How to Say “No” (And Still Be a Decent Human Being)

I’ve been a little over-extended the last few weeks.

I’ve had some neat opportunities come up and, of course, I want to seize ALL of them. Sometimes I try. Yeah, it usually ends up as you’d imagine…a disaster, haha.

Focusing on the Important Things

This week has been one of stepping back, reviewing goals and priorities, and reminding myself how to say “no” to the things that don’t fit my long-term vision.

It seems basic (isn’t “no” one of the first words we learn to say as infants???), but I’ve had enough conversations with overwhelmed, overworked friends to know that it’s not always that easy.

I don’t Want to Say “No”

Saying “no” usually isn’t the fun answer. By saying “no,” we might be disappointing someone or making their life more difficult. It’s especially hard to say when the invitation is for something we love to do or comes from a person we care about.

I don’t want to be mean, selfish, or ungrateful! But I also know that time is finite and saying “no” is important and necessary.

Gracious “No’s”

Today I made a list of “gracious no’s.” These are basically ways to say “no,” while still being a decent human being.

  • That sounds like an incredible opportunity, but my previous commitments with ____ makes this a time when I will have to pass.
  • I would love to participate, but my energy is focused on ____ right now.
  • I’m sorry, I would not be able to give the project the attention it deserves.
  • Your ideas always get me excited, unfortunately my schedule can’t accommodate any additions this semester.
  • It’s hard for me to say no, but I cannot take on anything more right now.
  • Even though I love projects like this, it’s not something I have capacity for right now.
  • I would love to work on a project with you at some point, but this isn’t a good time.

Have you struggled to say “no” to anything lately?

Previous Episode
Getting Your Studio to Show Up on Google Maps
Next Episode
A Simple Studio Policy: 5 Points to Include