Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Importance of Saying No

Turns out being a yes person isn't all it's cracked out to be - The Importance of Saying No | Todd's Travels Travel Blog

Recently, things have been hectic. Work has been busy and when I get home from work, I'm on the computer doing freelance gigs.

I'm a people pleaser (guilty as charged) and I hate saying no to projects that come my way. But all I've been doing recently is work, work, work.

All work and no play makes Naomi a dull girl.

And even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, I headed on auto-pilot to burnout. Big time.

It's funny because I've constantly said I want to be a yes person, I want to seize every opportunity that comes my way and I don't want to turn down opportunities that could potentially be life-changing, enrich my life etc. etc. you know the whole self-improvement stuff and to basically be the embodiment of, dare I say it, YOLO (I'm dying inside writing this).

But then when I was saying yes to everything that came my way, I was drowning under all my newly-gained commitments. Time management nor organisation have been my strong suit and I was failing big time.

It all came to a head when I over-ambitiously said yes to a project that in no way, shape or form did I have the skills for nor did it interest me in the slightest. Then when it all went tits up, I was all over the place. I couldn't sleep, I wasn't thinking straight and I could barely focus myself on other work commitments.

I then managed to get a standard mammoth cold. I know, I know, hardly the biggest problem, but I'm melodramatic and it made a big impact on my mood.

To say the least, I wasn't a happy bairn.

It's at these times, fate comes into play and it's almost serendipitous the sequence of events that make you have an epiphany.

In my case, it came in the form of coming across this great blog by the Middle Finger Project: How to Say No to your Clients without being a Bitch (which applies very much so outside of work too) and this TED Talk, The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer:

I'm a big reader of self-improvement blogs(in the misguided belief that I, one day, will improve myself) and mindfulness is a regularly recurring word at the moment.

Being open to new ideas and opportunities is very much something I'm an advocate of. However, the big thing I've learnt recently is knowing the opportunities and ideas that you will never want to do is equally as important.

Whether it's going to a particular destination, a new venture, relationships, work, social gatherings, knowing when to say no will make saying yes all the easier and all the sweeter. 

Saying no is seen as a negative action in many other ways than purely grammatical, but knowing when to say no is a positive step for yourself and your well-being. Saying no is in some ways saying yes for you and being selfish in a good way.

After all, in the wise words of The Middle Finger Project's founderWhen making business decisions, it's either fuck no, or fuck yes. Anything else is a waste of your time. 

I think the same applies outside of your work life too.

What do you think - is saying no always a bad thing?


  1. Love this! It's crazy that we feel like we have to say yes to everything, especially when doing so won't even be good for anyone involved. Saying no is definitely something I've tried to get better at recently, but yes is a hard habit to break!

  2. Yep I don't want to let people down so I say yes way too much. It's time to be more assertive and say no (or say yes) when I mean it!