The Art of Saying “No”
Is the word, “no” a hard word for you to say? Do you have trouble telling people you can’t or won’t do something? I have learned the art of saying, “No”. Are you ready for it? Here it is. Ahem. “No.”
Ground breaking, huh? My real estate team posts our Quote of the Day every weekday. The picture on this blog is of one we posted several months back. No really is a full sentence, no explanation needed. So many times I will hear people that feel they need to explain themselves. I used to be one of them. I recall sitting down during an interview process for a Director position for our regional BNI and being asked what I needed help with (the equivalent of “what are your weaknesses). I knew the answer immediately. The answer was ironic due to the fact that I was being asked to take on a leadership role with extra responsibilities in my already full life. My answer was, “I need to learn how to say, “No”.” Ultimately, that was all I needed. I needed to say it out loud – much like an alcoholic publicly admits their infirmity at an AA meeting. I felt relief and freedom. Freedom to just say, “No” without explanation.
So many of us fill our lives with meaningless things that we don’t need to be doing. We want to be helpful and that’s a good thing. I also think a lot of us start to feel guilty if we say, “No,” and don’t give in to the pressures of community, responsibility, or even family obligations. There are certainly worthwhile causes and ways we can help if we feel we should or need to. Remember, though, that the more we say, “Yes,” to, the less each cause or deed actually gets our attention. Why not choose a few things that we feel we can devote to and do those things well? Lest you think I have got it all together, I am definitely preaching to the choir here. So, let’s try it together.
Question: Can you help me put this Ikea furniture together?
Question: Would you like to be the Chair of the committee this year? You’ve done such a great job and we really want to take things to a new level and know you are the one to get us there. It will require 10 hours a week and you’re the only one without a full-time job.
Question: Will you cut your commission?
Question: Are you able to stay late tonight to help me? I’ve been on vacation and not had time to work on this project.
Question: Would you like to go with me to an Aerosmith concert?
Get it? Good! It’s not as hard as it seems. In the beginning, you may feel you need to lighten the sentence a bit. “I’m sorry, No,” works well as does, “I’m not able at this time,” though that one leaves you open for future requests so beware. The more you learn the art of saying, “No,” the easier it gets. You realize that you are actually doing a good thing by declining the request and that the things you agree to will be more enjoyable.
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur babies, Tyler and Livvie, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.