In my work as a Coach and Podcaster I spend a lot of time asking many thought-provoking open questions that lead to great insights, conversations and further discussions with my clients and guests. However, today my focus is on closed questions. More specifically, the answers to those questions; yes and no.
In today’s busy world, overwhelm, guilt and the need to belong often lead you to saying yes to requests when in fact you should really have said no. The fear of rejection, your need to please others and your charitable disposition lead you to answering differently to how you really feel.
Saying no should not necessarily be perceived negatively by others or by you. Knowing what is important to you, what is a priority or what is a non-negotiable enables you to focus on time well spent. Time that you won’t ever be able to get back.
I have certainly learned this lesson the hard way. Over the years, I have said yes to way more things than I should have done however now it’s not the case. I now know when to say no to requests that come my way. Of course I still have that desire to please and to belong but by saying yes to all requests I recognise that I am at risk of exhausting myself and experiencing overwhelm should I undertake too many commitments.
You may have heard the expression that ‘no is a complete sentence’. Well it is. No is also a complete answer to a question. If someone asks you to do something and you don’t want to, you can simply answer no. You are not required to give any justification as to why not. People will respect you for it too.
Earlier last year, my mentor sat me down and went through a brilliant exercise with me where I had to answer no to every question she asked me regardless of the question. I was a little confused as to its purpose until I found myself wanting to answer yes to almost all of her questions. The penny finally dropped. Saying no is a skill that you need to practice to get better at saying it.
Being able to say no confidently is a sign that you are in control of your own life and destiny and when you do, you set a precedent for your future marking clear boundaries for others to recognise and to respect. By answering with a no, the focus is on your self-care and your mental health.
I now say no to anything that is not relevant to the strategic direction of my business focus or if it will have a detrimental impact on my life outside of work. Before I answer a question and commit to an answer, I use this filter: by taking a certain action, will it make me achieve my goals in life? It's enough time for me to consider the consequences of my answer. A yes or no is then very clear for me.
Which areas of your life do you need to be more clear with the answers you give to people? Who and what will be impacted by these answers? Clarity of your Focus on WHY will guide you to instinctively know the answers to these questions.
Practice saying no without feeling regret, guilt or the need for a lengthy explanation.
Focus on Answers!
ACTION POINT - Practice saying NO. You will thank your future self for doing so.