Ever since I left my day job at the end of January the traffic and subscribers on RowdyKittens has doubled. I went from about 500 subscribers at the end of January to over 1,300! Thank you to all the new and long-time RowdyReaders. Thank you for participating in this community and being open to new perspectives. I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for the recent success.
Now you’re probably wondering how this is correlated to saying “no.” With the increase in traffic, I’ve received an incredible amount of email requests. I respond to each email. But I’m learning that at some point I have to say “no”. It’s impossible to be part of every group, write for 10 different blogs or go to a social event every night.
Living a simple lifestyle means limiting my commitments and being aware of how I spend my time. Having focus and prioritizing ensures that I’m pumped about each new project or activity I take on. I want to be effective and consistently produce quality work. Saving no to an activity or project might disappoint people momentarily but in the long term, learning how to say no is an important skill that demonstrates integrity.
How do you say “no” gracefully?
1. Be honest.
If you need to say “no”, be honest. Don’t lie. People are more understanding than we think.
2. Don’t be a jerk.
Be nice and don’t be a jerk when you say “no” to an invitation or project opportunity. Let the individual know you’d be happy to help in the future, but you can’t participate at this time because of A, B or C. Also, consider referring that person to someone who might be able to help.
3. Let go of guilt.
Saying “yes” to an invitation because you might feel guilty is not cool. In the long run it doesn’t help you or the other person/organization involved. Just because you’ve always planned a big baseball tournament, doesn’t mean you have to continue planning it every year.
If you say “yes” to a commitment you’re not passionate about, people can tell. And more than likely your performance will not be the best. Do what you love. Not what others want you to do.
People are not stupid. They can tell if your passion for a project or an activity has faded. Say “no” and let go of your guilt.
How do you decide to say no to a request, if you’re unsure? Here are some strategies I use to make up my mind:
1. Sleep on it.
Maybe you were invited to a big event, but aren’t sure if you should go? Then sleep on it. If you’re feeling unsure about something a good night sleep might do the trick. I know when I’m sleep deprived my decision making skills aren’t stellar. Don’t be rash, be thoughtful.
2. Go for a walking meditation.
I’m a big fan of taking really long walks (between 2 and 3 hours) in the park. I usually bring my camera, a writing pad and my thoughts. I listen to the birds, insects chirping and wind blowing through the trees. Walking clears my mind and helps me focus on the right choice.
3. Listen to your instinct.
Listen to your gut, instincts, 6th sense or whatever you want to call it. The value of instinctive insight has been disregarded by many people. But I think our brain stores and holds onto information we might not be consciously aware of. We have these kinds of feelings and hunches for a reason, but we tend to ignore them when we should be listening.