Mindset + Habits

Say No and Let Go: Learn to Say No with Confidence and Grace

January 30, 2024

I’m Cherylanne.
I am the trusted advisor ambitious women want in their corner to help them fully embody their potential.
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Have you ever found yourself saying yes when your heart was screaming no? This internal conflict, where your desires clash with your spoken words, can lead to so much stress. 

Saying no is an essential skill that many people find difficult so I want to explore the complexities here, because learning to say no is really important. In fact, I’m going to give you a straightforward script to confidently and gracefully decline when you need to. 

Why is it so hard to say no? Here are three big reasons.

  1. Indecisiveness: Decision-making challenges often result in vague responses like “not today” instead of a clear no. This lack of clarity in setting boundaries can hinder your ability to decline gracefully.
  2. Overestimating Personal Capacity: The eagerness to please can lead to overcommitting and underestimating the actual time and energy available. Taking some time to figure out and acknowledge your personal capacity is crucial for preventing overload.
  3. Fear of Reaction: Anticipating negative reactions, such as disappointment or loss of respect, often prevents us from saying no. We want to protect our relationships and often feel a societal push to please everyone who needs something from us.

So now we know the causes – did you see yourself in any of these? I know a lot of us resonate with at least one of these. The next step is to develop a simple script for saying no gracefully. It involves four main pieces:

  1. Open with Gratitude: Expressing thanks for the opportunity sets a positive tone for the conversation. “Thanks for thinking of me” or “I appreciate you reaching out”
  2. Acknowledge the Request: Show understanding and respect by summarizing or repeating their request. “Sounds like you’re looking for someone who has the capacity to manage this project with excellence” or “I understand you’re interested in gathering volunteers for this community project.” 
  3. Give a Clear No: Learn to be decisive and avoid leaving room for negotiation. Examples include, “I’m afraid I have to say no” or “Regrettably, I need to decline.”
  4. Close with Grace: Ending the interaction positively, whether by offering alternatives or expressing well wishes, is crucial. “This organization is important to me and I so appreciate you reaching out.”

Ok, so now you’ve said no. Congratulations! What now? There are two main things to keep in mind after the “no.”

  1. Act Normal: Avoid making future interactions awkward; saying no is a normal part of life.
  2. Avoiding Over-Explaining: Learn when and how much to share about your decision-making process. You seriously don’t have to tell everyone all the details about why you’re saying no. It’s your decision.

Mastering the art of saying no empowers you to set boundaries and lead a more balanced life. As you practice this script (or modify it in a way that works for you), you’ll find that saying no can be truly transformative.

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