Do you struggle to say No, even when you want to?



A few of my clients struggle with saying ‘No’, and burden themselves with responsibilities they are not ready for. This made me realize it is time to spread some awareness around this issue. It is true that most of us do experience a level of discomfort to say no because we like to showcase ourselves as cooperative and friendly individuals, especially in the work environment. It is worse for people who are in their early careers. Their lack of experience contributes to their low self-esteem and fear of being ostracized at the workplace, leads to these individuals agreeing to things they are not ready for. Being aware of the situations where your colleagues take advantage of you and knowing the best way to say no can help your career. Successful business people who want to accumulate every project offer that they receive are also prey to this situation. Prioritizing projects and learning to say no to a certain project is difficult for some and makes them uncomfortable. None of these can replace good coaching sessions but here are my tips for these individuals:

  1. Awareness:

Being aware of your strengths is a great way to boost your confidence and reliability. Working on your communication skills will also help enhance your poise and grow your network. Working on your nonverbal communication skills are also an important part of how your stakeholders perceive you. Your posture and movements can reveal a lot about you even without you saying much. Lately, I have been approached by a few clients who are interested in improving their communication skills, to gain a more powerful presence in front of their stakeholders. (I commend them)

  1. Prioritize:

Do not underestimate the power of listing down your responsibilities. I have been told by more than a few of my clients that they have a list in their head but when I coach them to write down their list on a piece of paper or on a whiteboard it gives them a whole new perspective on their life. Business people appreciate this the most as it helps them prioritize various projects. Their inability to say no to a project may get it in the way of a larger and more profitable project which may subsequently affect their profit margin.

  1. Challenge yourself:

You don’t have to live your life every day as you have lived in the past. Challenge yourself to do something you have never done before, something very different, get out of the norm, take a risk, speak up if you are not much of a speaker, and remember to practice your gig before you do it. Feel brave, don’t worry about embarrassing yourself. Even if you do embarrass yourself, pat your back for taking a brave step.

  1. Take your time, don’t rush into decisions:

If you are made an offer, no matter how tempting the offer seems, you do not have to reply immediately. You could always respond with a “Thank you so much for thinking about me. I will surely get back to you in…” or “This is big, and I would like some time for this” You could also gracefully turn an offer down with “I am tied up with another project that is taking up my time, if things slow down and if anything changes, I will surely let you know” and remember to always ask for help when you find yourself in a difficult situation.

Hamna Siddique is a coach specializing in life and business mindset coaching.

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