How to Say No, Guilt Free?

I received a call from a young lady who had the overwhelming task of providing for her three beautiful girls, extending herself to other family members and friends, while creating her brand as a motivational speaker. She didn’t have regrets, but she was weary as she try to do it all. 

The young lady was overwhelmed with balancing everyday responsibilities while working on her dreams. Right in the midst of her working towards her goals, people came to her wanting her to become apart of their projects. She didn’t want to say no -oh the guilt of saying no – yet the opportunities often times was not beneficial to what she ultimately wanted to accomplished. Although it can be flattering when someone admires your work and want to work with you, it’s important to make sure you say yes to only those opportunities that will ultimately get you to your main goal. 

By the time she came to me to vent, she was stressed about saying no. She didn’ t want to say no, but she knew the project was more than she could handle. So, I told her to turn down the position, but not the opportunity to work with them. I advised her to informed them that she would not be able to get the position the full attention it deserves, however if they ever are in a need for a motivational speaker she should be available. She said no, without burning bridges or ruining any future opportunities. 

No, often times is perceived negatively. And women who are expected to balance it all often feel guilty when they have to say it.  However, it’s important to have the word in your vocabulary and feel guilt free when using it. You can’t do everything and you should not try to. 

Saying “no,” also works with family and friends. Have you ever been in a relationship where the person was sucking you dry? Every time you look, they’re looking for a hand-out or favor. I have been there, on more than one occasion. The problem with saying no came if I knew I could help, but didn’t. Some people will just keep coming because they know you will always say yes. 

I remember when I would feel bad saying no to people. One year it was so bad I found myself neglecting myself and family. It was only until I was super frustrated and extremely tired that I said no, and it felt so good. To my surprise nothing bad happened. Of course I am joking, nothing bad happened. Matter of fact, things only got better. The people who seemed to only need me for their many task found other means. They also slowed down with their request. Those who I lost as friends I learned wasn’t friends at all. And most of all I was able to go back to living my life without the stress of being everything to everyone.

Whether you’re saying no to a business or personal adventure, the key is to not feel guilty.  Most likely you do enough, and what you have to do is time-consuming and deserves your undivided attention. When you think about wanting to give your best to what you do, you know it’s not always feasible to say yes, so say NO.


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