In recognition of October being National Women’s Small Business Month, we are discussing something many women — especially female entrepreneurs — struggle with: saying no. Take back control over your time and your choices with these seven simple tips.
By Maureen Considine
Did you know that October is National Women’s Small Business Month? For many women, especially those of us running small businesses, our to-do lists are never-ending, and our plates are overflowing.
Yet too many of us have difficulty accepting that it’s OK to say “NO” to things we don’t want to do.
Agreeing to requests simply because you are asked is an easy trap to fall into. Doing so can negatively impact both your professional and personal life – as well as your health, wealth, and well-being.
It’s natural to want to please others and to want people to like you. Unfortunately, when you accept a task that conflicts with your own priorities and desires, you’re left feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, and overwhelmed. And, taking on another obligation means doing less of what matters to you.
The next time someone asks you to do something of significance, I want you to try something. Do not agree to the request on the spot; tell them you will take some time to think about it. Then, as you’re considering the request, ask yourself, “Is this really in line with what is important to me?”
Making the extra effort to consider the situation and how it aligns with your own priorities empowers you to take more control of your own time and your own decisions.
If you determine that you do not wish to fulfill the request, you might be wondering how to actually go about phrasing your response.
Here are seven tips for saying NO:
- Thank them for thinking of you.
- Provide a reason for declining if you want to – though it’s not required.
- Keep it brief, without offering too many details.
- Suggest an alternative solution to address their need if you’d like – though this is also not required.
- Be clear about your decision, and do not waiver.
- Be kind in your response.
- Refrain from being overly apologetic.
OK, let’s put these tips into practice… Let’s say an acquaintance asks you to chair a volunteer committee. You take some time to think about it, carefully considering how the request fits with your current priorities, schedule, and desires. However, you’ve taken on too many commitments lately and already feel stressed. You know you must decline the request.
Here’s an example of how to phrase your “no” response:
“Thank you so much for thinking of me; I truly appreciate it. After considering the request, I have to say no. I’ve recently taken on another role and I don’t think I would have the capacity for both commitments.”
By prioritizing tasks and activities that align with your values, interests, capabilities, and current capacities, you’re allowing yourself more control over your choices and what you get to focus on. Additionally, being selective in what you agree to do will empower you to take care of your own mental, emotional, and physical health before addressing requests from others.
Could you use some expert guidance in strategizing and prioritizing how you spend your time and effort? Connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s explore your possibilities.
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Maureen Considine is Founder and CEO of Finding Your Way Coaching. A Master Coach with expertise in Income Acceleration, Business Development, Sales and Mindset, she is the Wealth Health Creation Strategist for entrepreneurs, executives, and other high performers. Maureen has over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing. She has helped hundreds of clients grow their businesses and reach their true potential using her unique, intuitive, and holistic approach. Maureen has a B.A. in Psychology, with training in mindset and the Psychology of Sales.