Who likes to say no? Most people don’t! However, if you want to say YES to your positive career transformation, you need to learn how to say no to the things that keep you stuck, distracted and overcommitted. Learning how to say no with confidence and grace will help you move forward and create the career and life you truly want. May Aimee’s story inspire you to say YES to your bigger vision and no to things that hold you back from achieving it.
My career coaching client, Aimee (not her real name) has found the clarity that she wants to start her own home staging business. She is still working a full time job in an insurance company. She has started taking night classes to hone her skills and earn the credentials to open her own business. Time and energy to devote to developing her new venture are limited and very valuable.
Aimee loves to help other people and naturally sees opportunities all around to do just that. Before coaching, Aimee’s default was saying YES to almost everything.
Whether her nephew needed help with his math assignment, a colleague asked for support with a project, a friend wanted help with a move, Aimee was quick to say YES to it all. Helping out gave her a quick sense of accomplishment.
Since Aimee hired me as her career coach, she realized that while she enjoys helping others, it keeps her stuck in her day job. After she is done helping everyone else, she has no energy or time left to devote to creating her own business.
Saying YES wasn’t a conscious choice for Aimee. It was a habit, a default behaviour just like smoking or drinking coffee. Often she literally heard herself saying YES before she even had a chance to think it through. This habitual way of saying YES to everyone and everything but herself and her own dreams has kept her stuck and feeling overwhelmed for quite some time.
I am excited to share how Aimee shifted from auto-pilot YES to saying NO with confidence and grace. Just like Aimee, you too can create a powerful shift.
1st Step to Say No with Confidence & Grace: Realize That YES and NO Are Connected
We all have limited time and energy available each day. How you spend your time and energy impacts how you feel about each day. How you feel about each day impacts how you feel about your life.
When you say YES to something, you are automatically saying NO to something else. As much as you may dislike saying NO, you are already saying NO a lot.
Unfortunately, just like Aimee, you are most likely saying NO to yourself and the things you truly want to do.
2nd Step to Say No with Confidence: Get CLEAR on What You Want to Say YES to
Take some quality time to contemplate what you truly want in your career and in your life? You may not know what that is, yet. Begin with the things you already know you want, but never get around to. It may be taking a yoga class, making pancakes from scratch, reading a great book or playing with your dog in the park.
Think about the things that bring you joy and say YES to at least one of them. If you are not sure what you truly want in your career and in your life, take a powerful step right now and request your free career clarity consultation. I look forward to exploring how I may support you in finding your big YES!
Aimee realized through coaching that she wants to create her own home staging business. She has identified specific goals and action steps that help her move in that direction such as conducting informational interviews, taking training, offering her home staging services after hours to friends and family to begin building her portfolio. Aimee knows what she wants to say YES to.
3rd Step to Say No with Grace: Create a New Default Answer
Once you know what you want to say YES to, it becomes a lot easier to say NO with confidence. You are not just turning people down because you don’t feel like helping out. You are saying No with the purpose of saying YES to your bigger goals and vision.
Aimee found it helpful to create a new default answer: “Thank you for asking, however, at this time I need to stay focussed.”
Here are a few other ways of saying no with confidence and grace:
- “I feel honoured by your request and must decline as I am focussing on creating my business.”
- “I am very focused on my studies right now and know that I wouldn’t do a good job helping you with your taxes.”
- “At this time I have decided to spend more time with my kids. I realize they won’t be young forever. That’s why quality time with my family has become my number one priority. Therefore I won’t be serving on your committee.”
Come up with your own default answer that feels powerful and connects you with your YES. Practice saying it a few times a day until it roles off your tongue with ease.
4th Step to Say No with Confidence: Celebrate Your Empowered Choice
Aimee noticed that the word ‘NO’, spelled backwards reads ‘ON’. Each time she says NO to a request that distracts her from her goals, she celebrates. Aimee stands up tall, puts her hands on her hips and declares: “I’m on it!”
Another client likes to say a loud YES combined with a fist pump.
Julia James is a certified life coach and award-winning author of the book, The Mini-Retreat Solution. With over ten years experience coaching people through positive career transformations, Julia is passionate about helping people connect with their true calling.