How To Say NO (And Not Die...)

It’s time for you to take a breather. Yes, you’re on fire - steam coming out of your ears, supersonic, on it. But it’s wearing you out. You know that if you carry on in this frazzled state much longer, you might just decide to pack it all in and get on the next plane to San Francisco and never return. 

And you can totally do that - take a trip to San Francisco, that is. But it doesn’t have to mean closing down your business in a huff because your clients (or colleagues) have driven you to the brink of despair. (Or rather, you’ve let them.) 

I get it, you’ve been letting those boundaries slip, or maybe you didn’t have them in place to begin with. You’re letting your clients dictate your time and energy, and sure your busy schedule ‘looks like’ success - but at 11pm on a Wednesday night when you’re still frantically checking your emails, editing photos, replying to client messages: it certainly doesn’t feel that way. 

But the great news? You get to say NO THANKS. And it isn’t rude, and it isn’t horrible, and it doesn’t make you a terrible person. It makes you an awesome woman who is running a business and who also loves having a LIFE. And believe me when I say people will respect you the world over for that.

And also: isn’t that why you started this whole thing in the first place? To experience more LIFE…

Whether it’s saying no to a client request because it requires a 9am meeting and you’re so not available for that, or saying no to someone who doesn’t feel like a good fit because you know in the long run it’s going to save you a hella hassle, or saying no to going out to a club with your friends because the hangovers last a whole week these days and you’re just not down for that anymore. 

You get to say NO. And it’s OK. 

Here are some reasons that saying ‘no’ is totally healthy and totally necessary, in case you need them in your take-on-the-world toolkit this week: 

1. No is a full sentence. You don’t need to justify it. It is what it is. And it’s OK. When did no become a bad thing? 

2. Us humans are a complicated species and we hate rejection, so naturally we’re going to go to the person that always says ‘yes’ in order to save ourselves the pain. 

3. Saying yes doesn’t make you a better person. It simply trains people to ask you all of the time because they know you’ll say yes. (See point 2.) Retrain them with no. They’ll soon stop asking. (And I know a small part of you might not want to stop being asked, because, well, see point #2 again. But say it with me: I can say no AND still be loved wholeheartedly.) 

4. No makes way for yes. When you say no to the stuff you hate, it makes room for things you love. It sounds like the simplest thing in the world right? So why are we still so caught up with doing sh*t we hate? 

Well, I’ll tell you for why - because we’ve been taught to ‘be a good girl’ to ‘do the right thing’, to ‘be polite’ and ‘follow the rules.’ 

So what if, just for a second, what if…

+ Being a good girl meant being good to yourself and honouring what you say you’ll do, for YOU

+ Doing the right thing meant whatever it is that feels good for you, so long as it doesn’t harm anyone in the process

+ Being polite meant politely declining

+ Following the rules meant setting the rules for yourself and following them through as a non-negotiable

And with that, I mark today the day you began introducing the word ‘no’ back into your vocabulary and reaping the beautiful benefits. 

Yep it’s gonna feel uncomfortable. Sure it might be hard. But like every other habit, it takes practice and a keen focus on the outcome. 

Go for the no, baby. 

Or, you could just say no. 

Either way, good for you. 

Sophie French