The Power of a positive No

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No.

No, no, no, no no. Nope.

Nah.

Definitely not.

When was the last time you had this reaction? When was the last time you had this reaction and actually voiced it?

A challenge I set for myself this year is to say No with more conviction. Not necessarily more often and not only to certain things. Simply to really think about my answer, and say it like I mean it. Now that I’ve written it, and read it out loud to myself, it sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it?

So why am I attempting to say no with more conviction?

Well, saying no can be hard. Really hard. By nature I want to do everythingand I want to do it now. Like RIGHT NOW. I’m incredibly curious which is a major strength, yet, not kept in check, it can (and has) lead me down innumerable rabbit holes and can create a path of overcommitment in the guise of shiny, fascinating things, people and topics.

So how do I go from being like one of the easily distracted dogs from Up, to being able to say no, and to do it as gracefully as possible?

First up, I re-visited my values and my goals. It’s amazing how knowing what’s important to you makes saying no a WHOLE lot easier. Re-framing things to fit within what matters to me has also helped me put a positive spin on my answers. I’ve turned my ‘yea, ok ’s’ in to ‘Yes Please’, as in ‘pick me pick me’ (thank you Amy Poehler). If it’s not a ‘Yes Please’ then is it a ‘yea, ok’ or is it a no disguised as a yes?

Asking myself this at the time of committing provides me the opportunity to check:

  • Does this sit in line with what I value?
  • Do I REALLY want to do it? A year from now, will I be kicking myself for not saying yes? Or thanking myself for saying no?

So, next time you hear yourself saying yes and your mind is thinking ‘really? you really want to do this?’ take the opportunity to clarify whether it a Yes Please or a definite, positive, No.

This post was originally published on Medium.

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