- "If I say no, I might miss out on good opportunities."
- "If I say no, people will believe I'm a difficult person to work with."
I bet these objections have crossed your mind, too. How do I know? Because that is what I used to say before I learned how to stand in my power and respectfully say no. The old me would say things like:
- "It's easy for you to say no, but I'm not in a situation to do that!"
- "I can't just say no! What is my boss going to think?"
- "There is just no way I could get away with that."
In my experience as a coach, I've learned that most objections come from fear.
The fear of revealing the real you.
Saying NO is about honoring yourself and your desires.
It's about liberating the real you from the "should-do" and focusing on the "love-to-do." NO protects the part of yourself that you hide under the layers of people pleasing. NO shields you from having to contort yourself in order to fit in and not rock the boat.
In an interview by Erin Greenawald, Victoria MacRae-Samuels, VP of Operations for Maker's Mark said:
"Finally, I wish people would remember that what they do every day should be a reflection of who they are. That's actually the advice I give to my daughters who are 19 and 23. It's unfortunate that so many of us find ourselves in positions where we become what the job is and lose sight of those dreams, visions, and personal values."
In other words, when you become a "yes-person" for the sake of the job, you lose an important part of yourself. If you've not used your NO-muscle in a while (or ever!), saying NO will feel uncomfortable and scary. That's normal. Start slowly and take small steps.
Here are 3 practices that will strengthen your confidence and make saying NO a little easier:
- Communicate what you want-- Do you communicate with your inner voice or do you say what you think people want to hear? Stop assuming people understand you. Most of the time, they don't. It's not the world's responsibility to know what you really want; it's your responsibility to share your voice and desires with the world.
The very next step is to take the time to have a conversation with yourself.
Nozomi Morgan, MBA, is a certified Executive Coach and the Founder and President of Michiki Morgan Worldwide LLC. Addition to coaching, she speaks and trains on leadership, career, professional development and cross-cultural business communication.