How to say no – 3 simple tips that can change your life

Saying NO

Not now...

If your life is hectic, if you are so up to your ears in work and home commitments that you can’t even think straight. If paperwork, meetings and projects keep piling up,  and you feel like you can’t cope, then you may need to learn to say no.

If you spend most of your time doing things for others and forget to take care of yourself, then your self -esteem and confidence may be suffering as a result.

Learning to say NO at the right time and in the right manner can literally turn around your life.

Not so long ago I coached a successful entrepreneur, whose life was in a right mess. Her business was doing well despite the recession, but her marriage was in tatters, she barely got to see her kids, she couldn’t sleep at night and during the day her head was all over the place.

She was always late for appointments and meetings yet she kept scheduling more  and more into her diary. She said yes to everyone and everything. Except her husband, her kids and herself.

She was a perfectionist who thought no one could get things done as well as she could, and so she took on a ridiculous work load. She had people working for her but she did her job and everyone else’s too. Yet she was unknowingly neglecting her family, and her own physical and mental health were a time bomb about to explode.

This superwoman broke down in tears on our first session when she realized that she was destroying the most important things in her life: her family, and herself! What would her family do if something happened to her as a result of all the stress she put herself under?

Then, I introduced her to the word NO. At first she had trouble saying it. She thought if she said no to people,  theywould think she was rude or selfish. She was shocked to learn that  when you say no assertively and in the right manner, people actually respect you more.

When I taught her different ways to say no to people respectfully and gracefully, her face lit up like she’d just found out a treasure! After just a few weeks of putting these into practice, especially in her business, she had transformed into a completely new, more confident, more relaxed and happier person. In our coaching sessions, she  also learnt how to run her business more effectively, so she was able to spend more time with her family. And she was loving it too!

Here is 3 simple ways to say no  that completely turned around my client’s life for the better:


For example: I can’t attend that meeting because I promised my kids I’d take them to the cinema tonight.  It is                                          not esssential that I attend that meeting as I can sort that issue over the phone tomorrow.


For example: I am sorry. I can’t take this call right now. But I will call them later/ email them later/ get                                           my secretary to call them

  • NO + DELAY

For example: Let me think about it and i will get back to you in 5 minutes (this will buy you time so you can

decide if what you are asked to do is actually important for you right now or if you want to say no.

There are many other ways  in which you can allow yourself to say no and make it work for you and for others too.

When you take time to decide what your priorities are in life and you choose to stick by your decision, you will find it easier and even liberating to say no when necessary.

But like everything else in life, the more you practise the better you become at it!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: