One of the things I most struggle with in my life is saying no. It’s something I’ve acknowledged for at least the last year, and felt the struggle most of my life, and yet it continues to baffle me how challenging it can be to, simply put, say “no, I’m good.”
I've dug into this question many times to figure out where it comes from, and what it brings me to say yes and recognize that there is an inherent fear of disappointing others, of not being able to provide joy or happiness every time someone asks me for something.
And then there is the quiet lurking of boundaries not being set or adhered to. Every time I say yes to something I don’t really want to do, I find myself feeling frustrated – not at the person who requested something of me – but at myself for not, simply, saying no.
And so in recent weeks I have started to approach this conundrum differently. Rather than making it simply about saying “yes” or “no” I’ve decided to start slowing down my yes. There is no urgency to make a decision or to commit one way or the other immediately (in most circumstances) and therefore I can take my time to think it through, to sleep over it, to see how I feel in the morning, and if I still want to say yes tomorrow, then it is a fully committed and wholehearted yes. One that makes me feel good about my decision and happy that I took the time I needed to think it through without feeling pressured.
How good are you at slowing down your yes? How often do you find yourself struggling to say no, when you really aren’t sure if you want to do something?
I'd love to hear how others handle this very real challenge that so many of us face!
Amanda is a Leadership Coach and Facilitator who empowers people to reach their full potential and increase their social impact. She helps purpose-driven individuals who feel stuck, frustrated, or unfulfilled in their work to clarify the impact they want to have in the world and transform their professional lives to achieve it.