Do you have a hard time saying “no?”

I think it happens to many of us; a friend or family member approaches us with the words, “Can you…” and our palms get sweaty and our heart begins to race. We know a request for a commitment is coming our way and we don’t want to disappoint. In turn our response is automatically the answer, “Yes.” And as that short little word is coming out of our mouth, we are already kicking ourselves for committing.

For most of us, saying no is exceedingly difficult. We seem to say yes to everything. We feel that if we say no we will hurt someone or let them down. This innate desire to please and perform can lead to over-commitment, task saturation, and emotional burn out. We become overwhelmed with anxiety over what we have to do to the point that it keeps us from getting any one task done, fully. Suddenly all of our own priorities have been pushed aside and we are now investing our time and energy into something important to someone else.

By saying yes to too many things, we may be saying no to some very important things.

Next time when asked, try using some of these responses vs. responding with an automatic “yes!”

  • I would love to, but right now I cannot focus my attention on that fully
  • I need to finish the project (commitment) I have in front of me first and then I can
  • I would like to be involved but I cannot get to that for another X number of days/weeks, if that is acceptable
  • I am going to need 24 hours to think about that, then I can get back to you
  • Thank you for thinking of me but I simply don’t have the time