This topic is very near and dear to my heart because it's something I have had to work hard on.
What I've discovered is it's not only possible to learn how to say no, you can learn how to do this without feeling guilty with the help of one foundational practice.
Let's start by talking about what gets in the way of saying no for most people...
Take a moment and think about the last time you found yourself doing something that you know you should have said no to. It could be a project, a client, a personal, social event, like a party. Think back to that time and recall what got in the way of you saying no.
I bet you your answer sounds something like, "I felt bad" or "I didn't want to disappoint". Am I right? Those tend to be the main reasons many people saying yes to shit that they hate or why they spend their precious time and energy on things that don't actually serve their bigger picture vision and goals.
The cost of saying yes when we actually want to say no is huge.
Yes, is the most expensive word in the English language. When we start to get that, we start to understand the value of saying no. When you say no to something, that actually allows you to say yes to something else.
So, we could have a big conversation here around why it is that people tend to say yes when they want to say no, but from my experience, most the time, it's rooted in some kind of fear. Either fear of missing out, fear of not being liked, fear of not belonging. There's a ton of different types of fears that might be at the root for you around why it's hard for you to say no. Now that's an important exploration to go down and to look at, but that's not what we're going to do here.
What we're going to do here is talk about actually how to choose from this point something different. The best and easiest way to make powerful choices is when we understand what our choices are. If we're saying no to something, what are we saying yes to?
That is the key to saying no without feeling guilty. When you understand what your yes's are in your life, then saying no becomes so much easier.
So, what do we say yes to? The things that are in alignment with your values.
Values are such an interesting conversation to me because when I ask people, do you know what your values are, for the most part, people kind of give me a lukewarm answer, like, "Yeah, kinda, sort of," but it's not this like, "Oh, yeah! I'm super clear. I know them, and I know how they're lived in my life."
That is the kind of clarity you want to get to when it comes to your values because when you're clear, when you know what it feels like to be living in your values, when you're crystal clear on the things that need to be getting your precious time and energy, it will be so much easier to say no to the things that aren't in alignment with who you are, who want to be in the world, and the type of work that you want to be doing in the world.
I want to share a piece of feedback that I got from one of my clients after doing this work because as soon as he shared it with me, I was like, "that is exactly why we do this work!".
"Working with my values has wholly transformed my decision making process. Rather than focusing on the pros and the cons to make difficult decisions, I focus on my values. I ask myself, 'Does this allow me to live in my values of XY and Z, whatever they might be at that time?' And the pros and the cons are subjective, so when I used to make decisions based on that, it was very subjective, but my value are objective. When I say yes or no based on my values, I have little to no regret."
This is the kind of game-changing power that comes along with knowing and really embodying your values. The whole feeling guilty thing, well, it just disappears because you know what your choices are, and you know what you're fighting for.
If you're saying yes to this party that you don't really want to go to, or a client that really isn't in alignment with the type of work that you want to do, what you're actually doing is saying no to the things that matter to you most, the things that you want to take a stand for and be known for in the world. And that cost is often way too high for most people to stomach.
Okay, so now you know that values are the access point to being able to say no without feeling guilty but you can't get there without really knowing what your values are.
That's why I want to share with you one of the most important practices I start with all of my coaching clients, and that is a Values Discovery Process.
Using the link below, you can get access to the exact same intro to values process I use with my clients to get started. If you need a little help working through the workbook you can also check out the video I've done on How To Find Your Values.
So before heading off, take one second to write in the comments below one value that you're committed to saying yes to.
Download Your Copy Of My Values Discovery Workbook: https://www.winning.academy/values-discovery-workbook/
Here’s to more soul nourishing yes’s!
Kristin Constable, Whole Life Leadership + Business Coach