Is ‘No’ a No-No?

No is one of the hardest words to say.

It’s always a dilemma.

Which way to jump?



  • You feel guilty
  • You want to be popular
  • You nearly always comply
  • You worry that you’ll offend


A client of mine was on a Mencap committee.  She’d been on it for a year and now she wanted to stop. But she felt unable to say No when they asked her to stay on.


  • It would be embarrassing for her
  • She’d feel guilty
  • She believed that no-one else would want to take her place ( so… it was OK for them to say No!)
  • Mencap had done so much for her Down’s Syndrome daughter that she felt she ought to do it – that ‘O’ word again…


How do you say No ?

  • Practise with trivial choices where the outcome doesn’t particularly matter.
  • If someone asks you to do something, don’t answer straight away. if you need time.  Say, ‘I’ll get back to you’ or ‘I need to look at my diary.’
  • Perhaps sleep on it if it’s bothering you.
  • Remember, when you say No you are often protecting yourself from overload.
  • Listen to your intuition. How do you really feel about saying Yes to this?
  • Follow your No with a positive alternative. Suggest another time to meet, person to do the task, choice they could make.
  • Don’t immediately apologise for saying No. Simply make it clear that it’s just not possible.


Be prepared for –

  • a few ruffled feathers
  • tears or tantrums – yes, even from adults!
  • the person to be surprised


The Good News is

most of the time they’ll accept your decision.

And my client?

She chose to say her No on the phone having carefully prepared her script.

To her surprise and delight they accepted her decision, thanked her for all she’d done and went on to find someone to take her place.


Her confidence soared and she felt able to go on to make further changes in her life.


How about you?

What would you like to say No to?

What do you wish you had said No to?

What are you going to say No to today?


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Filed under action, change, Confidence Coaching, excuses,, expectation, fear, happiness, instincts, persistence, plans, positive, safe, success

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