Debra Russell

How to Say: “NO” – Boundaries Part 2 by @ArtistsEdge

by Debra Russell | Featured Contributor


Debra Russell

I promise, with practice, being able to choose – yes or no – according to your values and priorities will give you tremendous empowerment and the freedom to create the life you want.

And as I promised in Boundaries and the Power of “NO” (or Go Ahead, Be the Bitch), here’s HOW to say “No.”

Know Your Yes

When you are unclear about what you are saying “Yes” to, saying “No” feels very uncomfortable. Let me give you a few examples:

Your neighbor (insert your person who just assumes you’re available all the time) rings your doorbell and says, “You’re not busy, right? I just had the biggest fight with my boyfriend and I need a shoulder…” And you say “Yes,” because you don’t have anything clearly scheduled. There aren’t any client appointments or external deadlines for your new business. Of course, there are a million things you could be/would be doing, but in that moment, when she knocks on your door – none of those things are clearly scheduled in your calendar. And she needs support, wouldn’t saying “No” be selfish?

A new client really wants to work with you and thinks you’re great – you’re soooo flattered and excited! But when it comes to setting your fees, you are tentative. And when they dicker you down, you agree, because you really want the work and you don’t actually have set fees and frankly the whole money discussion feels really uncomfortable. So, you say “Yes”. You’re grateful for the work, but you feel just a bit uncomfortable perhaps even resentful. Because you’ve allowed them to undermine your value. And that’s why negotiating those fees left such a sour taste in your mouth.

In order to be able to make a clear, clean “No”, you need to know what you’re actually saying “Yes” to. If you have your workday scheduled and a clear action plan for the day, it’s much easier to turn down those spontaneous requests. If your fee schedule is set, it’s so much easier to simply email the fee schedule to them. Then there’s no need for discussion. There it is, in black and white.

In order to create this clarity for yourself, you need to set up your systems: your time management system, your product/service systems, your marketing systems. In my “Systems Creation – Work Smarter, Not Harder” class – one of the fundamental principles I teach is that systems reduce stress, because you’ve already made the decisions in advance.

You’ve decided your schedule. So when someone calls and asks if you’re available – you can clearly answer, “No, I’m so sorry, I’m just not available this morning.” And here’s the coolest part – they don’t need to know what you’re busy doing. You are simply not available.

You’ve decided your rates and prices. So you can clearly and cleanly tell a prospective new client exactly what you charge – what your time, energy and expertise is worth. And then they can make a clear choice to work with you.

When you are clear about what you are saying “Yes” to, making your choice becomes much simpler.

The fundamental truth is, whenever we say “Yes” to one thing, we are saying “No” to everything else. And when you are clear, excited and passionate about what you’re saying “Yes” to, saying “No” becomes a No-Brainer!