For many years, I found it much easier to say no in personal situations and much harder to say no in professional situations. I feared being labeled “uncooperative” or “difficult”, and I was afraid saying no could even cost me my job.
I’ll never forget the time in early 20s when the CEO of the company asked me to work late and I said no. I was so nervous but I said it anyway. Or, well, what I actually said was, “I can’t stay late tonight. Can I get that report to you first thing tomorrow morning?” His response went something like, “okay, sure.”
HE WASN’T MAD. I DIDN’T GET FIRED. EVERYTHING WAS OKAY.
Huh, go figure.
Thinking back on my career, I can’t think of a time I regretted saying no. I can think of plenty of times I regretted saying yes.
Since I started my career coaching business, it’s even more important to say no. Saying no is a way to set boundaries with clients. It increases trust and accountability.
Saying no is the difference between succeeding and failing as an entrepreneur. Fortunately I get plenty of practice saying no with dignity and integrity.
When to say no
Saying no is one of the topics I often speak about in public. In my presentation, Communicating with Confidence in Business, I talk about why it’s so important to say no in business and how to do it.
Really, knowing when to say no is pretty simple.
Are you ready for it?
Say no when you’re unwilling or unable to agree.
See, I told you it was simple.
Easier said than done, am I right? Those fears I had before haven’t gone away. I still fear what people might think of me. I still fear loosing work because I say no.
I say no anyway. I say no because when people can trust my word, they know they can trust me. I say no because I don’t want to say yes and do a crappy job. I say no because if I don’t take care of my health and happiness I’ll be sick and miserable.
And then I realized my presentation was missing something. I was talking about when to say no, but I wasn’t talking about when to say yes.
I considered my own professional and business experienced and realized it’s just as important to know when to say yes as it is to know when to say no.
When to say yes
We are presented with opportunities every day- opportunities to get out of a rut, to change our situation, to challenge ourselves, to grow.
By my own advice I could let myself off the hook by saying no to a new opportunity but here’s the thing- when an opportunity is life-changing, it’s easy to say no. It’s much easier to do what I’ve been doing than do something different. Opportunities that require growth are scary, and it’s tempting to say no but that’s exactly when I should say yes.
It’s always going to be hard to say yes to change but if the change is for good then it’s worth it to face the fear and say yes.
The next time you’re faced with a choice, ask yourself if you’re being offered the opportunity to grow. If you’re being given an opportunity to change your situation for the better, you better say yes.
I’m going to test this out right here, right now.
If you’re in a job you hate, if you’re stuck in a career rut, if you know you have more to contribute at work- I am offering you the chance to change.
Maybe you’re in a job you should have left years ago. Maybe you know you were meant for something bigger and better. Maybe you’re tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck. Maybe you’ve tried to find another job and it seemed like staying put was your only option.
Most people reading this will say no to this opportunity. That’s okay. I’m looking for just one or two people who are ready to say yes. People who are scared but willing to face their fear for an awesome payoff.
“Chrysta really gave me the insight on where I was cutting myself short and what I should do to lift myself out of the slump I was having. So far I am starting my own business and slowly creating a client base along with a thicker portfolio and new connections.” –Rebecca Robinson
Email me at email@example.com to schedule some time to talk about your career. If you say yes to this opportunity, I’ll help you figure out why you’re stuck and what needs to change.
“Chrysta has helped me with many professional struggles and always guided me to my truth. She is an ace you want in your pocket! “ -Amanda Oliver
Are you ready to say yes?