Dec 6th, 2019
Are you one of these people that has a problem saying no? It's a bit of a trick question by the way, and I asked my clients that all the time and most of them come back and go, “Yes, that's me. I have a problem saying no”. I'm going to challenge you on that today. You don't have a problem saying no at all because every time you say yes to something out of obligation, you're saying no to something that's probably one of your true priorities.
Hi, this is Grant Herbert, International Influencer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today I want to have a conversation with you around learning to say yes and no appropriately.
So over the last few weeks, we've been talking about developing our Personal Power, that inner self-confidence, and knowing that we have everything within us and around us to be who we need to be to get done what we've been put on the planet to get done. We talked about self-care and how self-care is not selfish. It's about putting yourself first so that you can then help others. It's about having a balance between taking care of others with self-taken care of. We talked about on the airplane when the mask drops down and they say fit your mask before assisting other guests.
We went on this month to talk about the number of things and we talked about boundaries, we talked about setting boundaries, and we talked about your priorities and what it is that's important to you, and we talked about making 2 decisions, and then there was the 4 steps that I took you through last week. And by the way, if you're just joining me right now, go back and listen or watch each of those episodes and it'll take you on the journey to where we're getting to today. So today I wanted to finish up this series around Personal Power by talking about saying yes and no appropriately.
We're just about to come into the Christmas season and I find that this is an area or a time of year where there is a lot of people that want a lot of us, and we can have a bit of an energy challenge if we say yes to everything. So the reason I've taken you on this journey to get to here now is we need to have a high personal power, high value on ourselves, exercise self-care, get that mindset sorted out and those behaviours started before we're able to go through with what I'm going to teach you right now.
So right at the start I challenged you and I said, "You don't have a problem saying no, you have a priority problem." So, for example, in my corporate career, if my boss continually asked me to stay back and I just went yes, because I felt I needed to do that, to be liked, to belong, to be part of that team, to get to stay, whatever it was that my inner dialogue was telling me. Then immediately after saying yes, I'd have this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach knowing that I had to then miss out on something that I'd promised one of my kids or my wife or someone in my family or a friend. So I said yes out of obligation. And quite often we do that and then that person goes away and then we go, “Oh, why are they asking me to do these things all the time?”.
And at the end of the day, the reason why I ask got asked those questions all the time was because I always said yes. And it's that instant response of, "Yes, I'll just say yes to everything because if I say yes to everything, then people will like me, people will accept me, people will approve of me. And that's where we talked about breaking free of that performance trap. So step one in being able to learn to say yes and no appropriately is to make sure that we have a clear understanding of our true priorities.
Now, right now, this week, it's been pretty hectic for me. I'm just about to go and get on a plane and fly to Melbourne overnight, working with some clients tomorrow, sorting out some things for next year. So even doing this right now, it's going to be shorter than what it normally is because I need to prioritise getting some self-care things done before I go. So it's good for you to know that I most of the time, because I'm human, practise what I'm teaching you. So I'm saying yes to getting those things done that I need to get done before I go that are important to me and no to getting this perfect and getting it, you know, a good length. That's what I'm used to doing.
So let's take a look at how we can learn to say no. So the first thing, as I said, is we get the priorities right. The second thing we want to do is I want you to do an exercise with me where you identify when you say yes, what you're actually saying no to. So, for example, my boss has asked me back, so I go, "Yes!" So that yes is getting me to say no to spending that time with my son or going to my daughter's recital, whatever it is. So we call it out and we write it out this way. We go, "By saying yes to staying back after hours, I'm saying no to going to have quality time with my children."
Now we're doing this not to beat ourselves up and to feel bad, we're doing this to identify which of those are of the highest priority and that's why we need to start with getting the priorities down first. So let's do it the other way, "By saying no to this, I'm saying yes to this." So if I just flip that one, "By saying no to working back every night this week, I'm saying yes to having a balance and quality time with my children."
So you can see how you can flip it the other way, "By saying no to eating this cake, I'm saying yes to my gut health and to a good night's sleep."
"By saying yes to eating all that fast food, I'm saying no to good gut health, which affects my mental health and my ability to perform, et cetera." So we are doing an audit, we're doing an inventory of saying yes and saying no.
So I'd love you to do that. What are the things that you say yes to way too quickly? And write those out as a list in the way that it says, "By saying yes to...," And then insert whatever that is, "I'm saying no to..." And call it out. So that's the first thing. And there's an exercise for you to do as soon as you've listened to this or watch this video. The second thing I want to empower you with as I leave today is learning to say no in a way that people understand. And it's about using a soft no. You see, that instant reaction of someone asked me to do something, so to fight those fears of not being good enough, not belonging, not being loved, I go, "Yes!" And it's in that split second we go, "Why did I say that?" We want to take it back. So what we want to do is we want to have an exercise or a process that gives us some space to think.
So my boss comes in and says, “Hey Grant, I've got this project that I want you to invest some more time in, and it's going to mean that you're going to need to work back 3 or 4 days next week.” Now instead of going, "Yes!" And then regretting it, what I could do differently is go, "Yes, boss, I'd love to see if I can do that. I'll need to get some more information from you as to what that actually entails so that I can see if it's going to work for me. So I've said yes, they've heard that I'm, you know, on board with them in what I'm going to do or what they wanted me to do. But I've got to filter at first and see if it fits with what I've got on. And what that does is two things: it gives me space and something different to do so that I don't just go "Yes!" And it gives me an understanding of what I need to do next and that is check it against my priorities.
So two things that I want you to do going into Christmas is set up a list that says, "When I say yes to this, I'm saying no to this." Both positive and negative. "And when I'm saying no to this, I'm saying yes to this in the same way." And then practise the soft no. Practise saying, "Yes, when I get some more information." And then because you are someone with a high level of personal power, say no boldly because your priorities are what's important to you. That's it for me for another week. I'm off to Melbourne. Have an amazing weekend and a great week coming up, learning to say yes and no appropriately. I'll see you next week.