The Hardest Lesson: Saying No

  • 3 mins read

By: David Herdlinger

In professional and personal coaching, at one point you just have to find a way to help people say one, yet extremely powerful word:

No.

It can be daunting to do it.

People are so used to this idea that you have to always be available, a team player, and willing to go the extra mile to show your worth at all times. Its thought of as the most effective way to move forward in your professional life.

But in reality, saying no can be very beneficial in your career.

When Should You Be Saying No?

Your career will present you with countless opportunities to say no:

  • Recruitment pitches that dont work for your career path at all
  • Requests for free stuff (advice, labor, etc.)
  • Low-ball offers
  • Extra work that isnt compensated
  • Colleague interruptions, etc.

Learning how to say no can give you a competitive advantage because you can use it to deter the events that aim to take you off your path toward reaching your career goals.

Doing someone a favor once in a while isnt necessarily bad. It can be a way to strengthen your relationship with managers and co-workers. But if you have a habit of saying yes to everything, at one point you can end up:

  • Overworked
  • Underpaid
  • Frustrated
  • Exhausted
  • Confused about your future

So, How Can You Say No Without Jeopardizing Your Career?

A lot of the time, the clients I work with have a problem in terms of mindset.

They see saying the word no mostly from the perspective of the other person, and how it will affect them. How they wont get the help they need, the advice, or the task done.

But, its important to put yourself back into the story because saying no also affects you.

Here are a few tips that can help you figure out when and how to say no without it jeopardizing your career:

  • Take a few moments – You dont have to accept or reject a proposal right away. Just say give me a few minutes to think it over;
  • Evaluate your priorities – Consider your goals, and how this proposal fits into your journey. Does it help? Does it distract you from your path? Does it prevent you from focusing on other things?;
  • Consider the results of saying yes – Now think about the scenario of saying yes. What would that look like? Would it be beneficial to you? Can you do it alone or would you need more support?
  • Rip the bandaid – If you analyze the proposal and want to reject it, then its best to rip the bandaid off, just say no, and add your reasoning.

Im not going to lie, it will most likely still be difficult at first, even if you follow these steps.

You will need to give yourself some time to embrace the idea that saying no is not the end of the world, and that it can actually help you move forward with your career goals.

And eventually, it will happen!

 

 

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