Have you ever over-extended yourself because you kept saying yes to every request you get? Me, too.
The trouble is I love the word (and philosophy of) yes. It is the principle behind improv (and Jim Carey's popular movie Yes Man which is built around it). Yes entails agreement and acceptance. Yes opens up to a whole bunch of possibilties that I would miss if I said no. In short, yes is a step forward while no is a halting stop.
My basic honesty compels me to add that I hate disappointing people or letting them down, too, so I tend to agree to everything.
As an inspirational speaker I sometimes say yes to giving a motivational talk in some remote hard to reach location when really I should say no. For someone like me, saying no is hard, so naturally I should attempt to be an expert and blog about it.
Although I still say yes a lot more than I say no, there are times that I really must say no, and these are the reasons I sometimes use:
- Sorry - I'm swamped. I'd like to, but I can't.
- I can't- but if things change I'll let you know.
- Sorry but I'm not available. Maybe next year.
- No. I would not be a good choice to help you move. Lifting heavy boxes is not in my skillset.
- I'll have to pass. Watching strippers is not my idea of a good time, you pervert.
As you can see, saying no is really not that hard at all if your motivation is genuine. I've found that you get better at it as you become more confident and honest. On the other hand, don't feel obligated to explain why you can't participate; you don't have to give an excuse (ie-uh... I think I'll be sick that day).
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