How to stop taking on other people’s stuff and start saying no

This week I spent a couple of days in London at a conference, and whilst I was there I got chatting to a lovely lady who said to me:

‘My biggest problem is I can’t say no and I take on far too much!’

In that moment, 2 people who were next to us (we were in the queue for a cuppa) said:

‘Yeah, that’s me too!’

Can you relate?

I really could!!

I was that person!

I used to have a HUGE problem saying no and taking too much on.

So that’s what we’re talking about today…watch the video here

You see when I was a kid I was told to help people – because my mum was a ‘helper’. She’d always be rushing round doing things for other people under the banner of ‘being helpful’ and so naturally I did the same.

This carried on through the first part of my career and I remember my to do list being a mile and a half long because of this.

Then one day I had a light bulb moment when I thought…

‘What about me?’

And I realised that whilst I was taking on too much I was neglecting myself…and sooner or later I was going to suffer.

So I completely switched my mindset about saying no, and what ‘being helpful’ now meant to me.

Here’s what I did:

1. I wrote a list with 2 columns. Column 1 was – Need to do (this included, work things, and things at home that had to happen) and column 2 was Want to Do – these included hobbies, spending time with family, friends, personal aspirations and goals.

2) I then put a tick next to all the things that I didn’t have time to do (no prizes for guessing that there were a lot of ticks on that list, and yes they were all in the want to do column! – Another big wake up call!

3) I changed my criteria for what was now going to be a Yes. This was – If it fit into one of the columns eg I needed to do it, or I wanted to do it – it was a yes. If not, it was a no. (Word of warning here – sometimes my brain would try and convince me that I needed to do it – this was just my old habit talking…so if this happens to you, challenge your own thinking and ask yourself why?!

4) I practiced saying no. Now, this was actually the hardest part, and it really triggered me at first. I’d get this feeling that I should say yes, after all if I didn’t do it, who would? and so on.

But I kept at it and found a way that suited me. ‘Sorry, I can’t help with that.‘ worked wonders…you can add on a reason if you want at the end, but often that was enough.

And here’s what I discovered.

  • No-one thought any less of me. No-one. They just said – ‘OK’ and carried on with their lives.
  • I got more done – and I mean A-LOT more done!
  • And…I had more headspace and was less stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated – because I realised that most of the things that I was saying YES to, I didn’t actually want to do in the first place.

So, over to you…

I’d love to know – what’s your biggest problem when it comes to saying no?

Let me know by leaving a comment

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15585

JOIN THE LEADERSHIP MASTERCLASS

Every month I deliver a FREE Masterclass especially for leaders just like you. They're really popular, packed with info, and loads of fun.

 

To join in all you need to do is subscribe here and you'll be put straight on the invitation list.

FREE WORKBOOK

Give me More Time in My Day

FREE WORKBOOK

I want to Reach my Leadership Potential

RECLAIM YOUR DAY

7 common traps that are costing you time and energy

You have Successfully Subscribed!