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Henk Botha

Henk Botha

Sometimes, You Must Say “No!”

Occasionally, we must stand up for ourselves.

People may have taken advantage of you for too long. You became that go-to person for every project and committee. They target you because they discovered your secret: you cannot help saying yes, even when you do not want to say Yes.

Do not allow others to take advantage of you. It is time to take charge of your life. Rather than negatively thinking of ‘No’, you must realize that this two-letter word contains much positive energy. Saying ‘no’ is powerful; it will change the way you think about your life — and yourself.

In our seminar, you will learn when to say ‘No’ and how to do it to keep relationships intact. You will become comfortable with saying ‘no’ in such a way that it will stay with you for the rest of your life.

The Power of “No”

We naturally think that ‘No’ is a negative word. Growing up, we learned to avoid it. However, we use it to refuse things, turn down opportunities, and declare ourselves unyielding and unmoving.

We heard:

  • ‘Yes’ is bold and energizing, making us open to possibility and opportunity;
  • ‘No’ is a slammed door in a locked house;
  • ‘Yes’ is the open skies and the wide-open spaces of the world at our disposal;
  • ‘Yes’ means we are amenable, making us likeable, welcome and comfortable; and
  • ‘No’ is the greedy friend who will never share. It turns us away.

It’s a pretty grim picture.

The sad thing is, most of us go through life never realizing that what we heard was wrong.

‘No’ is just a boundary line.

It defines the edges between us and the world. It’s what protects us and makes us stronger. It is the word that holds control of our destiny.

With ‘no’ you set the standard for how you wish others to treat you and how much you will allow others to dictate your life.

‘No’ is our possibility and our opportunity for growth, and it is the way that we get things done.

How does ‘No’ do all that and more?

It Saves Your Time

We all only get 24 hours a day, and it’s up to us how we use them. By saying ‘yes’ to every request, the problem immediately becomes apparent:  you just run out of time. Your schedule gets so packed that It can feel like it’s impossible to breathe, much less get any of your work accomplished.

Saying ‘no’ puts your day back into your own hands. It isn’t selfish. It protects one of your most valuable resources — your time. It does not mean you cannot spare an hour for a friend, or take on that extra project, but you should be the one to decide if that’s a valuable use of your day or not.

How do you go about doing that?

You start with an understanding of where your hours go and how you spend or intend to spend your time.

You begin by setting a To-Do list the night before. It establishes how you wish to use your time for the day before you even wake up. It is much easier to protect an existing schedule than to try and guess how much time you have for extra requests.

From there it’s a matter of protecting your time. Be aware of the hours in your day when you’re being asked to do something.

If you’re not sure whether you have time for something new, then there is nothing wrong with asking for some time to consider it. Doing so gives you time to check your schedule and see if you have room for request. 

It Sets Expectations and Avoids Exploitation

When you say ‘yes’ to everything, anything goes.

Being so open to accepting requests means that people know they can ask you for the moon, the sun, and a half dozen stars. It invites exploitation of the worst kind. Someone can easily take advantage of you.

How do you know when people take advantage of you? Check your feelings. If you feel resentful, it is usually a pretty good indicator that people do not appreciate you. Watch out for repeat offenders, those who come time and again with requests, one after another.

In saying ‘no,’ you can take back those expectations and the power that comes with them. You start with setting your boundaries, then maintaining them. When people know you will not work on Saturdays because that’s your day with the family, they will quit asking. They will come to realize that the answer is always going to be ‘no’ on Saturdays.

The world around you becomes aware of your boundaries and knows that you’re a person who sticks to your word. If you say ‘no’ to certain kinds of things, then expectations form.

It becomes evident that there’s no point in even asking you for things if you’re going to say ‘no’. It protects you from frivolous time-wasting requests. People will admire your integrity.

It Helps You Avoid Being Overwhelmed

As mentioned before, the more you say yes, the more packed your schedule gets.

The problem with living under this kind of constant stress is that sooner or later, your body will tell you, “Enough is enough.”

It is where you start seeing problems. Weight gain from grabbing too many quick meals, high blood pressure from constant deadlines, poor sleep at night; all because you’re worried about how you’re going to get it all done.

All this adds up very quickly. Keep it up, and you will soon take a trip to the doctor or even the hospital. While that will undoubtedly clear your schedule, it will not be in the way that you want.

So how do you get on top of things? You start by protecting your commitment level.

We forget to build in a ‘cushion’ just in case the project takes a little longer. Or we convince ourselves that we can do the project in less time than we should. We think we have time in our schedule for that extra project when our To-Do list is trying desperately to tell us otherwise.  You wind up committed to more than you can manage. How do you solve this?

Cut yourself some slack. Be sure to be reasonable in the amount of time that something is going to take.

Sit down and evaluate this honestly. Is this a weekly commitment? Daily? What kind of deadline is already attached? Is it feasible? How long will a project take? Build in some extra in case something comes up.

Also, be reasonable about your current workload. If you already have more than enough to do, then it is probably time to say ‘no.’ After all, you can’t do everything, no matter how hard you try.

Time is your most precious commodity. You cannot replenish it. Once spent, it is gone. As a negotiator, you must know when and how to say ‘no’. At my seminar, you will learn skills to prepare for negotiations. When you use the proper negotiation tools, it eases your task and saves you much time during preparation. Right from the start, you can decide how you will say ‘no’ to requests, and when to say it. It will straight away put you in the driver’s seat.

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