As difficult as it seems to be saying “no” is an essential skill. The value of declining opportunities, invitations, and even clients is an invaluable asset to anyone.
Saying no garners respect.
When working for and with others I have learned that declining people is powerful. It is powerful to let people know when they have not been successful in terms of a promotion or a hiring process. The person receiving the decline has often thanked me for being transparent with them in providing feedback. These same people have often stayed in touch and have utilized my services. That indicates a respect for the work done and for me as a person.
Declining opportunities frees up your time.
I have worked with a number of people who say yes to something and then spend their time complaining about the increased workload. When presented with an opportunity that you think you may want – think it over carefully before you accept. It may not be what you want at this point in your life. It may have been appealing at one period and now it is not. Saying no to something that you no longer have an interest in frees up your time and energy for a project or situation that does. Give yourself the permission to say no and reap the reward of time for what fits for you to show up.
Regretting social invitations may be to your benefit.
At one time or another each of us has accepted a work-based social invitation that has been frustrating at best. It has been my experience as a manager at these events involving those that I work for and those who report to me that not everyone is on their best behavior. Interacting with a co-worker or colleague who is incapacitated or angry at a social function is less than desirable. For myself I make it a practice to show up for a brief period usually the formal portion of the event. After that making my regrets and leaving is a priority. The people I work with know me in a professional context. An early departure allows integrity to be upheld for me personally and for my colleagues.
Learning to say no is a powerful game changer in life and in business. It has certainly served me well.
Marie-Helene Sakowski, email@example.com.