I was recently speaking at a conference and referred to the power or NO. I mentioned that an inability to say â€˜NOâ€™ took away the sincerity of a â€˜Yesâ€™.
One person attending the conference took me to task and declared that anyone working in the service of others should never say â€œNoâ€™.
I have reflected on this response and wonder what sort of life a person would create if they never said â€˜Noâ€™ to a request from another. I suspect that it would a very stressed life with little time for priorities other than those decided by others. Assertiveness is an attitude and a very important influencing skill. We need to be able to identify what we want from others and have the confidence to ask. Others will do this with us and we need to be able to say â€˜Noâ€™ because we are working on a bigger â€˜Yesâ€™.
Maybe a simple solution is to say â€˜Noâ€™ to a request which takes you away from something that is important to your well being or success. If agree to drop what you are doing to meet someone elseâ€™s needs that you deny your own needs. We are saying â€˜Noâ€™ because we are working on something more important. This something might be time spent at home, or finishing a job for someone else or having a restful lunch break.
It is a mistake to put other peopleâ€™s needs before your own without considering the personal consequences. We do need to say â€˜Noâ€™ occasionally because there is an important â€˜Yesâ€™ that relates to our effectiveness, balance, well being and ability to look after our needs.
I recently declined to do a large project because I knew that it would be very demanding with little assurance of a very satisfactory outcome. I felt good about saying â€˜Noâ€™. I later heard from someone else that had accepted the project that it became a nightmare. I had said â€˜Yesâ€™ to continuing on presentations and projects that were less rushed and more rewarding. Keep â€˜Noâ€™ in your box of influencing skills and be prepared to use it.