Episode from the podcastThe Boss Hat with Barbara Nixon

Episode 6 - The Boss

Released Friday, 15th January 2016
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Hi everyone – thanks for listening today. Hope things are great with you.

Today we’re going to be chatting about something which I know loads of you have struggled with at some point or another – or you may still struggle with – and that’s being able to say no.

I know some of you are nodding at me right now.

Saying no can be incredibly difficult. After all, we’re conditioned to say yes, and be helpful and supportive and lend a hand, and we might feel incredibly guilty if we say no to someone like we’re not being all of those things – or we wonder what the other person is thinking about us….and all of this is happening super fast in your head and before you know it you’ve agreed to do something you really don’t want to do, that’s going to take up your time and you’re going to beat yourself up about it afterwards. Not only that you’re probably not going to put your all into it, as you really don’t want to do it. You’re not motivated. So, if you’re not going to do it with 100% effort, why are you doing it at all?

As I’m talking about this a silly story comes into my mind of my kids. I’ve got 4 kids. As I’m recording this they range from my eldest being 19 to my youngest being 7 and the 2 in between are almost 17 and 16. Anyway, at some point or another they’ve had jobs to do round the house – and I don’t know whether you’ve ever had anything to do with teenagers but they’re masters of saying no! When they don’t want to do it, they just say no!

Great for them, but not always great for us. Anyway, for them it doesn’t work so well cos we pull rank and make them do their jobs round the house anyway. We’re not talking anything major, just things like taking out the recycling, or loading the dishwasher. Anyway, you can bet anything you like that whenever they’re doing a job that they really don’t want to do – they do it really badly – cos they’re just not motivated. Their hearts just not in it, and as adults we’re really no different.

You go through the motions but deep down inside you’re having a good old moan about it and being really annoyed at yourself for getting into this situation.

But here’s the thing. There’s really no one else to blame. We got asked, and we said yes. That’s it the bottom line right there. It’s not the other persons fault for asking you. It’s our fault for saying yes. So, how do we say no with confidence?

Right – here are my 3 tips for saying no and feeling ok about it.

  1. Be really clear about what you want to achieve

By understanding exactly what you want to achieve whether that’s for the day; the week; the month or even the year – you’ll be able to pin point exactly what you need to do in order to achieve those goals. Everything else that you get asked to do that fall out of this – and doesn’t help you achieve your goals are a no. Maybe they’re not a no forever, but a no for right now. Either way, you’ve only got a certain amount of time and if you don’t want to do something, or you don’t see the value in it, or more importantly you won’t put your all into it, then it’s a no and you can easily explain why.

  1. Say no without saying no

If it’s the word no that you get hung up about – there are ways to say no without actually saying the word no. For example – you could say – I’d love to help you with that, but I’m really busy with this at the moment – sorry. See how that goes? You might be thinking that’s fine, but how do I use that tactic with my boss? How about this…I’d love to help with that, but I’ve got loads on at the moment. Are you happy for me to drop this so I can do that for you? Or can you tell me what I should stop doing so I can do that?

You get the idea. Say no without saying no.

  1. And tip number 3 is to put yourself in the other persons shoes

If you were asking someone to do something – and they genuinely couldn’t do it – would you be OK with that? Chances are you would be, especially if they explained their situation to you. I know that we’re all busy and we’ve all got something going on- so someone saying no to me is OK. I’d rather they say no then try and do it and get stressed over it, or not want to do it, and maybe even let me down later. If I really wanted them to help then I’d go on to explain why…and I’d try to sell it to them. That’s where some negotiation would come in…and you could decide whether you’re willing to help out on this occasion. Otherwise – stick to your guns cos the other person is probably going to be alright with it.

So – just to re-iterate these tips again.

  1. Be really clear about what you want to achieve. Anything else that falls outside of this is a clear no.

  2. Say no without saying the words no.

  3. Put yourself in the other persons shoes chances are they won’t actually mind you saying no at all.

I’d love to know your tips for saying no. Please share by leaving a comment over at barbaranixon.co.uk and I’ll see you next time.

Have a great week.