Learning to say NO!!



Well if you know me at all – you know that “NO” is not really a part of my vocabulary and I am sure you find it funny that I would dare write on this topic.  I agree – “My name is Leigh Christian, and I have a problem…saying NO!”  I have spent alot of time thinking about why this is such an issue for me and thought I would share my thoughts.  I am NO expert on this topic nor do I always heed my own advice but I am trying to understand and strive to do better.

Reasons that I (and yes – you) have trouble saying no are so numerous, but here are a few:

1.)  You don’t want to let anyone down.  You feel that you need to please them, help them, save them or something like that!  You feel if you don’t do whatever it is – whether it is bring snack, take everyone home, host the event, etc. – no one else will.  YOU and you alone are responsible for everyone’s happiness…

2.)  You don’t want to feel left out!  If you don’t participate and take care of things – you might not get asked the next time.  You sometimes feel that is the only reason people include you – because they know you will drive, you will pay or you will handle all th arrangements.You are scared you may burn bridges if you say “no” now. 

3.)You don’t want to be rude!  Sometimes you feel like you would hurt someone’s feelings if you said “no” to them. 

4.)  You really want to help!  There are so many great causes and you think you should support them all…from starving homeless kids, cancer research, save the whales…and the list goes on and on and on… It is so inspirational, respectful and just plain ole fun to participate and support worthy causes – just pick a few and commit to them.  You can’t be all things to all organizations and causes. 

5.)  You are afraid of conflict – you may make someone mad if you said “no” to them so you avoid saying it.  We all like to avoid conflict so we just do something because it is “easier”??  Really?  Just woman-up and say “NO”.

6.)  You fear that something exciting, award winning, the best moment of your life may happen if you participate so it is hard to say “no” just thinking that your lifelong dream might be achieved!

7.)  You want to be the one to prove that something can be done – you can raise the money, you can make things easier, you can inspire others…

Well – I have thought all those things so often.  I really don’t like to say “no” but I have learned that life does go on if I don’t kill myself to get something done, friends still are there if they are true friends, and if I don’t take care of myself then i won’t be around to say “yes” or “no” in the future.

So how can you (Yes and me) say “No” without feeling horrible.

1.  Say that you need to “prayerfully consider” before accepting the task.  One of my friends said that to me one time and I will never forget it.  I wasn’t mad – I respected her for saying that. Most of the time,  I jump into things head on sometimes and don’t even realize what else I may have on my plate. Often I have committed to too much and reach burn out!  Prayer is always the answer! 

John 5:30  The Voice (VOICE)

30 I have not ever acted, and will not in the future act, on My own. I listen to the directions of the One who sent Me and act on these divine instructions. For this reason, My judgment is always fair and never self-serving. I’m committed to pursuing God’s agenda and not My own.

2.  Say “no’ politely, just be honest…say that right now is not a great time because of other commitments but to check with you again.

3.  Suggest someone else that may just be looking for an opportunity to serve.  When you always step up – you are sometimes keeping someone else from receiving the blessing that they may have received. 

4.  Offer support, mentoring, suggestions, assistance but ensure that you don’t take on a role or commitment.  You can still show interest in the project, task or person…just don’t take it own for yourself. 

5.  Sometimes you just have to say “no”…for no other reason except you don’t want to do something, don’t have time, don’t believe in the cause or you are too tired.  Don’t beat yourself up!  It is ok – life will continue. 

So I will pray for you as you please pray for me.  Saying no is hard, but necessary to our own well-being. 

Connecting with you…

Connections Coach

Leigh Christian