Say Yes To Saying No

Say Yes To Saying No



By Executive Coach, Karen Nutter


‘Tis the season for …

…juggling far more than anyone should have to do in a lifetime, let alone a month!


There is no question that the holidays bring about both good and bad stress. The lights are nice. Christmas songs bring back fond memories. Seeing the kids laugh and smile is heartwarming. And getting together with family and friends can be fun. But, this is also a time when many businesses are trying to meet quotas and deadlines while also entertaining employees, Board members, and clients. Put all that together with the cleaning, baking, decorating, and shopping, and many people just want to yell “STOP!”


When stress starts hitting the fan, that is the time we most need to step back and excuse ourselves from the hustle and bustle. But, how do you say ‘No” when you’re supposed to do and be so many things for so many people?


One of the keys to having a sane holiday season is learning to say “NO” to the things that don’t add value to your life. Unfortunately, for many people, saying no feels wrong, especially when declining an invitation to a holiday event, but there are some really good reasons to “just say no” now, and throughout the year.

    • It’s authentic.
      Although saying no is hard because we want to be liked, and we don’t want to let someone down, saying yes to something you don’t really want to do can set you up for failure. Doing something you really don’t want to do, or being somewhere you really don’t want to be probably means you aren’t bringing your “A game.” So, those fake smiles and half-hearted handshakes probably won’t help you connect with people like you do when you are truly engaged. And that project you don’t want to be a part of – do you really think you will give it your best effort? Not likely!


    • When you say no to one thing, you are able to say yes to something else.
      While there is always a lot to do during the holidays, the key to keeping our sanity is in finding the balance between “must do’s” “have to’s” and “wanna do’s.” To keep that balance, it’s important to recognize what is really important to us, and what is not. When we properly prioritize our time, based on our internal values, we can put our energy where it is most likely to enrich our lives, rather than drain us. We each have a level of emotional bandwidth that works for us, and when we give too much, we may end up sick, tired, and burnt out. Say no to the things that don’t support what you value at a soul-level… that may require taking a long, honest look at yourself and your values, but it will open you up for more valuable experiences.


  • Value Yourself.
    Your time is valuable. What you want in life is valuable. Having control over your own life is valuable. YOU are valuable! Being nice does not mean you always have to do what others want. The more you try to please everyone else, the more stress you put on yourself. So, value you, value your needs, and get comfortable turning away from people, events, and situations that don’t add positivity to your life.


So, if you’re ready to decline that invitation to a holiday party, but not sure you should, ask yourself a couple questions:

  • Is this something I really want to do?
  • What will I gain or lose if I do this?


Now, if your answers indicate you are ready to say no, just politely decline! Be honest and explain that you have other commitments requiring your time and energy. You may want to offer an alternative, or perhaps ask for a raincheck. No matter how you respond, just focus on being kind while you stand firm in your commitment to yourself and your needs.

Saying no can be a very empowering experience, and one that keeps you on track with your personal and professional values. Are you ready to give it a try? (Say yes!)