Ten Ways to Say Yes to Saying No

Saying no feels like a door closing. But, those who can’t say no end up over-committed, overwhelmed, and ineffective.

Saying no is the first step toward freedom for someone who says yes too much.

Saying no


  1. Keeps options open.
  2. Reflects positive attitude.
  3. Explores opportunity.
  4. Moves forward.

Too many yeses cause:

  1. Confusion.
  2. Over-commitment.
  3. Missed deadlines.
  4. Mediocre results.
  5. Anxiety.
  6. Neglected relationships.
  7. Diluted impact.
  8. Letting teams down.
  9. Persistent fatigue.
  10. Stress.

No protects success.


  1. Protects energy
  2. Enables focus.
  3. Limits distraction.

The quickest way to radically improve life and leadership, for those addicted to yes, is saying no.

A good no:

  1. Makes room for priorities.
  2. Keeps you living in your strengths.
  3. Opens a door.

Those who can’t say no are doomed to frustration and mediocrity.

Saying no:

  1. Don’t fully book. Leave open spaces on your calendar.
  2. Practice saying no with friends. Get together and say, “Lets learn how to say no.”
  3. Choose a no statement that feels good to you. “I’d love to but I can’t.”
  4. Say yes selectively. Ask yourself, “Do I love this, or, am I tolerating it?”
  5. Say no sooner rather than later. It’s hard to say no after you said yes.
  6. Identify your values. Say to yourself, “That’s not important to me.”
  7. Do more of what fulfills.
  8. Stop saying, “If I can just get through this … things will be better.”
  9. Give yourself space. When you feel pressure to say yes, say, “Let me think about it.” But, realize a delay keeps issues on your plate.
  10. Go ahead and explain yourself. “I’d love to say yes, but ….”

Pressured to say yes:

Leaders who can’t say no are pushed around by people and opportunities.

People who pressure you to say yes are manipulators. Once you start saying yes, they’ll keep expecting you to say yes. Stand your ground or be a doormat.

How can leaders learn to say no?