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How To Get Better At Saying "NO"!

Tyler Lafleur Dec 12, 2018



“If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.” - Derek Sivers


We should all take a page out of Derek Sivers book of wisdom above, but the sad truth is that we simply say "yes" to too many things.

Whether it is an invite to a party or gathering with friends when we would rather sit at home and watch Netflix, or when you boss or co-workers seem to always have that "one little favor" to ask at the end of the work day. 

Bottomline is that we could all use some practice with saying "No" to more things that do not improve our lives nor bring us joy in the moment.




So, how do you say "no" to the things that do not further your cause and purpose in this world, nor make you a better person in general?


Well, the first step is figuring out WHY you would say "yes" in the first place:


  • Are you simply trying to be nice?
  • Do you want to be seen as "helpful" or a "team player"?
  • Are you afraid of the person's reaction? 
  • Or is your default simply to say "yes" before you even think?

The answer to these questions aren't nearly as important as getting you to simply think prior to speaking.


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Now that we have got that out of the way, let's dive in to how to get better at telling others "no" and practicing setting up our long lost boundaries with our inner peace:


1. If this is a work related problem or request, first ask more questions to determine if this request will relieve a symptom of the problem or the actual problem itself.


Huge difference between these two. Most co-workers (and even managers for that matter) will simply delegate a solution to the symptom of the problem. But leaders know that they must first define the problem before agreeing to perform a task to tackle it. 


2. Mentally switch your default response to "no".

Instead of jumping to a "yes" to every request, internally tell yourself "no" then ask more questions around the "no". 

    • Do I really feel like doing this?
    • What are the benefits to them AND to me? 
    • How much time will this actually take?


3. Prior to responding, assess your Return On Attention if you say "yes".

Most of us are familiar with "Return On Investment", but when it comes to our time during the day, we rarely determine what our return on giving our attention to something is. Whether that is preparing a meal, or mindless scrolling social media. But the main premise to tackle here is taking the time to analyze what this particular activity will return for the amount of time and attention you give it. If it is worth it, go for it. If not, then simply say that you cannot commit to that at this moment. Easy peezy! Don't over think it.

And before we go, if being direct and blunt with your communication is not your style, perhaps we could give you are few ways of saying "no" without having to be so curt. 

Try using these phrases the next time you find yourself having just analyzed that the request is not worth your Return On Attention:

  • "I can't commit to that at this time."
  • "I'm sorry, I have allocated most of my time to other endeavors and priorities."
  • “Thank you for asking, but that isn’t going to work out for me.”
  • “Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support! I’m sorry I’m not able to help you at this time.”

Or if you enjoy being much more direct and blatant with your responses and about your intentions, Oxford has provided some real gems for responses, HERE.

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About Us

We believe that systems integration is a fundamental component to leveraging new and well established technologies against operational problems that exist within the upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas sectors.


We believe that systems integration is a fundamental component to leveraging new and well established technologies against operational problems that exist within the upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas sectors.


Our objective is to be a trusted service provider capable of both integrating control systems, industrial networks, SCADA systems and Decision Support Systems and integrating the Real-Time and Custody Transfer Data into the Enterprise.