I’m feeling pretty confident that I already know the answer to the question I’m about to ask. Do you have a hard time saying no?
I feel like there is this reverberating, “Yes!” that’s coming through the page right now. I totally get it; you are just like I was, and like so many people.
The months leading up to my total burnout, it was as if I didn’t even have the word “no” in my vocabulary – I said yes to everything! I said yes to a promotion without asking for more details or information. I said yes to every single meeting invite that came into my inbox. I said yes to being a big part of a committee, of something I had zero experience and not that much interest in. I even said yes before I was asked!! My kids would bring home dates, calendar activities of school functions, and I was saying yes to them without even asking if my kids wanted me to go.
I could not say no. I had this unbelievable fear that if I said no, I would seem like I was not a team player, that I was stubborn, or that if I said no to this opportunity, I would be overlooked for opportunities in the future. Or if I said no to my family, that I would be letting them down.
There is a fear that saying no seems stubborn, seems aggressive, when in fact every time you say yes, when you only say yes, when you never say no, you appear weak.You are handing over your power to the other person every time you say yes. When you never exercise the ‘no’, the power leaves you and goes to the other person.
Every time I said yes to volunteering on that committee meant I was saying no to my doctor’s appointment. Every time I said yes to taking on that responsibility at work, I was saying no to sleep.
So even when you think you’re not saying no, you are. You’re just relinquishing the power to somebody else; you’re letting somebody else decide where the yes and no are coming from.
It’s time today for you to dig out that word no, pull it up into your vocabulary, and start using it. Take back control of your future.