Sometimes saying “no” is the kind thing. Sometimes it’s the essential thing.

For many of us, it’s often the hardest thing.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how many times we say “yes” when we’d be better off saying “no.”

  • A friend longs for privacy when multiple family members are working from home. She is irritable about her lack of privacy yet it takes her a few weeks to indicate to her family she needs this.
  • A client agrees to take on every task that’s requested of her at work and cannot produce quality work when slammed to this extent. She is stressed, sleeping poorly and feels like she’s drowning. But people expect me to do it all, she explains.
  • A neighbor agrees to watch another neighbor’s pet rabbit while the family is away for a week. I didn’t want to, she tells me, but I didn’t know how to say “no.”

 Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

We say “yes” it because it’s easier (less pushback). We do it because we’re expected to (or expect ourselves to). We do it because we don’t want to disappoint someone (deal with what we assume will be disappointment).

But what if saying “no” is an act of love? If you’re skeptical, consider this…

When we say no, we set a boundary that honors ourselves.

Saying “no” is a referendum on who we are and who we want to be.

For a meta-version of the power of saying “no,” we need look no further than the recent unforeseen results in U.S. midterms. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, we saw that pollsters and media said one thing, and voters said another. To my mind, the outcome is a referendum on saying “no.” The majority said (mostly) “no” to extreme candidates and found a collective healthier boundary through voting. People came out in record numbers to choose civility, sovereignty and continuity of a democratic system.

Check-In: Consider when you say “yes,” yet what you really want to say is “no.”
How does it make you feel?

Leading True Powerful Question– What is ONE thing you will say “no” to? How will that serve you?

GG’s Favorites:

Tool I’m sharing: It’s that time of year. Take intentional action with this customized power tool my coaching clients love.     

Quote I’m pondering: “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”–Freya Stark, The Journey’s Echo

What I’m reading: Heating and Cooling: 52 Micro Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly. From the cover which features a mostly eaten popsicle, to the fascinating kernels of life, Fennelly distills the everyday with candor, humility, and humor.

What I’m streaming: Midnight at the Pera Palace on Netflix. A journalist is thrust into the past and must stop a plot from unfolding that could change the fate of modern Turkey. My husband and I enjoyed the intrigue and unlikely allies, the romp through time.

What I’m Listening to: Design Matters with Debbie Millman, in conversation with Susan Cain, #1 NYT Best-selling author of Quiet and Bittersweet

Visit one of the most popular blogs on how to set healthy boundaries from the archives.