Just Say No. Easier said than done. ‘No’ is one of the most difficult and most important words to say. Saying no, is the first step to finding your yes. Without ‘no’, your plate fills up and overflows. Overwhelm takes over and what makes you happy, what lights you up, what feeds your soul, becomes lost in a sea of ‘doing’.

Today, I say “yes” for different reasons but until a few years ago, my “yes” fed something that was missing in my life and my yessing led to my busy habits and overtime without even realizing it, I created a belief that saying “yes” and being busy made me a better person.

I found that knowing the reason why I said yes, made saying “no” a little easier. Here are a few of the reasons why I used to say yes – do any of these sound familiar?

I would say yes, because I didn’t want to miss out.
I would say yes, because I wanted to fit in and be accepted.
I would say yes, because I felt appreciated.
I would say yes, because I wanted to be liked.
I would say yes, because I felt obligated.
I would say yes, because ‘helping’ is what you’re supposed to do.
I would say yes, because being busy meant I was successful .
I would say yes, because not ‘doing’ was lazy.
I would say yes, because I didn’t want to disappoint the person asking.
I would say yes, because being asked made me feel important.
I would say yes, because I was afraid if I said no, they wouldn’t like me anymore.
I would say yes, because I never felt like I was enough.

I would say yes, because doing something for someone else (aka, helping/pleasing) fulfilled an unmet need. In my case, it was a desire to be wanted and appreciated and it all stems back to my childhood and being raised by a narcissistic mother – all I ever wanted was to be appreciated and loved by her.

There is hope! Not being able to say “no” is wreaking havoc on your quality of living and professionals are taking notice. In the January 2017 issue of the magazine ‘Real Simple’, this headline caught my eye: Saying “no” isn’t easy and it’s not always popular, but it is necessary for your sanity – not to mention your overpacked schedule”. A big YES to this!  Vanessa Bohns, a Ph.D., Professor of organization behavior at Cornell University says “We have an instinctive need for connection to other people – it’s essential to our survival. We worry that saying no will break these bonds”. So you see, “no” is not easy. If you are a living, breathing, caring human being, this one little word will challenge you.

So how do you strengthen your “no” muscles? Try this. Next time you are asked to do something, hit your pause button and respond with “thank you so much for asking, but I need to check my schedule and I’ll get back to you tomorrow”. This gives you time to do just that – check your schedule and ask yourself these questions: If I say yes, will this feed my soul or zap my energy? How will this enhance my life? Is saying yes fulfilling an unmet need? And most important, if I say yes, will I still have time to make myself a priority? If this last question left you feeling puzzled – please say “no” :).

Start here – make a list of all the reasons you say “yes” and why saying “no” is uncomfortable and then talk about it with a friend. Chances are, they will feel the same way.

This is the 1st of a 3-part blog series that I have created around the art of saying NO.  If you loved this post and would like to learn more about doing less and living more, be sure to download my FREE Audio,  “4 Steps to Break the Cycle of Overwhelm” by clicking the button below.

Why do you say “yes”? I’d love to hear from you – comment below…

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