What’s on Our Minds: Saying “No” and Meaning it

Turnover, burnout, understaffing, and a host of other reasons contribute to the mounting volume of responsibilities that many of us are buried under these days. While certain opportunities may offer a boost in making progress towards or achieving our goals—every time we say “yes” to tasks that potentially lead to advancement, it increases our accountability to ourselves or others. No matter how tempting a new opportunity looks—sometimes we have to say “no,” and mean it.

Accountability to others is part of the equation of positive, enduring relationships with others— delivering on what we said we would, the way we said we would means saying “no” to some things—sometimes a lot of things—that may get in the way of living up to what’s already on our plate.

When we consider how to best spend our time and energy, saying “no” can help us to maintain boundaries and remain focused. While sometimes there can be pressure to cave into “yeah, okay…,” saying “no” directly, firmly, and respectfully will communicate sincerity. One polite suggestion we agree with is saying, “I’m sorry I can’t right now but will let you know when and if I can.” Preserving trust by maintaining accountability to people who are relying on us to fulfill our current commitments versus saying “yes” to things we know will overwhelm us just to be likable, will better serve our relationships over the long run.

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash