It's OK To Say "NO"
Updated: Jan 24
"It's only by saying "NO" that you can concentrate on the things that are really important." - Steve Jobs
Just say, "NO". It seems like a relatively easy thing to do, right? But that one little word is difficult to say to co-workers, bosses, friends, and family. We each have our reasons why we take on more than we can handle by agreeing to everyone else wishes instead of making ourselves a priority. For many of us, we are afraid that if we say "NO" others won't like us. We may not want to "let others down" by refusing a request.
I know for me, I have a history of putting my families wants before my own needs. I feel guilty if I say "NO," as if by saying "NO" I am no a good Mom or Wife. Many women share this guilty feeling. We are told from a young age to be supportive, put others first, don't be selfish. These are all excellent qualities, but there needs to be a balance between serving others and taking care of ourselves. As a mother, when we continue to give, give, give our bucket becomes empty. Soon there is nothing left in the bucket to provide others with what they need. It took me many years (and I'm still working on it) to learn that for me to give to my family, I needed to fill my bucket first. To fill my bucket, I need to make room for me in my schedule by saying, "NO." Every woman has various things that will fill their buckets. For some, it's exercise, crafting, going out with girlfriends, working on a new career, starting their own business, travel, hiking, shopping, or baking. Whatever feeds your spirit, makes you feel whole, or lights you up making it a priority. Because if you don't take the time needed to fill your bucket, you won't be able to give your loved ones what they need. It's OK to say, "NO, I don't have time. NO, I am choosing to work on my business idea now. NO, I am going to Yoga class."
Mamma, there is no reason to feel guilty about making yourself a priority!
Have you ever thought, "If I say NO they won't like me"? The trap of pleasing others. I have news for you. If your friends, neighbors or family won't like you because you say, "NO" to something, then your relationship is not a healthy, stable relationship. Friendship is not conditional upon what you do for them. Don't mistake me. If you have commented already to someone, then you need to follow through. To say you will do something and then back out is bad manners and not a sign of integrity.
Overcommitting yourself at work is like digging yourself a hole and jumping in. When your boss came to you and asked you to take on yet another project, your automatic response is, "Yes, of course, I'll get right on it," which is a reasonable response, if you can complete the task and it doesn't compromise your primary responsibilities. However, if you are already overloaded and drowning in responsibilities, it doesn't serve you or your company to take on an additional project. When overcommitted you run the risk of either not completing everything, or doing a rushed and poor job, which will look poorly on you. It is perfectly acceptable to explain the situation to your supervisor and work together to come up with a solution.
Know what is essential for you to both personally and career-wise. Know where your values lay. When you have things prioritized, it will be easier to determine what to say "Yes or No". Stick to the things that align with your values, goals, and plan of action. If you clutter your time with unnecessary things, then you will compromise what is truly important.