Thursday, March 20, 2008

Say it: 'No'

Arati Gurung

Ask me how many times I've gotten myself into trouble simply because I couldn't say no and I'll go blank. I have stopped keeping count. More than often I end up saying yes to every favor I am asked of. I am disgusted with myself when I agree to do something even when I don't want to, I hate it when I just sit there nodding my dumb little head.I don't know what's wrong with me. My best friend says there could be a million reasons why I do what I do : it could be my way of trying to be a 'good person' by wanting to help everyone, or it could be my want of trying to keeping up to the high levels of perfection I have set for myself. He advises me that I don't have to say 'yes' to everything to be perfect, on the contrary, he says the most perfect people we see and read about say 'no' to almost everything that comes their way, that's how they become perfect - if there is any such thing as perfection.I know he's right, because even when I badly want to decline a request for help, I can't make myself say no. But I am working on it. Just last month I said a flat 'No' to a job that was to pay me seventy grand per month. You think I'm stupid? Well, I had my reasons and I don't regret the decision one bit - it took some time to say it but I managed to say 'No'. I just find it interesting to see people's expressions when I tell them about it! Getting back to learning how to say 'no', the first thing we have to understand is that the word can actually help a lot of people including us! Taking up additional responsibility that you're not interested in or don't have the time for, can result to a mediocre job that wouldn't benefit anyone. If you continue doing such favors you might even lose your own image as a professional.I did a search on how to say 'No' in the best possible way and here's what I found - the truth being very bitter: there's no better way to say no than 'NO”. Ramona Creel says it best with her 18 lines, which we can use to save us from unwanted headaches. Read on.

1) I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF SEVERAL PROJECTS: Let people know when you have accepted other responsibilities, no need to make excuses if you don't have any free time. No one will fault you for having already filled your plate.

2) I AM NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THAT: You might be uncomfortable with any of a number of issues, the people involved, the type of work, the morale implications, etc. This is a very respectful way to avoid a sticky situation.

3) I AM NOT TAKING ON ANY NEW RESPONSIBILITIES: You aren't saying that you will never help out again, just that you feel your schedule is as full as you would like now. Understanding your limits is a talent to be expected.

4) I AM NOT THE MOST QUALIFIED PERSON FOR THE JOB: If you don't feel that you have adequate skills, it's okay to say so. It's better to admit your limitations up front.

5) I DO NOT ENJOY THAT KIND OF WORK: Life isn't about drudgery -- if you don't enjoy it, why do it? Don't be afraid to let someone know you just don't want to do it. Someone else is bound to enjoy the work you don't.

6) I DO NOT HAVE ANY MORE ROOM IN MY CALENDAR: Be honest if your schedule is filled. "Filled" doesn't have to mean really filled. Know when you are scheduled as much as you are willing and stop.

7) I HATE TO SPLIT MY ATTENTION AMONG PROJECTS: Let people know that you want to do a good job for them but you can't when your focus is too divided or splintered. You will be more effective if you focus on one project at a time.

8) I HAVE ANOTHER COMMITMENT: It doesn't matter what the commitment is, it can even simply be time to yourself or with friends or family. You don't have to justify -- you simply aren't available.

9) I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WITH THAT: Volunteering shouldn't mean learning an entirely new set of skills. Suggest that they find someone who has experience in that area, or offer to help out with something that you already know how to do.

10) I KNOW YOU WILL DO A WONDERFUL JOB YOURSELF: People often ask for help because they doubt their own abilities, let them know that you have confidence they will succeed. You are actually doing them a favor in the long run.

11) I NEED TO FOCUS MORE ON MY PERSONAL LIFE: Don't be ashamed of wanting to spend time with your family, having a strong family is an important priority in and of itself. Be willing to put your personal needs first.

12) I NEED TO FOCUS ON MY CAREER RIGHT NOW: Often, you have to focus your energies on a work-related task, you may have to give up some civic or community duties. If you don't do it, someone else will take on the task.

13) I NEED TO LEAVE SOME FREE TIME FOR MYSELF: It's okay to be selfish -- in a good way! Treat your personal time like any other appointment. Block off time in your calendar and guard it with your life.

14) I WOULD RATHER DECLINE THAN DO A MEDIOCRE JOB: Know when you aren't going to be able to deliver a quality product. The reason doesn't matter -- not enough time, wrong skills, etc. whatever the reason is enough for turning a request down.

15) I WOULD RATHER HELP OUT WITH ANOTHER TASK: Saying no doesn't mean that you can't help at all. If someone asks you to do something you really despise, refuse and then offer to help with something you find more enjoyable.

16) LET ME HOOK YOU UP WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN DO IT: If you aren't available to help out, offer another qualified resource helping to connect people is a valuable service to offer. Make sure the person you refer will represent you well.

17) NO: Sometimes it's okay to just say no! Just say it in a way that expresses respect and courtesy. Leave the door open for good relations.

18) NOT RIGHT NOW, BUT I CAN DO IT LATER: If you really want to help but don't have time, say so. Offer to help at a later time or date. If they can't wait for you, they'll find someone else.

19) SOME THINGS HAVE COME UP THAT NEED MY ATTENTION: Unexpected things happen that throw your schedule off. Accept that you may need to make a few adjustments. It is temporary and you will have more time when life stabilizes.

20) THIS REALLY IS NOT MY STRONG SUIT: It's okay to admit your limitations. Knowing what you can handle and what you can't is a skill. Your time will be more efficiently spent on something you do well.Remember many a times a “Yes” = Stress. Keep your tasks and projects manageable. If you're overloaded, make a note of it and let people know; there is nothing wrong with trying to keep your projects and tasks manageable. Stick to your plan, if saying yes to something throws your plan to get something done way off, make sure you question if it's worth it.

That's what the experts advise and that has been my magic mantra ever since. It is not until we can say 'no', that our 'yes' means 'yes', and our 'no' means 'no'.I have it pasted on the first page of my diary. You try it too. Life has become much more enjoyable.

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aAkaR said...

it's nice...

nabink said...

Saying "no" takes a lot of energy. But once you can say it, it saves a lot!


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