In a recent newsletter, I provided a short list of what to say no to this year. Here are a few more tips and how and why it’s ok to say no:

  • Be direct, such as “no, I can’t” or “no, I don’t want to.”
  • Offer a solution or suggest a person or tool that could help the asker.
  • Apologies and all sorts of reasons for your answer is not required.
  • Don’t lie. Lying will most likely lead to guilt  —  and remember, this is what you are trying to avoid feeling.
  • Remember that it is better to say no now than be resentful later.
  • Be polite, such as “Thanks for asking” or “I’m flattered that you thought of me”.
  • Practice saying no. Imagine a scenario and then practice saying no either by yourself or with a friend. This will get you feeling a lot more comfortable with saying no.
  • Don’t say, “I’ll think about it” if you don’t want to do it. This will just prolong the situation and make you feel even more stressed.

Saying “no” is a part of being a working professional. But there is a right way to do it: Make the reason for your rejection known and, if you can, offer a solution or alternative. That way, you don’t have to sacrifice on the quality of your work or over-schedule yourself. Everyone involved knows what to expect and you’ll be viewed as a resource.

Remember that your self-worth does not depend on how much you do for other people.

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