How to Say No

As a side-hustle freelancer and professional people-pleaser, the word “no” isn’t a big part of my vocabulary.

But I’m here to tell you, if you want to be sane enough to enjoy your successes – learn how to say no.

So many of us are people-pleasers too, right? By day, I’m a Registered Nurse. My entire career is based on helping others and well, you guessed it, people-pleasing.

In my freelance business, I want to please all of my clients. I want to find out what they want and deliver even more than they asked for. In my job, I want to take on every project, and I want to kill it in everything I do.

I’m going to share something here that my boyfriend told me when we first started dating [it may have been one of my favorite things he has ever said to me], and I’ve found it to be applicable to so many things.

He said:

“Just because you can do everything (alone), doesn’t mean you should have to.”

I love being Wonder Woman, don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of my multi-tasking, my ability to meet ridiculous deadlines, and my (sometimes annoying) hyper-organization.

But I’m learning to say no.

I’m finding that the rush of saying no is just as exciting as saying yes. Saying no means I have more time to do the things I truly want to do, like reading, working on The Book, walking my monsters, or finally working on my 2018 scrapbook while we’re still in 2019…

It’s a rush realizing my weekends can really be restful, my head can really be clear, and all those things on my “want to do” list can really happen.

Because I know I’m not alone, here are my tips for learning how to say no:

Figure out your priorities.

Note: I said your. Not your family’s, not your husband’s, not your boss’s. Your priorities. Your priority might be more time with your family, but that’s still your decision. That’s how you want to spend more of your time. If your priority is to spend more time marketing your side-hustle business, then by all means say YES to those late-night SEO research sessions.

Know your worth, then add tax.

We’ve all seen the quote floating around on social media – and I wish I could give credit to whoever came up with it. Because it’s wonderful. Whether it’s determining rates for your side business or how many overtime hours you’re going to put in this week… know your worth. Determine what that bottom line is for you, and stick to it. Don’t leave it up to others to tell you what your worth is either, that’s all you, baby.

Avoid the snap decisions.

I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of the “reflexive yes”. Whatever it was, I’d take it on. ‘I’ll figure it out later,’ I would tell myself – knowing full well I wouldn’t have time for it and I would end up regretting that simple one-syllable word. If you have the option, take some time between the ask and your response. Even five minutes can be beneficial. Those five minutes you can reflect on whether or not this fits in your priorities, if it is a reasonable ask (remember that whole self-worth thing?), and if it’s something meaningful to you. Sometimes we take things on with minimal reward or return on investment, but we do it because it is meaningful to us. That’s okay! What’s the point of a life full of meaninglessness experiences?

Ask yourself why.

Are you saying yes because you want to impress your boss? Are you doing it because you have a real interest in the project? Are you saying yes because you need the money? There are a multitude of reasons why we take on projects or jobs. Maybe you have an opportunity to work with a highly respected client, and it’s important to you to build a relationship with them. Maybe you feel passionate about a certain project and want to be a part of it. Whatever your “why” is, figure it out and stick to it. If you’re struggling to come up with a reason why – consider saying no.

What are your tips for saying NO?

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