The Art of Saying NO


Oftentimes, we find ourselves in sticky situations we can’t get out of. And in that moment, we reflect at how we got there. At which point did we fall into the trap of being committed to doing something we don’t really want to do?

You see, I’m a firm believer that your skills surpass any other material possession. It’s your skill and talent that people can’t take away from you. However, that doesn’t mean your skills can’t be exploited. Most of the time, this exploitation comes in the form of “favors.” And what wretched person are you to decline the honor of doing someone a favor? Well, guess what… you’re entitled to be “wretched” at times – if it means respecting your own time and protecting the skills you’ve worked hard to perfect.

It’s way too familiar: friends, colleagues, family always reaching out to you (most of the time, just out of the blue) to ask you a favor. These so-called favors are sprinkled with sweet words of “please” plus false encouragement and unnecessary ego boosts (“I came to you because you’re the best at this!” OH REALLY NOW.)

Being the people-pleaser that I am, I’ve found it really difficult to say no. Even when I didn’t have that much time, I said yes just so I wouldn’t let people down. But then, when there were too many commitments, when I had too much on my plate, I felt burned out – which was affecting my performance in the commitments that actually needed my attention (i.e., my job). The thing with me was that I worked at home for such a long time, and I feel like people still couldn’t grasp the concept that working from home is reallegit work (in that I actually need to get stuff done). “Why are you always on social media, then, if you’re really that busy?” Uhm, sorry to burst your bubble, but I work with social media, so I have to be there.

Saying no more often relieves us of the stress unwanted and unnecessary (extra) work gives us. Saying no to doing things for others means saying yes to radical self-care. You’re not a horrible person for turning down favors; you’re a wonderful person for making sure your energy and talents are conserved so you can help the people who truly need what you have to offer, and so you can reap the goals your hustle deserves.

Your skills are your ammunition. Don’t run out of bullets shooting at rubber ducks at the circus when you’ll eventually need them to shoot the stars down. Be clear with your purpose. Stop exhausting your talents on doing things for other people – people who wouldn’t even give you the time of day once you’ve done what they’ve asked you to do.

If you’re having second thoughts, know that you can always sleep on it. If you don’t feel comfortable saying no right off the bat, then feel free to take your time. Weigh the pros and cons if you will.

Saying no is not a selfish act. It’s just looking after yourself and being clear on what you have time for. We all have limited time; time that we need to protect.

To end this short rant-like post, I would like to remind you of this: NO is a complete sentence in itself. Don’t feel the need to explain yourself or say sorry for not being able to do the things you were really not meant to do in the first place. Be firm in your stand. Remember, your skills shouldn’t go on the market at a discount (worse yet, for free). You are a talented individual who works hard to hone your craft. Keep your eye on the finish line; quit taking those distracting stopovers.




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