Wanna know what gets between most people and the things they want?
It’s a simple two letter word: NO.
Most people don’t say it enough!
As humans, we want to say yes to the things people ask of us. We want to be socially obliging, to be part of a team.
We say yes, because it’s easier than saying no.
It feels kind to say yes. But you’ve got to ask yourself, kind for who?
All it takes is a few easy “yes!”’s and suddenly you’re taking on that extra project at work, making the six layer birthday cake for your second cousin’s wedding and going on that super yacht cruise party the same night your major project is due (but, ahem, that does sound fun. Send me an invite too plz ?).
But all of these commitments pull your focus away from the things you actually want to spend your time and energy on. That’s not being kind to you.
Saying no isn’t selfish, it’s self-care, and we need to practice it more. – Tweet it!
I’ve got a strategy that can help.
It’s called the ‘Next Tuesday Rule’.
Here’s how it works:
- When someone asks you to attend or do something in the future – whether that’s a work project, or a social commitment, imagine that it’s taking place not three months in the future, but next Tuesday.
- Now, think about all the commitments you have this week already (the reality of your life), and the goals you want to achieve, and then think about trying to squeeze this extra project in as well.
- Does this new commitment feel so exciting and important to you that you still want to make it happen? Or, framed in the reality of your busy life, does it feel like additional stress you don’t need?
Use that to help guide your decision. You can say yes, but you can also say no.
I know that saying no feels uncomfortable. But saying yes to commitments that will overcrowd, overwhelm and overcommit you – that’s uncomfortable too!
Sometimes you have to choose a moment of discomfort and say the difficult ‘no’, instead of saying an easy ‘yes’ and creating more discomfort and stress for yourself later on.
Because this is such a big topic, next week I’m gonna dive into this even more.
I’ll be sharing my tips for saying no quickly and kindly, plus some examples you can use – because there’s a right way to say no, and a wrong way! (It took me a little while to figure out the difference!).
Now I want to hear from you. I’d love to know:
If you’re good at saying no, or if you need a little practice.
Any tips that have helped you say no in the past.
Let me know your answers, in the comments below.
And remember, be open to sharing in the comments. Thousands of people stop by the blog every week, and your answer might just really help someone else!
Be confident in your No, there is no need to justify your response. If you try give excuses/reasons it gives people info to question or judge you by. Just say ‘no thanks’ or ‘not this time’ and leave it at that. Works every time!!
Omg this!!! This week I was roped into making a 5 tier wedding cake for my brothers wedding this weekend. I had to bond clean my parents house because they work full time. I’ve had no time for the gym, no time for my house, no time to get ready for the wedding and most importantly no time to illustrate my book! I needed to read this a few months ago!!!!
Great advice! The worst part about saying ‘yes’ too often is in addition to the stress you create for yourself you disappoint people and let them down when you don’t do what you said you would.
I’d love be to but I can’t at the moment ? Turia thanks for your inspiration ❤️
Hey guys, personally I need a heap of practise. I dislike saying no because I don’t like to think I’m hurting their feelings and well I guess I find it pretty awkward when I say no. But I try remind myself if someone said “sorry I don’t particularly want to come because I’ve got something else on” you would be like oh ok but you wouldn’t really care. So anyway I need a lot of practise, thanks Turia for a once again super inspiring, amazing and relatable email??xx
Hi, I’ve always been a shocking people pleaser.. saying no not in my vocabulary… so scared of the consequences.. letting people down. Need some times on how to be brave…I think it’s braver to be able to say no sometimes rather than being a bit of a coward and saying yes.. but then dreading the thing you committed to ?. Hope this makes sense
Would be good to have some tips on how to say no. There are only so many times you can say you have a prior commitment.
Thanks so much for discussing this topic xx
I say yes to everything almost and I am sick and tired of it of me. So I have from now decided to leave the kids school class committee. The kindergarten committee and say no to bake cakes for every occasion. I need to say yes to myself. I want to lose those extra pounds too but do not have the time with work, all the kids, and the extra work I do.
You are a huge inspiration for me and I read all your e-mails. Have just started with my book of what todays is going to be like. And it works. I am actually more thankful for our health, the food we are able to eat and the house we are able to live in. Actually I am rich in kids, love and wealth.
I find inspiration in you because you actually have worked to be where you are today. If you can, I can. And you are so funny, your family looks so full of love and I think you are a badass with your running and surfing and gadgets to open stuff with. You can hear I am a fan right.
If you ever come to Denmark let me know and I will enjoy to show you the good spots.
I don’t have any problem saying no as I assess everything I have scheduled to be Important and I can’t lie and say I’m busy. I guess I created a culture or ecpectation that I’ll committ to an event or whatever if I really want to if people can’t hear no then they may not choose to stay in your life.
I have enormous trouble saying ‘no’ and I then get myself into messes all the time when I say yes but really want to say ‘no’.
