blog 11.20

Are you ready to actually say “no”?

I’m going to show you how.

It’s the third week of NOvember, over the past few weeks we’ve realized the importance of saying “no” to help us get to the things we actually do want in our life.   We learned how to use the decision triangle to decide just what to say no too.   Now were gonna tackle the third piece of NOvember; how you actually say “no.”

Saying “no,” like so many other things in our life require a little planning and a little practice.  How often have you gotten caught off guard at school drop off with a volunteer request? Or have a Facebook chat window popped open and a business friend ask; “do you have a minute to help me with a project?”

The tricky part of the situation is, we are nice people.


When someone asks you for something or asks for help, it’s your gut reaction to see how you can help.   That makes you a wonderful person! I’m not asking you to be mean, or rude, or to become a hermit, but back to the very same comment that started this whole NOvember series; what would happen if your default answer was “no?” Or at the very least, what would happen if your default answer was always, “let me get back to you?”

Give yourself the time and space to figure out if the request you’re being presented with aligns with your objectives, or run it through the decision triangle and all of the other decision-making tactics we’ve discussed in the past few weeks.

Give yourself a little space to see how it feels in your gut and to look at your actual calendar for the required time it would take.


I actually heard Oprah many years ago describe that she responds to every request of her with; “let me pray about it.” Now, prayer might not be your go-to method for decision-making, but what it does is buy you some time to come to the best possible decision for yourself and your family whether you choose to use divine intervention, ask the universe, the magic eight ball or flipping a coin.

Basically, Oprah had a say no phrase


The other reason we tend to default to “yes,” is because just saying “no” sounds so harsh, so we stamer around and ultimately say yes, because it is less awkward.  So, your first grader learning to read, learning to say no takes a little bit of planning and a little bit of practice.

I recommend you create a handful of say no phrases that you can rehearse and have on the tip of your tongue for when requests arrive.


Things like;

“Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I recently took on another large project.”

“I be happy to volunteer, I can take on_____  (one specific portion)

“My family and I predetermined where will donate money each year”

By creating say no phrases ahead of time you’re not only more likely to say no, but in a way that feels kind and authentic.


SayNoWalletCardSpend time thinking of a few phrases that you can use in different situations that you are presented with. A few phrases that either allow you to politely and authentically decline the request or give you some space to come back and make a decision.

Here’s a list of my favorite say no phrases. Like anything else these take a little bit of practice.  Recite them in front of the mirror, or practice them with your spouse or your friend.  We have created a handy little downloadable wallet card for your to print, or save to your phone or keep clipped to your day planner.

Next time you are asked to volunteer or take on a project that doesn’t align with your bigger objectives, try one of these phrases or create on of your own! Give me your new say “no” phrase in the comments below!