This Far…No Further…Say “NO”
This post is not for you if you are an under-performer at work. This post is not for those of you who can conveniently say “No” without a second thought, be it to your boss, your family or your friends.
This blog is exclusively for those who take ownership for everything that happens around them and believe that saying a “No” may hurt somebody or may be considered as a sign of under-performance.
This blog is for those who are scared of the consequences of saying “No” to their boss, team-member, colleague, friend, family or an acquaintance. It’s for those who say a “Yes” and then go all out of their way to make it happen, at the expense of their health, happiness and peace of mind.
If you are a “Yes- Man”, carry on reading. However, if being a “Yes- Man” is giving you rewards and is keeping you happy then STOP right now. You don’t need to read any further. Don’t waste your time!
If you are not a “Yes- Man”, then again, Congratulations, you don’t need this blog!
Why is it so easy to say “Yes”?
Having worked for approximately 2 decades, I have had the opportunity to meet a number of people, work with different nationalities and report to a number of bosses and well, sadly, something that hasn’t changed, is most people’s inability to say “No”.
Having lived away from family in boarding school for a number of years, I know how easy it is to say “yes” to gain acceptance and how dreadful you could be made to feel if you dared say “No”.
Why do most people find it difficult to say “No”? Is it because most people are too kind, and are therefore unable to hurt other people’s feelings by saying “No” ?(I am sure not because the world would have been a much better place then) or is it because people are too scared to say “No” because of the possible repercussions (repercussions that they assume will happen when they decline an offer) or is it because these are the same people who are unable to accept “No” for an answer?
The crux of the matter is if you can accept a “No”, you must believe that you can also say a “No”.
It’s funny that at-least 50% or more of the people find it difficult to say “No”. Funny because “NO” is one word that we hear right from the moment we are born. In fact, it’s more often used by elders than a “Yes” and is one of the first ten words that a child learns to say. Yet, during the growing-up years, children are expected to conform and in the event say “yes” to parents, teachers, older family members in the name of respect, love and sometimes culture. In the event creating a person who is eager to please, happy to go the extra mile simply to gain social acceptance.
Empower yourself and your kids!
Say “No” when you want to. Show your kids that it’s alright to say “No”. Liberate yourself and them from self-created , imaginary bonds that make them servile. Help them to listen to their heart and mind and say “No”.
There are a number of self-help books and leadership books that have been written on the subject by management gurus and maybe if you’re having a tough time saying the word, you’ve read some of them or all of them. So why should you listen to me?
A) Because…I am one of you. I’ve been there, lived through it and got over it.
B) Because… I have been managing teams since the past 15 years and I know how easy it is for bosses to give the good performer additional responsibility simply because it’s less stressful.
C) Because… I know how it feels after you’ve said “Yes”, when you wanted to say “No”. I have always regretted it or wished I had never said it and hoped I could wake up in the morning and find the person I had said “Yes” to, had a bout of amnesia.
D)Because… I realize that if you keep saying “Yes”, people don’t value you as much as when you say “No” . You can’t be that predictable by saying “yes” all the time that people take you for granted; that when they ask you a question with a yes or no for an answer, they don’t wait for the answer expectantly because they are so used to you saying “yes”.
E) Because… honestly, a relationship is not worth keeping if it’s going to break the moment you say “No”. You know it’s not supposed to work that way. You have the right to say “No” and someone who values you will value your decision.
Don’t be apologetic. Don’t give excuses. Don’t assume the consequences. Just say “No”.
At the work-place, if you are a good performer, then there’s pretty much a chance your boss is giving you additional responsibilities, new projects and you’ve been taking it, sitting well beyond office hours to complete it. If it’s giving you rewards and that makes you happy, fine, go on doing it. But, if it’s not making you happy, then it’s time to say a “No…this far…no further”. Relax, you’re not going to lose your job because you’ve declined to accept additional responsibility. Organizations would rather keep a smart, hardworking employee who says “No” at times rather than investing on training a new employee. A good boss respects a good employee. If he does not, and you’re good, then it’s his loss not yours!
People find it easier to say “No” in non-threatening relations. Be honest- is it fair to say “No” to someone who loves you unconditionally as compared to someone whose love is based on conditions? Be nice to people who love you and who care for you because these are the people who have also probably gone out of the way to do stuff for you and will come to your rescue again if they had to. However, if a relationship is becoming suffocating, then let go. Say “This far…No further”. You owe it to yourself and the people who really love you.
Your friend or family is not going to hate you if you say “no”. If they do, then they probably never cared enough.
Take Responsibility: Blame yourself; not others for your inability
Learning to say “No” is an art and is every human being’s right. Accepting a “No” without anger, animosity or ill-feeling knowing that the other person has a right too, to accept or reject your request shows grace and poise. I am not saying that you say “No” every- time your boss asks you to do an extra job or take an additional responsibility or your friend asks you for a favor or a family member asks for help. In the organization, if one needs to grow, one needs to show the willingness to accept additional responsibilities or take up challenging projects which may also require burning the night lamp at times. In a more personal relation, there maybe times that you may need to go out of your way to help a friend or somebody in the family. However, where going out of your way or doing the extra job is not making you happy or you feel you are being taken advantage of and becomes a routine, then it’s time to say “No”, rather than crib and back-bite and blame later.
A “NO” is simply a “No” to a question that offers the option of a “Yes” or “No” for an answer
Trust me, saying “no” has often much lesser adverse effects than you have allowed yourself to imagine. It largely depends on how you say it. In an organization if you have been asked at the nth moment to stay back to complete a project, then you can say “No” because no project has ever got created and gone live at a moment’s notice. Say “No” and offer to do it the next day or within the next few days depending on the size of the project. Do not get overpowered by “Bossy” bosses who threaten. If you have proved yourself in the past, then have faith in yourself. Confidence gains respect.
In the family where you feel you are consistently being bullied into saying a “yes” and it’s stifling you, Break Free! Say “No”! They are not going to like it because it’s difficult to accept change but eventually they will, if they love you enough.
Saying “No” when you strongly believe it, is liberating and allows you to use your energy on more productive stuff than thinking of why you did not say “No” in the first place. If you do not say “No” when you want to, there’s no way the other person is ever going to know that you wanted to.
Knowing that you can say “No”, takes away the feeling of being dictated to or ordered because the choice is in your hands. Exercise your right and free yourself!