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ThePowerofSaying‘No’

Devin C. Hughes
12mo San Diego, CA, United States Story
The Power of Saying ‘No’

Two little letters can be the key to your freedom from over commitment

Are you one of those people that has trouble saying no?

You’re not alone. From bosses and coworkers to friends, spouses, children and extended and family, it seems like someone always needs or wants something. Trying to meet the needs and demands of everyone around you can be taxing at best. At worst it can have a major impact on your health.

Learning to say “no” isn’t easy — we’re taught from an early age that it’s impolite to turn someone down when they make a request. This is especially true in work situations — as you can see in the infographic below, 62% of employees felt their workload had increased over the prior six months. None of this takes into account the demands you face at home.

In a workplace conflict study, 33% of people said that the conflict in their establishments was due to heavy workloads. Heavy workloads are a fact of life, it seems, but are you taking on too much?

If your answer to this question is “yes”, use the following guide to help you identify situations where it’s okay to decline taking on a task or added responsibility.

1. Who is asking you to take on the responsibility or task? Is it within your usual scope of duties? If not and you don’t have the time or desire to do it, you’re within your rights to decline.


2. If you decline a request, will it create a conflict between you and the other party? You may need to weigh the consequences — some people have a hard time taking “no” for an answer.


3. Do you have the time and/or capacity for taking on additional work? For instance, if you have just worked a 12-hour day and your sister asks you to watch her kids so she can go to yoga class, take care of yourself first. If you don’t feel like you have the energy to babysit after a long day at the office, it’s okay to say “no”.

Learning to say no to those you love or don’t want to disappoint can be difficult at first, but once you get in the habit of taking care of you, you’ll notice a change in not only how much less burdened you feel, but in the way it changes the dynamics between you and those in your circle.

Interested in more strategies for learning how to say “no”? Check out this article from Real Simple.

Thanks for reading. If this was valuable to you, I’d be honored if you followed me on Twitter Devin C. Hughes, where I share the latest research on happiness, mindfulness and human performance, and subscribe to my newsletter, where an earlier version of this article appeared.

Devin C. Hughes, the Chief Inspiration Officer is a highly sought after speaker, author, happiness muse, mindfulness trainer & executive coach. He is the author of seven books and his approach draws from the science of positive psychology, positive organizational research, appreciative inquiry, neuroscience, mindset and mindfulness.


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2 comments

  • Beth Wareham 93
    Beth Wareham 93 CEO and Founder, Lisa Hagan Books
    12mo ago

    I wrote an entire humor book on this very topic, THE POWER OF NO. Women have a hard time with this word - as do some men. But anyone that respects me and his or herself can take a simple no for an answer. Easy, right? Oh boy.

    I wrote an entire humor book on this very topic, THE POWER OF NO. Women have a hard time with this word - as do some men. But anyone that respects me and his or herself can take a simple no for an answer. Easy, right? Oh boy.

    • Devin C. Hughes
      12mo ago

      Hi Beth- Amen to that... we all get it but struggle to actually do it as we often create an alternative reality in our heads as to the intent, expectations etc...

      Hi Beth- Amen to that... we all get it but struggle to actually do it as we often create an alternative reality in our heads as to the intent, expectations etc...


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