Once I say yes, I don’t like to say no. If I make a decision, I like to stick with it. If I make a commitment to you, I’m going to keep it. If you’re my client, I want to give you all the support you need.
But what if I change my mind?
The act of saying no can be one of the most strategic, smart, loving, profitable, and honoring things you can do.
Think about how painful it is when you say yes and you really mean no.
Or what about when you set a goal and then don’t feel inspired to go for it but pressure yourself to get it done because you wrote it down? Sure, you got it done, but was it fun?
I’m all for going for a HELL YES. That’s when you have a choice in front of you to do something, and everything about it feels good and it totally aligns with your values and goals. That’s a HELL YES! You can’t wait to jump on it.
But sometimes those things lose their attractor factor. Or maybe some other feeling or circumstance comes up and your HELL YES fizzles. Then what?
You have to give yourself the option of saying no.
I have some big things I’ve said no to in my life. Like when my world-traveling mother told me she was booking a trip to the Amazon and Galapagos for 2012. I immediately told her I wanted to go. I was all geared up and excited, so I put down my deposit on the trip. So did my uncle. Boy, this was going to be great!
The first obstacle showed up soon after. My mate chose not to leave his business for that long. Argh. Understandable during that time period, but I really wanted him to come with me.
Next, I needed to make sure I had childcare while he worked. Grandma #1 was going to be traveling with me. Grandma #2 was doing a two-month vacation during that time. My godmother was going on vacation, too.
Doesn’t anybody park their butts at home anymore?!
Now my HELL YES seemed like a long shot. But wait! I know how the Law of Attraction works. I could just hold steady on my intention to go, and a babysitter would appear. (I became a pro at using this technique for date nights when our kids were younger.)
But as the months progressed, my decision wasn’t feeling good. As I dug deeper into my unease, I found that I really didn’t feel good about leaving my one- and three-year-old behind for two weeks.
I still realllly wanted to go on the trip, but it was no longer a HELL YES. So it became a no.
Saying no didn’t feel great, but it felt better than moving forward with the original decision. A true HELL YES would be me, my mate, and the kids going on this vacation. Add in the rest of my family, and I would have had a triple HELL YES! So I decided to wait until it was exactly the way I wanted it.
That “no” paid off. My mom and uncle came home to report that their tour guide was so bad, that he was later fired!
And since then, my now husband and I have been on two epic trips with my mom and uncle.
Saying no requires an abundance mentality. You have to trust that the right and perfect opportunity or person will be revealed at a later date. HOLD OUT for that.
Saying no to a commitment is okay. There are no integrity police that will come and find you if you decide not to go to the meeting, don’t show up at a party, or keep to your schedule for the day if they begin to feel like a drag. Tell your truth to anybody who needs to know, and do it powerfully.
If you hire someone, accept a new client, or enter into a contract and it turns out to not be a fit, you can say no. There is ALWAYS a way out, and you can do it gracefully.
Saying no after you say yes is not for the faint of heart, especially if integrity is high on your values list. But if you want to have integrity with yourself, then saying no must be an option.
I’m also a huge fan of saying no right up front. It’s clear and gives the other person the freedom to move forward without you. There’s nothing worse than waiting for an answer from someone because they really want to say no but don’t have the guts to do it. Then after making you wait for eons, they say no anyway.
Be straight; it’s so much easier on everyone.
Here’s an example…
Client: Can you coach me this Friday or at 5 pm today?
Me: No. I work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 8am–4pm Pacific.
Client: There is no other time I can coach this week and I really need to talk to you.
Me: How about these options _________and I can give you 10 minutes right now until we can go more in-depth at another time.
Client: Okay, thank you.
And if the client still resists or pushes, then they aren’t the ideal fit.
Boundary pushers are not ideal. Period.
I know that sometimes saying yes is scary too. But the all-powerful “no” brings freedom to every decision.
Sometimes you need to say no to have the space to say yes.