Most of us hate to say no.

There’s always a sense of defeat, the feeling of inadequacy that comes when we say that word. We don’t want to admit that we can’t do it all, after all everyone else seems to be able to!

Our culture wants to please others, and in an attempt to not let anyone down, we overbook, over schedule, overwork – all because we are afraid of how others might view us when we give them a decision other than the one we think they are after.

But the truth is, that when you can gather the courage to say no to something that is draining your time, energy, and creativity –you actually free yourself up for better opportunities to come. Instead of spreading yourself too thin across too many projects, saying no can free you up, reduce your stress, and give you back time that you can devote to things that matter. In the process, you will find that saying no can open up new opportunities for you, and can be more beneficial than you may have ever imagined.

Here’s how you can get started using this powerful word effectively…

Stop Feeling Guilty

One of the main reasons that we can’t say no without feeling guilty, is because society conditions us to feel guilty for turning down requests. It’s important to tell yourself that you’re not being selfish, and allow yourself the freedom to say no. Saying no means you are not interested in taking on more than you can handle, and that you are not willing to burden yourself, your family, or others by taking in too much and ending up in over your head! That’s not selfish –that’s smart.

Remember the Positive Power Behind the Word

While most often the word no is associated with negativity (for obvious reasons!), it’s important to realize that no, has a lot of positivity going for it too. When a person says no –they are not, or should not be thought of as a negative person. Rather – a person who draws the line and says no – is a confident strong person who knows how much they can handle and where and when to draw the line and say no –all positive and admirable traits.

Let Them Down Gently

If you have no intention on continuing forward with a certain project or commitment, then don’t hesitate to say no in the beginning. Saying no in the beginning will free up both you, and the person asking. They won’t be dependent on you and will have time to find someone else to fill the position they were asking you for. However, don’t say no without giving a reason. Be clear with your reasons for saying no. You don’t have the time to commit, you aren’t interested, the pay is too low – be reasonable, but clear when informing them of your decision.

How Much No?

No should never be used as a reflex answer. Saying no to new opportunities out of fear, is never a good strategy. Having no as your go-to answer for change or potential opportunities, will only hold you back, causing you to miss opportunities to grow or succeed. Don’t abuse the power of no, rather use it to better yourself and your situation by freeing yourself and your schedule up for better opportunities.

Remember, we say no, so that we can say yes to things that really matter. Give yourself the freedom to say no, and watch as new opportunities and freedom come your way!

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