No. And Yes. It just depends in what context you say the perceived dreaded N word. But for some people, saying no isn’t something that they are fearful of. In fact, it’s something that they can say to others confidently and with no fear of the response of the other person. But there are people out there for who saying no can be hard to do. And yes, I was one of those people.
I’m quick to say yes. Yes to helping others. I enjoy working with people and don’t want to let them down. My fear of saying no stems from my past conditioning, having always been in “support” roles, my time was greatly spent in a reactive state, assisting others when they needed help, quite often without any prior knowledge or planning. And that was ok, because I liked to help where and when I could. That was what I thought was my job.
But once I started figuring out what I wanted to achieve, I realised after some gentle and at times tough coaching, I needed to prioritise my time towards doing what I needed to do in order to achieve my own goals. And this meant saying No. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. I had little pools of guilt in my stomach everytime I felt like I disappointed someone by saying No. But I thought, it’s ok – I want to do this as it’s helping me achieve and prioritise.
As many of you know, BRS are huge advocates of Human Synergistics and we regularly test and retest ourselves for the Life Styles Inventory (LSI) 1 & 2. So imagine my confusion when I received my LSI1 retest and saw this red sliver in Oppositional on the circumplex. What was that all about? I’m not oppositional, never have been in my life! But by saying no after so long with saying yes, I felt that I was being oppositional.
But you know what, after looking at my LSI2, I realised that nobody else saw me as oppositional. Nobody was ever disappointed with me saying no and I realised that all these feelings were purely self-inflicted! I wasn’t ever just saying a flat out and rude No. I was saying “No, I’m unable to help you with this task right now, but I can look at it tomorrow if that’s ok?” or “No, I’m not the best person to help you with that, how about you contact this person” or even “No, that’s not something I can really help you with, but I can have a think and get back to you as to who can”. And that’s ok. In fact, people seemed genuinely happy that I wasn’t taking on anything and everything at a drop of a hat. I was prioritising and adding value in areas that I was passionate about and had a bigger impact on the company and my personal life as a whole.
If you’re saying no for the right reasons, in the right constructive way, the right people will support you and everything will be ok. Life will go on and those urgent tasks still seemed to be get done….. just not by you in a reactive state.