Just say no to make your yes mean something.
Spending your limited time on the things that really matter creates a more intentional and solid yes, builds trust and coherence.
If you believe that you must keep your promises, overdeliver and treat every commitment as though it’s an opportunity for a transformation, then the only way you can do this is to turn down most opportunities.
No I can’t meet with you, no I can’t sell it to you at this price, no I can’t do this job justice, no I can’t come to your party, no I can’t help you. I’m sorry, but no, I can’t. Not if I want to do the very things that people value my work for.
Yes is the future no—in other words, you are lying, often to your dear ones.
Say yes too often, and your body will automatically tell you no in no time.
No is the foundation that we can build our yes on.
Here are nine practices to say a strategic no in order to create space in your life for a more intentional yes.
- Know your no. Identify what’s important to you and acknowledge what’s not.
- Be appreciative.
- Say no to the request, not the person.
- Explain why.
- Be as resolute as they are pushy.
- Establish a pre-emptive no.
- Be prepared to miss out.
- Gather your courage.
Say no to all issues that do not align with values, goals and norms—that fall outside the tolerance of your self or your organization.
- To say “Yes” is about quantity.
- To say “No” is about quality.
- To say “No” gives certainty, dependability, safety and sureness.
Approach (similar to process leading to consent):
- Actively listen to the other’s question.
- Say “No’”.
- Show understanding for any response or reaction.
- Provide a focused motivation of your “No”.
- Find a solution that you both can live with.
- Track progress.
- Listen to the other’s request and provide an understanding “No”, along with its motivation. Find a solution that you both can live with and track progress.
- Say “Yes, as soon as… (I’ve completed all these things first).”