Saying No.

No-300x300The idea of being able to gracefully say “no” is an eternally important one, for me and I submit for everyone. We all have problem saying no at some point but as I age and get grumpier, I have an easier time saying “no” than ever. And I am better off for it.

It is interesting that a small child with no filter has an easy time saying no and it’s often their first word spoken. However, then we are taught to be “nice” and not disappoint the person who is asking something of us, so we don’t say no when we should. And they we pay the price.

When you don’t say no when you should, inevitably what happens is one of two things:

1. You resent having said yes, and then fulfill your commitment grudgingly at the lowest level with no zeal

2. Worse yet, you don’t do what you said since you never wanted to do so in the first place.

Both of these reflect badly on the “yes say-ers”, far worse than an initial response of “I’m sorry I can’t/don’t have time/don’t agree, etc.”

Saying no is not easy as it can create some friction. But on the other side we are often asked to spend large amounts of time and/or money on things we don’t agree with. In business when your boss asks you to do something you have the obligation to either do it, or articulate the reason why you don’t think it’s a good idea (and importantly suggest a better course of action).

Sometimes a co-worker may attempt to lay off tasks that rightfully should be done by them. It takes skill to toss it gracefully back to the person, to say no.

I recently read an interesting article on this subject from Michael Hyatt called, 5 Reasons You Need to Get Better at Saying No. There were 5 key reasons laid out—I agree with them all.

1. Other peoples’ priorities will take precedence over ours.

2. Mere acquaintances—people we barely know! —will crowd out time with family and close friends

3. We will not have the time we need for rest and recovery.

4. We will end up frustrated and stressed.

5. We won’t be able to say yes to the really important things.

#5 is the bell-ringer for me. There is a “cost” of saying yes to unimportant things. It comes with the subsequent inability to say yes to the important things—family, friends, relationship building, long term planning etc.

So my suggestion to all is simple. Start saying no more so you can yes when it’s important. Yes?

More Strumings

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