Knowing When to Say No – 5 Steps to Honouring Yourself

If you’ve ever felt taken advantage of or irritated by people asking too much, you’re in the right place! Life is too short to spend our time feeling resentful, depressed, or angry at the people around us and the key to getting back to feeling good is often pretty simple.

In fact, just one little word can create a new outcome and help us avoid so many of these bad feelings: No.

Saying ‘no’ is one of those powerful tools that we don’t always make use of when we should. We get caught up in worry about what others will think of us if we do, or we feel like we’re selfish when we refuse to yield to every request. And I’m willing to bet you’re extremely well-travelled when it comes to guilt trips!

But true satisfaction lies in honouring yourself, and in taking care of you. After all, you can’t help anyone unless you’re in a place where you can be helpful and that means saying ‘no’ when you need to. But when should you say ‘no’? And how can you make it easier?

Here are five practical tips that will help to get you there – and on the road to peace and well-being.

1. Consider how you feel about the request.

Pay attention to your emotions. Does anything about the request cause disquiet – a feeling of unhappiness, heaviness, or reluctance? It could be your subconscious is trying to tell you something. Say a client has requested an out of hours meeting but you know it would mean missing dinner with your family so you’re already feeling a bit annoyed by the idea – don’t be afraid to listen to, and honour that feeling.

2. Ask yourself if you want to do it.

By asking yourself consciously, you’re forced to pause and figure out what you indeed want. Can’t answer? Then sit down with a friend or mentor and talk it through with them.

3. Take some time.

Not answering right away gives you time to consider the pros and cons. Check your schedule if needed, consider your other priorities, and figure out how you genuinely feel. Give yourself the opportunity to sleep on it before deciding.


Learn to Say No Easily with our free e-book!

Start putting healthy boundaries in place and getting comfortable and confident with your “no”. 

4. Ditch the long, drawn-out excuses.

Keep it simple and merely say ‘no.’ You don’t owe anyone an explanation. As you progress toward embracing the role of a CEO you will rely more and more on the ability to give a concise and clear ‘no’. Practice whenever you get the chance, and it will get easier as you go!

5. Set boundaries that help with ‘no’.

If you’re uncomfortable or uneasy about saying ‘no’ out loud, use simple boundaries to make it easier. If you’re someone who is frequently distracted by incoming calls that aren’t urgent, this is a great place to set a boundary. You can start by saying ‘no’ to calls while you’re trying to focus by letting them go to voicemail and returning them later.

Likewise, you can set boundaries around when you will check and reply to email or see clients. Being able to manage your time well (and seeing how impactful it can be) will build your confidence both in your ability and the importance of saying ‘no’. 

Saying ‘no’ doesn’t have to be difficult. Keep your eye on the prize – imagine how it will feel not having to compromise yourself anymore. There’s no need to be pulled into a life of being overcommitted, overworked, and overwrought. Instead, honour yourself in the best possible way by pursuing meaning and joy, prioritising the things that are truly aligned with your values and goals. 

Until next time,