The Importance of Learning to say No

In this photo, I am sitting on the subway in New York heading to Brooklyn, in a red sweater, jeans and Dr Scholl's shoes.

The Importance of Learning to say No

March 13, 2019

Ever since I started working back when I was 16, I was never a yes woman. Seriously, never. I always had an attitude, hence my handle name. If someone asked me to clean floors, I would ask if that was part of my job description and made sure they knew I knew it wasn't. I always worked hard, but I never let corporate America take advantage of me. I was smart enough at 16 to know what I was work, and that has carried into my adult life. Holy crap, I'm 28! I'm not longer in my "mid 20s" and I'm almost 30. *gulp*

 

 

 

 

Back in college, I would say yes to any social gathering because it all seemed better than studying or being in my room for hours. I was always saying yes, yes, yes to the point where I'd committed myself to going to 5 things at once just so I felt like I had options. Today? I barely say yes to one thing, and you'll never catch me agreeing to several for the same time period.

You know what that's like. In college, you just want to be seen, meet more friends, hang out with the friends you already have, eat out every meal, get happy hour, eat chicken tenders. You catch my draft. That was then for me, but some people never get out of that phase. If you're people pleaser (definitely not me HA!) you will want to say yes to everything or have a legitimate excuse as to why you're saying no. That definitely can get in the way of living your life.

Long story short, I learned how to say no after college. Whether it's to friends, family, bosses, colleagues... I will say no.

 

I worked hard, but I never let corporate America take advantage of me.

Think about the benefits.

If you say yes, what are the benefits going to be? Is this a social event? Are you going to meet potential business contacts? Are you doing this for fun? Do you like the person who has invited you? Really think long and hard about this, because saying yes to everything is silly. It's not all going to enrich your life. Most of it will be a waste of time, let's be real. So why would you put yourself through it unless it's business or a genuinely fun time? This isn't college anymore, it's real life and your time is limited as every day goes by.

Don't be afraid.

You know what they tell you about never being afraid asking for something? The worst someone could say is no. When it's on the opposite side of the track, it's the same situation. Saying no doesn't make you the bad guy, so don't be afraid to say no.

Start thinking about your time.

This actually digs deep into one of my biggest pet peeves in the blogging industry. When I see local bloggers here in town going above and beyond for brands in exchange for a free meal, it genuinely disgusts me. How do you have time to do a blog post, Instagram stories, Instagram posts, Facebook pages, etc in exchange for a free meal? If the restaurant has demanded this from you (which I know they have not) that would be absurd and you should never take a free meal in exchange for that much work. Hours of work is not worth the $40 meal. However doing this free work willy nilly because you want to also seems idiotic to me, because isn't your time more valuable? I understand if you have a phenomenal experience and want to share all about it, but to do this kind of work for free for every business that looks in your direction is not only hurting you, it's hurting the entire industry. No one will get paid if they know someone will do that kind of work for free. Everyone loves free, which devalues the entire industry. A lot of times I do wish people thought long and hard about their decisions and how it affects others. Not just themselves. Be more mindful of your surroundings and others, you are not the only person on this earth. Your actions have an effect on other people. Start acting like it.

People will walk all over you.

This is where my sassiness comes into play because I don't want others to believe they can take advantage of me, time and time again. I learned this lesson the hard way. When you do free work in my field, brands assume you'll continue to do it for free. Why would they pay you if you were okay with doing free work for them? This is important in your corporate job too. The more responsibilities your boss adds to your plate that are NOT in your job description, the more likely they'll continue to expect you to do the work without any help. This is always how it starts. Before you know it, you're working 60 hour weeks trying to keep your head above water. Vacation? You wouldn't dare because you'd fall so far behind, you'd have to work even more. It's a vicious cycle.

Overcommitment causes stress.

If you overcommit yourself, you will definitely feel more stressed long-term. Because you keep committing yourself to plans, it's a never ending cycle because you feel as if you have to be a part of it all. This causes a lot of organizational struggles, time constraints, the list goes on and on. The sooner you start saying no, the sooner you will start feeling a little bit better about your commitments. 

What's a trick you have for saying no?