10 Ways to Say ‘NO’ (& Stay Sane!) This Holiday Season

Happy Friday!

I’m so grateful to have a lot of amazing people in my life.

I’m also a recovering people-pleaser.

And I’m really good at keeping busy, thanks to the fact there are a LOT of different things I enjoy! (In fact, I have something booked every evening – some nights two, save for one – until Dec. 22!) 

And, I have ADHD. 

Bring it all together, and what you get is someone who sometimes finds herself in a bit of pickle! I often have too amazing things on the horizon and in the calendar even Wonder Woman may be wondering how one could get done #allthethings! Which sometimes results in double bookings, leaving early from one event only to arrive late to the next one, or running around like a bit of a crazy chicken!

I’m beginning to learn more about my struggles, and empowering myself in the process. Not only do we struggle with timing (apparently for us, there are only two time periods: now, and not now…), we also have a hard time saying NO!

ADHD aside, I think the latter is a challenge for all of us. Especially at this time of year where there is no shortage of exciting events and opportunities. Don’t feel the pressure to say YES! (I wrote a pretty helpful blog though I say so myself all about it!) 

And today, partially for my own benefit, and hopefully also for yours, I’m going to share my top ten ideas from this interesting article I recently came across on easy-ish (or at last creative!) ways to say NO!

  1. “Thanks so much for asking. Unfortunately, I have a full schedule that day (or week or month).”
  2. “Oh, that sounds like a great opportunity for you! I’ll be thinking about you while I (drive to Atlanta) that day.”
  3. “I’m afraid I’ve said ‘yes’ to too many things and now I am forced to say ‘no’ to you. Darn!”
  4. “Oh, darn! I wish you’d mentioned this earlier! I just made another appointment for that day. Do you have the date of next year’s event? With enough advance notice, I might be able to help.”
  5. “You know, I have made a firm decision to spend more time with my family in the evenings, so I’m not available for night meetings.”
  6. “Right now, I am (chairing two other committees) and I simply won’t be able to give your project the time it deserves.”
  7. “I’ll check my calendar but I doubt that it will work for me. This year/month/week is absolutely slammed!”
  8. “I am practicing Extreme Self Care by saying ‘no’ to everything except what I love to do most: (e.g. dancing, football and my dogs).”
  9. “I just read an article on the internet that said saying ‘no’ was a perfectly legitimate answer to requests, so I’m trying it out on you: NO!”
  10. “I’m honoured that you believe in me so deeply but there are other people in the world who are far better at (editing your poem, taking care of your cat, running the Fun Fair).”

HA! Now I’m not sure how many of those personally I would actually use, however it certainly gave me some food for thought. Another great word I recently learned that can be used is CAPACITY. ‘Thank you for ____ (thinking of me, inviting me, offering this opportunity…) and I simply don’t have the capacity to take that on right now!’

And if you’re ready to be even more bold and brave? Know that ‘No.’ Is actually a complete sentence!

So I dare you to put at least one of these ideas into practice this coming week… and PLEASE feel free to share your creative and effective ways to say no! Always looking to add to my repertoire! You know where to share your comments and ideas below.

Have a FAB time saying NO this week!

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Carol Schulte

Carol is a published author, has been featured in numerous magazines and podcasts, and is a returning guest expert on Rogers TV. Having lived and worked in 16 countries including Ashrams in India and vans in New Zealand, rocked dreadlocks in Thailand and shaved her head for breast cancer, she certainly walks her talk and brings a global perspective to all she does. When she’s not traveling or speaking on stage, you can find her volunteering as a bereavement facilitator, training for her next triathlon, or practicing her serious carpool karaoke game.

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