It may have been your first word as a young child and you probably had no issues with telling people no.
There was no hesitation in spewing out the two letter word but as you grew up and the years rolled by, we were taught that saying no, just wasn’t nice. So, you guessed it, we started saying yes to most things. Now here we are, an army of people pleasers and a crowd of wishful thinkers.
Like anything in life, there’s a balance to aim for. I’m a big advocate for saying yes however as I get older, I’m also a huge advocate for saying no. Here are just a few things you can learn from saying no:
Not every opportunity is your opportunity
For many years, I would put my own projects on the back burner because I prioritised other projects. Plus, I wanted to make people happy. They showered me with compliments, enjoyed my work and now, they asked me to handle a project I just wasn’t passionate about. It’s the least I can do and even though they’re severely underpaying me and wasting a lot of my time, I’m sure this will be a great reference later on, right?
If I’ve learnt one thing from working as a freelancer, it’s that not every opportunity is your opportunity. Never underestimate or overlook the opportunities you are passionate about. Whether, that’s working for a brand you admire or snowballing an idea you have in your head, it is your right to yes to those and no to the ones that aren’t for you. (And that’s no matter how much they guilt trip or compliment). Be nice but say no.
Your time is the strongest currency you have
By saying no to people and situations, you can free up a whole lot of time to do the things you want to do.
I’m an old soul at heart and for a long time, I would say yes to partying all night, to please my friends, despite the fact I yearned for my bed the whole night. After a while, I realised that I accommodated these people for far too long.
My time became their time and soon, they would cancel and reschedule several times when I wanted to do something. This is because I devalued my time and of course, they did to. I realised that this wasn’t their fault, it was mine. I had to start saying no.
This is probably the most empowering skill you can learn in life. And little side note, what you want to spend your time on is your own business, don’t feel stupid because someone else tells you that it’s not good enough. You get to decide that.
Stress is a killer and saying yes can sometimes add fuel to your surging cortisol levels. I remember someone at my old workplace asking me if I could help them with a project she was working on. She looked so stressed and on the verge of tears, that I thought God, Himself, would strike me down if I said no. So, I said yes…
After helping her for almost a month, I realised why she was so stressed. She didn’t do any work and as the resident mug (idiot), I couldn’t see how I had enabled her dubious ways. I became stressed and she started to relax. Different parts of my life started to suffer and I didn’t know how I could back out after I had invested so much.
After finishing her work, she plonked her name on the paper and got a promotion. This was the day the lightbulb moment went off.
I decided that I’d no longer allow someone to con me into saying yes, when my gut told me to say no.
What have you learnt from saying no?
Let me know in the comments, or not 🙂 remember, it’s your choice.