probably people you don't want to work with anyway.

Misc. Links From the Podcast

Granite State Fitness Networking Event Wednesday, July 27th from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM at Granite State Fitness 880 Page Street, Manchester. The cost is $5 in advance and $10 at the door and food and beverages will be provided. For more information you can click the link or call Chris at 603-361-0892.