WAYS TO TELL SOMEONE NO
By Ramona Creel
Tell me if this sounds familiar -- someone asks you to do
something that you really dont want to do or you honestly dont
have time for. It might be a church bake sale, a school
fundraiser, participating on a committee, or even just working
late. But you feel like you will let the other person down if
you say no. You feel GUILTY already, and you havent even
responded yet! So you say, Sure, even though doing so is going
to put you under tremendous stress and PRESSURE. You know that
you will probably end up resenting this activity, and maybe even
ducking some of your responsibilities because your hearts just
not in it, but you go ahead and agree anyway.
Why are we so afraid to tell people "no? For some reason, we
have been taught that "no" is DISRESPECTFUL -- and even
insulting. We seem to value other people's time more than our
own -- feeling that we need to bend over backward to accommodate
others, even if it inconveniences us. I know we're atoning for
the "me" 1980's, but let's be reasonable! "No" is actually one
of the healthiest words that can come out of your mouth. When
you tell someone "no," you are really saying that you understand
and accept your own LIMITS, and don't want to do a shoddy job by
overwhelming yourself. That you value your time and priorities
and aren't willing to take away from the truly important things
in your life. A little selfishness is necessary, if you want to
maintain a balanced and sane life!
So how do you say "no" without insulting the other person,
feeling consumed with guilt, or hurting your own credibility? We
need to find a way to say "no" without dragging up all of those
HIDDEN FEARS -- they'll think I'm lazy or selfish, that I have
no career drive, that I'm not ambitious, that I have no concern
for other people. And it's time to give up all of those roles
you're so proud of -- supermom, martyr, hero -- but are keeping
you from finding true peace. Once you've accepted that you have
the right (and often responsibility) to turn someone down, you
can do it in a way that doesn't seem like a REJECTION. Let me
show you how:
"I CAN'T RIGHT NOW, BUT I CAN DO IT LATER"
If you really want to help the person but don't have time now,
tell them so. Offer a later time or date -- if they can't wait
for you they will find someone else.
"I'M REALLY NOT THE MOST QUALIFIED PERSON FOR THE JOB"
If you don't feel that you have adequate skills to take on a
task, that's okay. It's better to admit your limitations up
front than feel overwhelmed down the road.
"I JUST DON'T HAVE ANY ROOM IN MY CALENDAR RIGHT NOW"
Be honest if your schedule is filled -- and "filled" doesn't
have to mean really FILLED! It just means you have scheduled as
much as you are willing and you're stopping.
"I CAN'T, BUT LET ME GIVE YOU THE NAME OF SOMEONE WHO CAN"
If you aren't available to help out, offer another qualified
resource. Professionals do this all the time when they refer a
client to a colleague.
"I HAVE ANOTHER COMMITMENT"
And it doesn't matter what that commitment is. It could be a
meeting or a dentist appointment or a day in the park with your
kid. The point is, you aren't available.
"I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF SEVERAL PROJECTS AND CAN'T SPARE THE
Let people know when you have already accepted other
responsibilities -- no one is going to fault you for having
already filled your plate.
"I'VE HAD A FEW THINGS COME UP AND I NEED TO DEAL WITH THOSE
Unexpected things happen that throw your schedule off -- it
happens. So accept that you may need to make a few adjustments
until your life stabilizes again.
"I WOULD RATHER DECLINE THAN END UP DOING A MEDIOCRE JOB"
Knowing that you aren't able to deliver a quality product -- for
whatever reason -- is reason enough for turning a request down.
"I'M REALLY FOCUSING MORE ON MY PERSONAL AND FAMILY LIFE
People act ashamed of wanting to spend time with their families
-- like it means they don't have goals. Having a strong family
is a goal in and of itself!
"I'M REALLY FOCUSING MORE ON MY CAREER RIGHT NOW"
The reverse is true also -- you may have to give up some civic
or community duties to focus your energies on a work-related
task (and that's fine, too!)
"I REALLY DON'T ENJOY THAT KIND OF WORK"
Who said you were supposed to enjoy your chores and
assignments?! Well, if you don't enjoy them, why do them? Life
isn't about drudgery and boredom.
"I CAN'T, BUT I'M HAPPY TO HELP OUT WITH ANOTHER TASK"
If someone asks you to do something you really despise, refuse
-- but then offer to help with something you find more enjoyable
"I'VE LEARNED IN THE PAST THAT THIS REALLY ISN'T MY STRONG
Another way of admitting your limitations. Did you know that
actually makes you stronger? Knowing what you can handle and
what you can't is a tremendous talent!
"I'M SURE YOU WILL DO A WONDERFUL JOB ON YOUR OWN"
Many times, people ask for help because they doubt their own
abilities. Let the other person know that you have confidence
that they will succeed.
"I DON'T HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE WITH THAT, SO I CAN'T HELP YOU"
Volunteering to help out shouldn't mean that you have to learn
an entirely new set of skills. Offer to help out with something
you already know how to do.
"I'M NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THAT"
You might be uncomfortable with the people involved, the type of
work, the moral implications -- this is a very respectful way to
avoid a sticky situation.
"I HATE TO SPLIT MY ATTENTION AMONG TOO MANY PROJECTS"
Let people know that you want to do a good job for them -- but
that you can't when your focus is too divided or splintered.
"I'M COMMITTED TO LEAVING SOME TIME FOR MYSELF IN MY
Selfish, selfish, selfish! But in a good way! Treat your
personal time like any other appointment -- block it off in your
calendar and guard it with your life!
"I'M NOT TAKING ON ANY NEW PROJECTS RIGHT NOW"
You aren't saying that you will never help out again -- just
that you feel your schedule is as full as you would like right
Sometimes it's okay just to say no! Just make sure that you say
it in a way that expresses respect and courtesy -- that leaves
the door open for good relations.
Ramona Creel is Professional Organizer, NAPO Golden Circle Member, and the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. A former Social Worker, she has always enjoyed helping people find the resources and solutions they need to improve their lives. Ramona now travels the country as a full-time RVer, sharing her story of simplicity with everyone she meets. She leads by example -- having worked for more than 10 years as a Professional Organizer, and having radically downsized and simplified her own life as a full-time RVer. Ramona now considers herself a "Renaissance Woman" -- bringing all of her passions together into one satisfying career. As both a virtual and traveling organizer, she can create a customized organizing plan for your home or office, put on a workshop, or educate you through one of her popular teleseminars. As a simplicity coach, Ramona provides a proven program for making every area of your life a little bit easier -- perfect for those who want to make the time and space to focus on their true priorities. As a Professional Photographer, Ramona captures powerful images of places and people as she travels. And as a freelance writer and blogger, she shares organizing techniques, social commentary, travel tips, and film reviews with others. You can see all these sides of Ramona -- read her articles, browse through her photographs, and even hire her to help get your life in order -- at www.RamonaCreel.com. You can also follow her on Twitter, check out her Facebook profile, and subscribe to her blog feeds
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