Just Say No

by Marian Mays, Senior Editor, INALJ UK, Nunavut, Yukon, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Just Say No

marian-maysIf you’re anything like me, saying no can be difficult. However, taking on too many projects and responsibilities can be harmful to our personal health and well-being. Once, when job shadowing a librarian, I witnessed something amazing. A fellow co-worker approached her and politely inquired if she would be interested in joining his sub-committee. The librarian, after asking a few questions, simply said no. I was impressed and surprised, and I learned a valuable lesson. Saying no can be easy! Following a simple, self-oriented questionnaire can help you determine the pros and cons of your decision.

1. Is this healthy?

Don’t think about your desires. Instead, think about what you’re sacrificing. Will taking this on impact your personal health, safety, happiness or well-being? Will this cause unnecessary stress in your life? Will saying yes require you to lie to others? Will saying yes compromise your personal beliefs? Will going out tonight make me feel miserable tomorrow?

2. What are the short and long term consequences of your decision?

Will this decision drastically benefit your future career or professional prospects? Are you passionate about the decision? Five years from now, will you be glad you made this choice? Is the stress really going to be worth it? Will you even remember why you said yes? If the answer is no, you should reconsider.

3. Am I being used?

Feeling wanted is amazing. There’s nothing wrong with being able to contribute something to a team. However, are you the one that is always asked to help? Are you only being asked because someone knows you’ll say yes? Were you manipulated into a situation through passive- aggressive, guilt oriented behaviors? Are you a people pleaser? Don’t be afraid to put yourself first, and don’t feel selfish or ashamed for doing so.

4. Am I trying to be recognized?

So many employees don’t get the credit they deserve for their hard work. Humans can be negative, critical, and forgetful. Sometimes, we feel that impressing someone will gain us the respect we desire. If you’ve been working somewhere for a very long time, don’t expect the attitudes of others to change. Instead, decide to change your attitude. Make sure to dig deep before saying yes if you’re in a toxic situation. Sometimes, our motives behind the decision making process are subconscious.

5. Am I lonely or bored?

All humans have said yes to something they didn’t want to do to avoid these two things. Sometimes we do this at the expense of our happiness and health. Spending time by ourselves is crucial to our personal development, even if you’re an extrovert. Learn to spend time with yourself. Try catching up on a book, journaling, watching your favorite show, or anything else that is creative and self-indulgent. You can’t help others if you’re neglecting yourself. and cons of your decision.

If you don’t put yourself first, who will? You only live once, so make your choices wisely! If you’re looking for some more inspiration on how to say no, check out this great blog from Zen Habits! http://zenhabits.net/say-no/

  1 comment for “Just Say No

  1. Clare
    August 7, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Thanks Marian! I recently read the Zen Habits article when I was trying to bolster my confidence to say no to someone. It is definitely a skill that takes practice and reflection.

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