How to Say No to Get to Yes

Saying ‘No’ is okay. It eases my guilt and resentment, frees my time and I only commit to what I want and need to in my life” said my client as we wrapped up our coaching this month. She moved from a place of resentment, disappointment and frustration and being overwhelmed in virtually all aspects of her life, romantic, work, family and friends. She just operated under the assumption that she could not say now, because everyone needed her to do it and that no one else could or would do it. Turns out these were false assumptions and were making her life miserable – who needs that.

So what made the difference for her? Two things.

1. She got honest with herself and in turn was honest with others.

2. She learned the power of a positive no.

What is a Positive No? Saying “no” and still getting to “yes” by becoming very clear about what you are saying no to in order to say yes to something else, nicely. William Ury is the man behind the “Power of a Positive No: Save the Deal, Save the Relationship and  Still Say No.” It is a wonderful down to earth book that I recommend to pretty much everyone I know.

Here are the four things my client did to get to her Positive No’s.

1. Decided what was most important to her ability to be her best self- what sustains her ability to be a supportive wife, mother, colleague daughter and friend. In short she became very clear about her most fundamental needs and values.

2. She was clear with herself about what she was saying no to in order to say yes to her fundamental needs and values.

3. She was clear with others as saying no to and what, and what she would or could do in terms of requests from others.

4. Respected the same in the other people in her life, her husband, her daughter, colleagues, boss, clients, friends and family.

5. She celebrates what the choices has made over the past 3 months have given her- a sense of peace, a desire to say yes and be support where and when she knows she can contribute willing, a greater sense of well-being and balance. It has also afforded her the space to move forward with some life milestones, like completing her first children’s book.


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