July 26, 2018

Saying No: The Strong And Guilt Free Way

saying no

Do you have difficulty or experience discomfort when saying no?

Is there a way to prioritize your life and say no to others without feeling guilty?#SAYINGNO #sayingnotothingsisokay #PRIORITIZE #prioritizeyou #Prioritizeyourself #prioritizewhatisimportanttoyou #thelifesynthesis Click To Tweet

Saying no is a weapon, which is why we sometimes feel guilty using it on others. I call it a weapon, because life is a battlefield, and the tools we use to be successful are called weapons.

I suppose you could also call them tools, or techniques if you wanted. Regardless, saying no is one of them.

Saying no is a tool that, if you keep it ready and near your dominant hand at all times, will allow you to skate through life, and those skates will be “rapid progress” brand.

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saying no

Saying no is a technique used by Gary Keller in his journey to “extraordinary results” and it’s also a technique given to us by Gary Mckeown in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

When you get to the point in life where you’ve:

  1. Decided what is most important to you
  2. What mark, impact, adventures, and experiences you want
  3. Committed strongly to that path and destination

You will notice ample opportunities for you to take your time, focus and energy and dole it out.

You will have opportunities for fun, opportunities to help others’ out, opportunities to react quickly to supposed “emergencies” and understanding the five rules to say no will help you prioritize through all that confusion.

The Five Rules for saying no is a list I compiled that comes from Essentialism by Gary Mckeown.

saying no

1. Separate the Decision from the Relationship

Just because you are saying no to the situation doesn’t mean you are denying the person. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but often we place undue pressure on the situation.

You might feel awkward saying no to someone you love, like, respect, or are friendly with, but do you think it’s right on their end to not respect your right to decide what’s most important in your life?

If saying no is a deal breaker, they probably didn’t belong in your life anyway.

2. You Don’t Have to use the word “No”

Just because it is our right and duty to ourselves to adopt saying no more often, doesn’t mean that you need to be rigid about it.

Every circumstance is different, and you might wanna be nicer with those you care deeply about so as not to hurt their feelings.

Then again, you might have the weight of the world on your shoulders during some periods of your life, and saying no bluntly might be easier for you.

There is nothing wrong with sugar coating things when you feel like being sensitive. Maybe try something like “This sucks because I always enjoy when we go do [insert activity here], but I’m swamped today and this needs to get done.”

They’ll understand.

saying no

3. Understand the Trade-offs

There are no perfect solutions in life, only trade-offs. Saying yes to this means saying no to that, that, and that over there too.

You only have so much energy, time, focus etc..and to achieve the extraordinary results you want in life requires an understanding of what you really want, and what you want less.

If you’re trying to sculpt your body a certain way, you’re gonna have to skip pitchers and wings every Wednesday. Decide what you want.

If you set time aside each day to move towards your goals, your gonna need to put a do not disturb sign on your office door, and get assertive with people who disrespect that rule. Decide what you want.

saying no

Ask yourself, “what am saying no to right now, but saying yes to this opportunity? Yeah, I could go help Jeffrey reshingle his house and just do this [goal oriented task] later.”

But are you gonna do it later?

Does that ever actually happen?

Nope. You’ll come home tired, have no willpower because you’ll be out of glucose and you’ll plop down on your bed and turn on TV.

Say no.

4. Everyone is Selling Something

Not in a bad way, but everyone is subconsciously pushing their own agenda.

  1. They think it would be a good idea
  2. They want it to happen
  3. They want you to help/be involved

We’re not trying to paint a nasty picture of our friends and colleagues here, but if you are not paying attention you’re gonna end up helping someone else move towards their destination, and could forget about pushing toward yours.

Simple as that.

You can help others and control your own destiny at the same time in a balanced way.

saying no

If you need help with that, consider applying the 80/20 rule to your life.

However, you decide to measure it, spend 80 percent of your time and energy making sure your life is going where you want it to, and 20 percent helping others push their own agenda.

Personally, mine is about 90 percent me, and 10 percent others. But there are nuances to everything in life.

I only give 10 percent of my time to people trying to purchase my attention, but when I’m doing me 90 percent of the time, what am I actually doing?

  1. Writing educational articles to help others on the internet
  2. Doing 1 on 1 consulting and coaching each month for people trying to change their lives.
  3. Creating educational products etc…that will do both of those
  4. Enjoying a few moments each day to myself to not go insane or be overworked.

So the amount of time you spend on others depends on what you do with the time you spend on yourself, and that’s your choice.

5. Saying No = Respect vs Popularity

Everyone loves the person who says yes to everyone because that person is like a personal assistant.

Helping others is not a weakness, but not standing up for what is rightfully yours (your time) is.

The trade-off of saying no means you sacrifice popularity, but you gain respect, and you will have to decide where you wanna lie on that spectrum.

saying no

People respect those who say no because

  1. They have priorities and a sense of what’s important
  2. They show backbone and respect for themselves
  3. When you say no, you’re not letting others push you around
  4. There is gravity to the space you occupy instead of just being a flimsy nobody
  5. You have direction, mental stability and a strong sense of self.

When you take time to prioritize your life and decide where you will put your attention, you gain the respect of others that comes with their recognition that your time is valuable.

BONUS: A Clear No, Versus a non-Committal Yes

Be clear about your intentions. There is nothing worse than trying to take on too much. Take some lessons from your last few attempts and realize, you are not built to do everything.

Saying yes to something means saying no to something else. Unavoidable.

When an opportunity arises, make a firm decision as to whether or not you’re gonna go through with that option.

If you’re worried about people not liking you because you said no, they will like you just as less if you lead them on and get their hopes up, but cannot commit.

Giving them a firm answer put’s them in a better position to find someone else, and makes you able to focus on what you’re doing without the added stress of taking on too much.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of that and it’s no fun.

Saying No is Better for Everyone

By saying no you are using the most powerful tool at your disposal for taking control of your life and its progress. To get the results you want, we must embrace the perfect match for our focus and priorties, and let someone else have the “almost but not quite perfect” options.

Saying no:

  1. Keeps you firmly rooted in the path you’ve chosen for your life
  2. Allows you to achieve the results you want in the time you allotted
  3. Keeps you sane, and prevents you from overworking yourself
  4. Establishes trust, mental strength and gains the respect of others.

Do you struggle with polite ways to say no to people? Get the 30 ways to say no cheat sheet for your personal and professional life.

saying no


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Brian Wright

I read a lot of books. I learn from a lot of experts. I learn stuff and package it all up for you.

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