The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Streamline Your Life By Saying "NO"

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Friday, May 09, 2008
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Several years ago Oprah produced an entire show on the topic of saying "No.". Women are notoriously bad at saying no. Research done by Carol Gilligan from Harvard discovered that women make choices first for others and put themselves at the bottom of the list.

We often don’t say “no” because we feel guilty, we’re afraid of offending, and sometimes, even afraid that it would reflect poorly on our work. Consider that an alternative to “no” might be “not now”.

Being polite and helpful doesn't work if you're overscheduled and exhausted every day. If saying “no” or “not no” sounds too harsh, try this statement: "That sounds very interesting. Let me think about it and get back to you." This gives you some time to decide what's really important… more volunteer work or five hours of sleep at night.

When you do get back to the person asking for help be firm and clear that you are saying no. Never use the word "maybe" and don't offer an excuse. Start protecting the time you need to take care of yourself. Remember, like a well, it must be filled for others to drink. When you are completely depleted by life's demands then you have nothing to give to life and loved ones.

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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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