Discussion: Learning to say No
As I chat with other small business owners, I realize that many of us have a very similar complaint. This is a complaint that we are bringing upon ourselves, but fixing this issue is sometimes painful and uncomfortable.
The issue I’m speaking of is the ability to simply say “NO.” It’s true, just the sound of this small 2 letter word sometimes promotes a negative reaction, but why?
As I really stop to reflect on this word, it’s actually pretty power-packed. It’s such a simple word to pronounce and spell, in fact even babies and toddlers use this word quite well. So why do we as adults, and especially business owners have a hard time saying NO?
Here are some possible reasons:
1) Fear of losing an opportunity.
Perhaps you are worried that saying no means closing doors or losing a customer. For example, I have a client who comes in 10 minutes late to her appointment, but wants a full hour session because she’s having a “bad” day… saying no would be difficult, but my time needs to be respected and valued too.
2) Fear of conflict.
I HATE conflict, so I will do everything in my power to avoid it.
3) Fear of what others may think of you.
We don’t like to admit it but let’s be honest, we really do care what others think of us. It doesn’t feel good to be portrayed as the mean business owner who won’t refund money for a no-show appointment. We all pick our battles when running a business, but being the “mean” person is difficult at times.
4) Being a kind soul who wants to save the world.
The hardest thing in the world is to say no to someone in need. When donating your time or service to someone in need, please remember to find balance. We can’t tell EVERYONE no.. and we can’t tell EVERYONE yes. If we let everyone postdate checks, our business would fail, however, if we practice balance in “paying it forward” karma will hopefully bless us.
I relate to every one of these scenarios. I feel like this whole subject can be summed up in one word: FEAR. We get so caught up in being afraid of what MIGHT happen, that we sell ourselves short, we cut our time short, we make unwise business and personal decisions because we’re simply afraid of the word no and how others might react to it.
Honor yourself. Honor your feelings and practice saying No. I’ve started saying no over the past couple of months and I feel like a weight has been lifted. I feel like I respect myself more than I ever have, and I’m gaining more confidence every day. Try it. Even if you have to practice in a mirror, try it. Stop putting everyone else’s needs and wants before yours, simply say NO.