Why saying ‘no’ is not as easy as people make out and how to change that.

Has anyone ever told you that saying ‘no’ more would solve your overwhelm issue? Here’s a strategy for how to actually do it.

If you’ve got too much on already and you’re struggling to keep up, why would you say ‘yes’ to anything additional?

There are lots of reasons why we say ‘yes’, here are just a few:

  • You want to be seen as a ‘can do’ person as it could lead to recognition and maybe promotion
  • Your boss is the one asking you and you don’t feel saying ‘no’ is an option.
  • Someone you manage is asking you and you can see they need the help and you want to relieve their stress
  • You’re excited by the new thing you’ve been asked to do
  • You like to please people
  • The new thing you’ve been asked to do needs doing and you know you have the skills or experience to do it.

So, it’s all very well to advise you to say ‘no’ but is it practical?

If saying yes has become an automatic response, you could introduce a different one.

You’ve got a number of options here:

  • I’d like to do that, can you give me time to think about it and decide how I can fit it in
  • I’d like to do that, but it will mean I can’t do everything else I’m committed to do, what would you like me to de-prioritise (to your manager)
  • I’d like to do that, let me get back to you on when it will be possible to do it.
  • I’d like to help but it’s not possible right now, is there another way to solve the problem? Or can you ask someone else?

All of these options give you time to think whilst showing that you are genuinely interested. They also help the person asking to begin to see things from your perspective.

Of course that’s only the start, it can be hard to work out what is holding you back from doing what you know you need to do.

Maybe you just naturally like to please. Maybe you find it difficult to trust anyone else to do the work. Maybe you think no-one can do it quite like you.

All these and more can surface in a good coaching conversation and then you can find ways to tackle things at source rather than dealing with the symptoms.

If that’s something which interests you, you can book a free zoom or phone appointment to see if coaching might work for you. Just head to my booking page 


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