The Power of No!


The word stops us in our tracks. It can be heartbreaking, debilitating, and deflating. It can also be empowering, liberating, and necessary. Any strong, successful woman knows that learning to say “no” is an invaluable lesson. We simply cannot be everywhere, do everything, or be everything to everyone. You must be discerning with your time because, doll, your time is valuable.

Why NO is so Important?

“No” can be a hard word for a lot of women. It doesn’t matter who is asking — be it a boss, child, sibling, friend, or stranger asking for donations outside the grocery store. Why is saying no so hard? Because we feel guilty and I guarantee that most of the time that guilt is self-imposed. If it’s not guilt, it’s out of some sense of obligation: we should do it because we love you, because you need help, because we can even if we don’t want to. The point is that somewhere along the line “no” became a four-letter-word, but it is okay to say no when you need to.

We all have a lot on our plate and our time is precious, which means what we chose to spend time on should be important to us. If a friend asks you to her kid’s t-ball game, even if she’s beaming with pride and looking at you expectantly, it is okay to say no if it conflicts with your yoga class. If your boss asks you (last minute) to stay late but you scheduled dinner plans with a friend you want to catch up with, it is alright to say that you have plans and you can’t.

Do You Need the Power of NO?

It is essential to your sanity to take time for you. We’ve all been at that breaking point, the “I’m going to scream if one more person asks me for something” point. If you have every said any of the following to yourself then it is probably time to assess your yes/no ratio.

  • “I wish I could do (fill in the blank) but I can’t find any time.”
  • “This week I have the kids soccer, my husbands work dinner, my friend’s baby shower, and my sister needs help packing to move. Oh, and I forgot I also promised a co-worker I’d do a charity walk this weekend.”  or a variation of that run down that doesn’t include anything YOU truly want to do.
  • “I need more hours in the day to get everything done.”
  • “I wish I could run away and hide for a little but I can’t — people need me.”

Be honest, you know you have. Even if you have mastered the “no chances are there will still be times you get caught up in yes’ing. Some women need permission to take time for themselves, well I’m giving it to you. You deserve it. Take it!

How to Embrace Your NO?

Take time to hit the gym, watch mindless TV, write, dance in your living room, read or just take a bath. Your kids will survive if they can’t have that friend over. Your husband will do okay giving the kids a bath and getting them to bed if it means you get time to go to the gym. Your friends will in fact be able to pick out an outfit without you along if you need to relax in your sweatpants and regroup after a hard week.

The world does not end when you say no but your world may just right itself when you start to. There is power in “no”. No means that your time has value. No means that what you need comes first sometimes and you don’t have to apologize for that. No means that you are discerning with your time, who you give it to, and what you spend it on. No makes your time, and you, more valuable to those in your life. No gives you power.

If you don’t give your time value then nobody else will either. People notice “yes” people and far too often take advantage of them. We know that we are far too strong to allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. Don’t we? I’m not saying to never accommodate others or to turn into the person nobody bothers asking anymore because they know the answer will be no. I’m simply saying that when you need to, say no.