The Most Effective Yes is NO

This morning I noticed that my blotter paper was beginning to look ragged. Over the years I have used many different types of blotters, some have calendars, some have cute pictures, and this one is plain paper. I use it to write myself notes. I use it to doodle. But the most important thing I do is write my words of encouragement.

Out with the old blotter paper

For 2012, I deviated from my usual three words to only choose one word – YES!

I have been pleased with the places YES has taken me in 2013 – ziplining, competitive dining, concerts, woodworking, parties, shooting range, and most recently marathon training <eeek>. The list is far too long to share here of all the things YES has made (allowed) me do! There is not one I regret giving up laying on the couch for (except maybe marathon training <grin>).

As I was replacing my blotter with a nice new clean sheet, and writing YES! In large letters on the new one, I began to think of the opposite side of yes – NO. I occurred to me that saying no is just as important to my successful yes campaign as saying yes.

Effectively saying no is difficult. Especially when you know you have the ability and possibly even the desire. You, nor I, can be all things to all people. Like a lot of people I struggle with being overextended. I see things that I want to do. I belong to organizations where I want to give more.

We must be ever mindful of the finite amount of time available to us.

That annoying law of nature that makes time a fixed amount each day will not allow us to do all the things we want to do. It is a constant struggle for me. When the civic organizations I belong to say they need something I know I can do well, it is hard for me to not say yes. When my church needs people to do things I know I would enjoy it is hard for me to not say yes. When I am asked to participate in an event, it is hard for me to not say yes.

So how do we cope with the ever-increasing demands on our time?

First, accept the fact that you can’t do it all. WOW, is that hard for me!

Second, know what you really want to do with your life and time.

And lastly, develop strategies for saying no.

Here is a excerpt from a great article I found ‘Five Ways to Say ‘No’ Effectively

It may surprise you to learn that the most frequently used and most ineffective way to say “no” is to declare, “I don’t have time to get involved.” Nobody cares if you don’t have time because they don’t have time either. So what happens? You allow yourself to be persuaded (out of guilt) to accept the assignment. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s more than one way to say “no” effectively. The next time Tom Jones, chair of the “Run for Healthy Hearts,” asks you to “just show up for a few short meetings,” take advantage of one of the following techniques to protect your time and still preserve the relationship.

The pleasant no

“Tom, the run sounds a lot more fun than what I’m going to be doing at that time, but I’m going to have to say ‘no.’ Thanks.” Said sincerely, this response upholds the value of the other person and the request. It is a kinder, gentler no — but still a no.

The conditional no

“Tom, I can’t be at the meetings, but I’ll be glad to help set things up the night before the run and be in charge of registration the day of the event.” Often overlooked, this is one of the most versatile and valuable ways of saying no. You’ve set conditions for saying “yes” without giving up your higher priorities.

If Tom counters that he needs you to stay for the complete event and help clean up at the end of the day, be sure to weigh your priorities before reacting. Remember you are still the one in control of your response.

The sleep-on-it no

“Tom, let me think about your request.” Often a quick “yes” is a reflex reaction to feelings of guilt, fear of hurting someone or the strong desire to serve or have fun. Giving yourself time to assess your priorities ensures a sincere response on your part. To assuage the person’s legitimate fear (based on past experience with others) that you might never get back with an answer, add these words: “… and I’ll let you know by noon tomorrow, Tom, if that’s not too late for you.” If, after thinking about it, you deliver a negative reply on schedule the next day, Tom will know at least that you’ve given his request serious consideration.

The alternative-solution no

“Tom, I can’t help out with the heart run, but I know Dr. Markus will be glad to assist you.” This tells the person with the request that you value him or her and the investment of time he or she is making. It also shows your willingness to help solve the problem. Obviously, any time you volunteer someone else, you should check with that individual first.

The secret-weapon no

“Tom, I’m not able to make the heart run a priority right now.” That’s all you say. Tom will probably expect you to explain and may even say, “Well, what are you doing instead?” No explanation is needed. It’s really not anybody’s place to ask you to defend your priorities. So, if you really know what your priorities are and you want to protect them at all costs, this no is for you.

I also really enjoyed the article ‘Seven Ways to Say ‘NO’ and Keep Good Relations‘ in Psychology Today. The most effective way I have found to say yes, to thing I want to do and be, is to learn to say no to the things that distract me or take time away from my goals. What about you? Are you saying yes to things that get you closer to YOUR goal? Or are you saying yes to things that distract you from reaching your goal?

About Gayle

Gayle is a Social Media Enthusiast and Consultant with Biz Buzz Social Media Marketing; co-owner of Glynne's Soaps; a dalmatian rescuer; genealogist and member of the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) and of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC); a Cubs Fanatic; hopeful bagpiper; purveyor of positive; and a curious seeker of life.
This entry was posted in Inspirational and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *