Really. Yes, I know we resist it. We over commit. We say yes to things we don’t want to do. We drag our feet when we are afraid that we are going to disappoint someone.
But I have a secret. It doesn’t get easier over time. The longer you wait, the more you worry, and the worse the reaction you will face. If you say no quickly, the other person has time to find alternatives. But if you wait, you just make it worse for both of you.
In fact, “no,” is a complete sentence. This was my mantra last week. When the project partner dragged their feet and waited to say no so it was harder to find a replacement. When the client called to cancel 15 minutes into their time. No is a perfectly good answer. But when we withhold it, we actually make things hard on others.
What do you want to say no to? When are you going to say it?
You don’t need a cool creative excuse, just say no. If you can help solve the problem, by all means do so, but free your friends and colleagues from waiting and wondering. Just say no.
Practice this week. Really. Just say it once or twice. The world will be fine.