How to Say No and Still Get Where You Want to Go
Leaders who can’t say no are spread thin and overwhelmed.
Pleasers can’t say no. Ultimately everyone is unhappy.
Southwest Airlines achieved success by saying no to traditional expectations like reserved seats, baggage transfer, and hot meals. Instead they said yes to fun experiences and frequent flights at low cost.
Meaningful work requires saying no.
3 Insights from The Power of a Positive No:
- All good No’s are in service to a higher Yes.
- The right No is not the opposite of love but comes from love and grows toward love.
- There are three “A”s that trap us from getting to the positive No;
- Accommodating, which is saying Yes when we want to say No.
- Attacking, which is saying No poorly.
- Avoiding, which is saying nothing at all.
How to say NO:
- I would love to but I can’t.
- I have a policy that I don’t … .
- I’m currently focused on XYZ, so I can’t.
- I need to say no this time.
- I love what you’re doing, but I can’t participate this time.
5 guidelines for saying no:
- Be brief. The more you talk the worse it gets.
- Be direct.
- Be firm.
- Don’t make excuses.
- Maintain a kind open spirit.
Practice saying no with a friend or trusted colleague.
You’ll end up controlled by guilt, overreacting, and saying yes when you should say no, if you haven’t practiced saying no.
NO frees you to do what matters.
Focus on YES:
Saying no – apart from a powerful yes – yields nothing but emptiness.
I cringe when people say they’re learning to say no. It’s not that we don’t need to learn this skill. But what is your YES?
Learning to say No is really about finding a meaningful YES.
A no without a yes gets you nowhere.
How might leaders say no?
How might saying yes free leaders to say no?
Thanks Dan, I’ve been working on “what comes forth” the first three are clear – God, family, work.. but what gets forth can be a battle. When recently asked to be more involved in a self-improvement group I responded I’m sorry, but as I much as I love this, I cant allow it to become higher than forth…”
That’s great, Ken. Thanks for stopping in.
Your idea about “what comes forth” is worthy of careful consideration.
I feel like there’s a some blending of the first three, but I’m not sure that’s helpful for the conversation.
When you tell someone it’s fourth, I assume that means you are still reliable if you say you’re going to commit.
“Fourth” may be about how much time and energy you are willing to commit.
>> When you tell someone it’s fourth, I assume that means you are still reliable if you say you’re going to commit. <<
Yes, of course .. its about thinking ahead through availability and priority.. its difficult many days!
Just retired and one of my mantra’s was say NO for 90 days. This is beautiful. Enjoy following you on Twitter!
Thanks coach. What an interesting project. Say no for 90 days. I wonder what you will learn and what great YES you find.
Congratulations on retirement. Best wishes
Saying No is an art to be learnt! It’s the right way to set and work on your priorities.
Leaders practice saying No quite smartly under different situations. When things are going fine, their focus remain more on futuristic vision and they try to invest in future by saying No to many avoidable expenditures. Under difficult situations, they take the shelter of Budget Constraint. Usually, work remains on top of their mind and they turn down many domestic and social events by saying NO with their other prior engagements.
So much easier to say No, even to good things, when a person knows his or her calling. If I know to what God has called me, then I can say “Yes” to things within that sphere and “No” to things outside that area of concern and influence, with a clear conscience. If an opportunity may fit within the calling then I need to take time – otherwise it can be an easier no.
Analysing and using intuition to give an appropriate answer for the specific question. Another thought, instead of saying no could asking “what do you need to be able to accomplish the very think you are asking for”. I think this could be an empowering “No” for both parties.
Well Dan you hit the nail on the head, but some have a control and a deviating underscore in their plea and constant plea for you to agree with them and say yes. But no won and that was that for me. Are Google listening they are as this post is bang on relevant.
Thanks for your advice.