Learning to say ‘NO’

10.21.2015

Do you know how and when to say no? A plain simple, no. No thank you, I am not interested in a business deal; no to an acquaintance who asks you something that is just simply not right for you?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. As my business grows, I have more and more opportunities coming my way. Some are bad, which I have no issue saying no to, and some are really good, but I still struggle to say no if the offer is not what I think I deserve.

French By Design

I am so bad at saying ‘no’, at selling myself. Hubby, my real better half in the field, always tells me that unless I feel 100% comfortable about a project and its proposed revenue, I should say ‘no’. But I’m a people-pleaser, and I hate to say ‘no’. I’m better at it now than I was in my early 30s, but I still don’t like to say no, and many times, I have accepted deals for my business – or my personal life – where later on, I was like “hold on… why did I say yes to this again?”

And as I’ve been processing this entire concept in my mind for the last few weeks or so, my husband recently told me about Steve Jobs and his view on saying ‘no’. Steve Jobs would ask his employees how many times a day they had said ‘no’ to something to assess if they were fully focused on their assigned task. The more they had said no, the more productive and focused they were in Jobs’ eyes. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is BRILLIANT! When you know your focus, saying no to anything that is not completely, utterly, fully aligned with your focus should be disregarded and you should move on to the next thing.

French By Design

I also came across a quote from Helen Mirren on my personal Facebook timeline last week. Mirren was quoted on the New York Daily News saying [and pardon my French, here] : “At 70 years old, if I could give my younger self one pice of advice, it would be to use the words ‘f**k off’ much more frequently.” Yes, yes and yes to that, friends! Why is it that we, most generally women and/or female business owners, fear that saying ‘no’ would portray us as ‘rude b**tches’? I am not trying to have a feminist approach here, but if a man says no to a business deal because it is a bad business deal, nobody blames him for that, right? Because it was a BAD deal!

Do we want to be people-pleasers, or do we want our business or personal-self to grow?

I’ve been trying to implement my “laser focus” strategy in the past few weeks, and I managed to say ‘no’ a few times. And you know what? I feel more focused, more at ease with my personal and business decisions. Everything is getting clearer, and I’m learning [this may take a while] not to care if I come across a ‘rude b**ch’ because I said no to something that simply was not good for me.

What about you, do you know how to say no? Cheers friends, xo, Si-

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15 comments

  • Sandra

    Haha, Helen Mirren, love her so much! Yes to learning to say no! Thanks for this very empowering post, lady! XoXo-

  • Gabriella

    No, I’m still learning… I agree with you: this horrible feeling of “why did I yes to this again?”, so just like you, I’m learning. Thanks for sharing your personal journey to a more balanced you!

    • French By Design

      Thank you Gabriella! Try, just one ‘no’ at a time! It gets easier as you go, I promise! Xx-

  • Kaho

    What a great post! I am the same way and I used to have trouble saying no. After having taken a yoga teacher training course, I changed. It’s about having clarity and knowing what you really want in your life and putting yourself first. It’s okay to do that. That also means accepting my own weaknesses and inability which was hard. However, now I practice it, I feel liberated and less stressed. Thanks for sharing and I always enjoy your writing.

    • French By Design

      Thank you Kaho! It sounds like you found a real balanced life through yoga. I’d love to have you as a teacher! ;)

  • Meghan

    Saying “no” to people and situations that aren’t right for you is such an empowering thing. We think by staying neutral or being a little too flexible is good for us, but it isn’t! We end up regretting taking on certain relationships/business ventures/projects/etc. which in turn causes us more stress. This is a great post and I hope it empowers more women to “be a bossy bitch” and I mean that with the upmost respect. A bitch is a woman who knows what she wants, and has no problem saying “no” to whatever isn’t right for her, whatever that may be. When you say no to things that you don’t really want to do, you can focus more on what YOU want and who you are as a person. Because you say “no” doesn’t make you closed off, it makes you strong & confident, because you’re a woman who knows what she wants and what she doesn’t.

  • bshujewelry

    Thank you so much for this post, it is really a struggle for me and it is great to hear that other women have the same problem.

    I really believe it is harder for women to say ‘no’ because we learned to be pleasing and not being a bitch. I just really hate the thought of someone not liking me and when I say no it feels horrible. It feels like the person I’m saying no to dislikes me.

    But I believe that once we say ‘no’ more often and realize that the world is still spinning and no one hates us, we can continue to step up for ourselves :)

    Lovely post <3

    • French By Design

      So glad you found inspiration in my words. So many of us are afraid to share this type of emotions, but find out we’re all experiencing similar feelings. And yes, baby steps are the way to go, I agree! Xo-

  • Flora

    Thank you for this post! It’s SO good to read something I’ve been feeling and experiencing lately. I’ve found I’ve become better at saying no in the last year, but it’s still really tough, and toughest of all when it means having to say no to GOOD friends and family, not just things that are obviously a no-go!

    I’ve been doing it more at work: saying no to clients who aren’t prepared to pay enough, or saying no to attending a meeting I can’t comfortably fit around my other work. It seems to be working well enough though, as it’s meant that I’ve had other opportunities spring up that suit me better, make me less stressed and in turn make me feel FAR better about myself!

    The hard ones to say no to have been my family, however…I’ve always been the people-pleaser, the one that says yes to everything and keeps the peace: but lately I’ve been saying no to them far more often, voicing my opinion and (better yet) sticking with it if I really think that’s what’s better for me!

    So, thank you for this because this week alone I’ve had a few moments of doubt in thinking whether I should have said no or if I’m “just being a bitch”. So, thank you THANK you!

    Flora
    http://www.hardyandhay.com

    • French By Design

      I’m with Meghan on this one, Flora. Let’s all be ‘bossy bitches’! Because in the end, if you are brave enough and respect yourself, people around you both at work and in your personal life will respect you as well. Xo-

  • Andrea McBride

    Thank you for this post, have never, ever felt at ease saying , “No”, why, not sure as you say fear of being disliked maybe, fear of missing an opportunity when you know very well, that opportunity was not for you, fear of upsetting someone, I could go on !! but certainly a very thought provoking blog. Andrea X

  • Michael

    I am the same..I was mannered like that..to help people, to be open for them..and with taking the first job, learning things about life and gaining experiences I found out saying NO is really hard for me..but I am doing some steps and it is better when I am older I have to say..and when I started blogging, oh my..but after two years I do not feel fear to say NO. Blog was and is a hobby, so my living is not dependent on it, so I’m picky =).
    But in which situation I will be never able to say NO is to help my family and closest best friends..even they are some times say me NO, I am always here for them..it is good? It is bad? Who knows..

    Michael
    http://www.ontheleaf.net

  • Rachel Ang

    Such a great post, got me reflecting. I am quite a people pleaser too, and some times I think I am afraid of missing out, that’s why I am so afraid to say no.

    Rachel x
    thehappybits.blogspot.com