I’d really love some tips on this
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I’m not good at saying no, on the surface I think that I am but when I think about it more in depth I’m definitely a yes person & then I get stressed & overloaded & do things that take me further from my goals such as not get enough sleep or eat junk!
It’s so much easier to say no (& be honest) straight out than saying yes & spend the time & energy sorry you said it !!
I need a lot, and I mean A LOT of practice to say NO, but the few times I managed to actually say it was because I kept the word “simplify” almost as a mantra in my mind. Simplify your day, your week, your life. Saying yes all the time it only complicates everything, and in the end it is not that satisfying.
I’m really happy you decide to touch on this topic, because I find it so hard saying no to people especially my family.
I constantly put their commitments over mine and when I want them to commit I can’t find one person to do so .
I’m really looking forward for those tips .
Two years ago, I was like, in a jail of stress because of overloading myself with more than two things in my mind. This is because, I just want to please others and don’t want to separate the relationship between my friend and I. But! I came to realise that, I have ALL the rights in this world. Wether or not, I still have All the right to say NO for my own good and say YES for my own good either.
Thank you for this Turia!! I have always found it hard to say no and then feel resentful afterwards. I would love some tips on how to say “no” more often.
This post landed into my inbox on the day I was handing in my notice. I agonised over this for weeks, because it had only been two months since I started in this role and then I get offered a job closer to home, more money and with the perfect job description. Easy decision, right? The problem is I struggle with letting people down. I read this and had a light bulb moment – a small discomfort is far more preferable that slow building agony that I know the job I’m currently in would eventually become. Straight away like it felt like the world righted itself.
I have a hard time saying “No”. I need some tips! I often feel socially overwhelmed and am ready for a much needed change.
I am terrible at saying no! I am a people pleaser and I suffer from terrible FOMO too! And now I’ve created this expectation at work so people will always ask me first instead of my colleagues. I didn’t realise what was happening until I became so stressed out and anxious at work which resulted in me going on medication. I came to realise I was digging the hole for myself, it was no one else’s fault. So now I am just more assertive, if it’s not my job I’ll ask them to seek out the correct person. Luckily my boss is amazing and I’ve been open and honest about my anxiety so I tell my boss when I’m feeling under pressure, and we can work out a good strategy. Being self aware is really important. And know that you always having a choice and you don’t have to please everybody!
l used to say yes to everything as l didn’t like to say no or hurt other people’s feelings but there comes a time in your life that you can’t do that anymore…… so now l just say l would love to but we have something else on but thanks for asking…. it’s the best thing to do ? and you don’t have to worry or stress about it ….
I have trouble with saying ‘no’. Often i am thinking oh yes i can help with that…but it is draining and often i feel all used up and thrown out. SO… It is an ongoing project but i am getting better at saying “ thanks for the offer/thought….i’ll Get back to you”. Often having a few hours or days to digest a commitment means i can weigh up if i really need to be the saviour of everyone.
Wow this exact point caused so many arguments in the early years of my marriage! My husband always felt as if I put everyone before the family and I could never understand what he meant. I used to get annoyed that he was angry I was such a generous person – it’s a good quality I would say to him. Then he would explain agreeing to make five salads the morning of a friends barbeque ruined our families morning because instead of spending quality time together I would be making a mess, which he then later had to clean up ? – and of course it meant cancelling any family time we would have that day (which is precious). When I looked at it like this I finally understood what he meant. It wasn’t that he didn’t want me to be generous or help everyone around me… he just wanted me to put our time as a family and as a couple first before I offered all my time and services to people around me (that didn’t always need it as desperately as I thought). It was a huuuge learning curve for me! Needless to say I’ve learnt to be for selfish in a self caring way…
Hey Turia, I just wanted to thank you for that brief intervention. I did not even know that needed that. You are right in saying that some social obligations are not really what I want to spent my personal time on, when I am already swamped with so much work. It just always feels like people might like me a lot less when I say no. So ocasionally I invent apologies like ‘sorry, I have that doctors appointment’ or something else and then I feel even guiltier. What would you recommend?? Thanks! 🙂
Years ago I was stuck in that people-pleasing, approval-seeking rat race and it was a light bulb moment when I realised the number 1 thing I had to start doing was saying “no”. For my own well being, self care and so that I could show up for others and be the person I wanted to be rather than worrying about having to race off for the next thing in 2 hours. As a Libra it’s in my nature to want the best outcomes for everyone so I changed my mindset to realise saying no was best for all parties and that made it feel more natural. For me it also definitely comes down to how you say “no” so that it is honest and takes into consideration being grateful for the opportunity you were being offered in the first place. Saying “no” is not a dirty word or selfish!!
Wow – good thoughts. Reading the comments too, this is such a complicated issue
See I like to help people – I am wired for it – it makes me happy to be a ‘people pleaser’
ANd I have experienced things, pushed myself, learnt and grown through taking on ‘too much’
See the dilemma?
I know I don’t put myself, my family and my business first enough – but shutting yourself off from things you enjoy is hard too
I guess balance is key – like junk food or alcohol – a little is goes a long way 🙂