The Importance of Saying “No.”

Throughout our lives we are trained to be “yes” people. We say yes to things we do not necessarily want to do because we want to 1.) prove our capability 2.) please everyone 3.)avoid the uncomfortability of refusing to do something.  Saying “NO” is a difficult thing for so many of us. However, it is also incredibly empowering. It is about creating healthy boundaries that allow us to not over extend our already jam-packed lives. Being accommodating to everyone’s needs tends to be exhausting. We say “yes” to everything to excel as likable leaders.

So how do you become a likable leader without agreeing to everything? First, figure out who you are. When you think back to your childhood heroes you can pinpoint the exact qualities in them that inspired you. You can define quite simply what they are for and what they are against. This is a great starting point. Knowing yourself is challenging, undoubtedly, but it is the most important step in defining your stronger sense of self. Then when you say “no” it is no longer about rejection. It is about knowing your limitations and working within them. It is about being honest and not over-promising.

After we have successfully understood and defined who we are and what our true capabilities are we need to identify good ways to actually execute a “no” without disappointing the requestor. One such method could be redirection. You can say “no” and suggest that maybe someone else with a similar background/expertise would be better equipped to assist you. In fact, this is also to the benefit to the requestor. If you say “yes” to something you do not have adequate time or effort to commit to you will not be able to give it your best and thus do them a disservice. Now, this might not be everyone’s personality trait, but if you are going to do something you should try to give it your best effort. Finally, by redirecting you have also maintained your personal boundaries.

With the combination of self- reflection to truly understand yourself and your abilities and redirection you have the right framework to say “no” effectively without hurt feelings. You will also be able to create space in your life for the more important things that really matter instead of a smorgasbord of things you are half dedicated to. You also have more time to dedicate to self-development to become your best self!




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