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How are you at saying no?

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Barbara Biog By Barbara Nixon

How are you at saying no? Looking back at the past few years there’s a very clear trend for me….I like volunteering for stuff. As a result, I’ve done all sorts. I’ve been on a figure skating committee, I’ve been a Chair of a committee, I’ve been on the school PTA, I’ve been a School Governor, and that’s a list when I’m not even trying to remember. At one point I’m sure I was doing more volunteering than anything else….which is when it hit me. I wasn’t saying ‘no’ enough!

Yes, I’d convince myself that I had to do it…after all ‘they’ needed people and someone had to do it, right? But in reality it didn’t have to be me…and although some of the things that I volunteered for I really enjoyed…there were others where I was very much, meh!

So, what’s this thing about saying no?

I have to say that on this occasion I blame my lovely mum, who although I think is amazing, is also a volunteer addict due to her inability to say no. So when I realised that she’d passed this gift onto me I had to do something about it, and learnt to say ‘no’ with the aim to feel nothing but liberated.

Here’s what I did:

  • I got really clear about what I actually wanted to do

Before we go on I have to make something clear…I like to do some volunteering…so with that in mind I decided what it was that I actually liked to do, and put that on my ‘yes’ pile. I also created a rule where I only volunteered for whatever one term was. By stepping aside after my term was up I was I making space to try something new. Finally, I tuned into exactly what I wanted from the year in terms of my business and the opportunities that I was looking for. By being super clear on the things that I wanted to do, I was able to say ‘no’ really easily to the things that came up that weren’t in that zone and I felt OK.

  • I accepted that I wasn’t Superwoman!

I haven’t ever fallen into a vat of nuclear waste and I don’t go round with my pants over my trousers so why was I trying to be all things to all people? Time to stop!

  • I accepted that there were only 24 hours in the day…

And I work, and have a family and like to do fun things as well, so the more I was clogging up my time with things I didn’t want to do the less space there was for stuff I loved to do.

  • I realised that people actually don’t care if you say ‘no’

If I ask someone to do something, and they say ‘no’, nothing happens. I don’t hate them for ever and I don’t start spreading nasty rumours, I just think that they’re busy, and that’s all!  So, if I don’t care, then chances are other people don’t care either…they’ll just keep looking for someone else to help.

  • When I say I’m going to do something and my heart’s not in it, I do a rubbish job

I learnt this from my 3 teenagers, and it’s true. Trust me, teenagers are so good at this one!  I don’t want to do a rubbish job so best not put myself in that position.

  • I followed my mantra ‘choose your battles’

Of course there are some things you have to say yes to…we all know what these are for us personally and that’s just life I guess…but I’m OK with saying ‘yes’ to these things if I can say ‘no’ to other things that don’t really need me personally compared to the things that really do.

So these are my tips for saying no…I’d love to hear yours. Hop on over to Facebook and let’s share.

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