You’re an Adult – It’s O.K. to say NO!

Why is it so hard for us to say “No!”?

Ok, so I’m not going to get into the psychology behind this, I’m a technical geek, not a brain geek. 😉 But I do know that I’ve always struggled with this. Someone asks me to do something and I just CAN’T SAY NO! Well, I should say “couldn’t say no” because that’s all changed. I’m here to tell you, it’s o.k. to say no!

Want to know my secret?
Of course you do!
I call it my “pause button”.


What’s a pause button, you ask?

It’s when I do exactly that – I pause myself. The instinct is to automatically answer “Yes, sure, I’ll do that for you…” but what if you train yourself to stick a step in there -after the ask? That step is, you hit your “pause button”. This gives you a moment to push the YES out and insert one of these: “NO” (no apologies or excuses necessary) or “I will have to take a look at my schedule and get back to you. When do you need an answer by?” If they need an answer right then and there, the answer is “NO”. Period.
Yes, we want to help others, we really do, but we need to set limits, and we cannot do that on the spur of the moment when we are feeling the pressure.

Now What?

So now that you are going to cut back on your YES answers and say NO more often, what do you do about all the things you’ve already said “YES” to and still have on your plate?

Make a List

I know, you’ve done this before – made lots and lots of lists and you’re still overwhelmed! Well here’s the thing, we’re going to try something NEW with this list! We are going to COMPLETE IT! Really.
So right now I want you to go to your calendar and block out an hour with no interruptions. This is an appointment with yourself, for yourself, for your business.

During that hour you will:

  1. Make your list of everything that is on your plate right now. EVERYTHING! Whether it is writing a blog post or making a dentist appointment for your daughter or making dinner tonight.
  2. Now, next to each of those items write down the name of someone else who can do that job besides you. For the items where you know it is not something that ONLY YOU can do, but do not have someone specific in mind for that task, write “other”.
  3. Assign these tasks with names next to them to those people – right now. Put a sticky note on your daughter’s bedroom door to write up the grocery list, send an email to an associate, text your spouse or friend to take care of another task.
  4. What about the blog post and social media images and emails to write? Find a VA. Right now, during this hour. Reach out to friends and colleagues for recommendations and email those VA’s RIGHT NOW!
  5. All that’s done and the hour’s not up? Look at everything that will take less than 5 minutes and complete it. NOW.
  6. Now, schedule another hour tomorrow or later in the week to follow up with the VA’s you contacted. Depending on the number of tasks you have decided to outsource, you may need a couple of VA’s and that’s ok.
  7. Finally, look at all the items you have crossed off your list and celebrate!


I’ve learned a lot from Jack Canfield in the past year. If you haven’t yet read his book, “The Success Principles”, I definitely suggest picking up a copy today. Here is a video he created with a few tips to help you focus and be more productive. It’s only 3 minutes but will free up so many more! Enjoy!

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28 thoughts on “You’re an Adult – It’s O.K. to say NO!”

  1. Such a great idea to take a pause and then delegate. I think once we get into the practice of delegating, the easier it becomes. I use Workflowy for my list and I put @assistant next to the items I can delegate and then when I search @assistant they all come up and I can mail them to her!

  2. Delegation works!! But you gotta do it right. Be sure that you:
    -know the benefit you’ll get from having the project completed
    -know the details your freelancer needs to do an excellent job
    -plan to be available for questions
    -know what success looks like

    When someone tells me they had a bad outsourcing experience I know they missed one of these steps.

  3. Hi Mindy,

    I can be the worst at this but have been getting better over time. I love helping but annoyed later when I’ve clearly taken on too much and now overwhelmed. Politely saying “no” can be a good thing!

  4. terrific advice. Thanks so much. I love the idea of assigning right from my list. I tend to get bogged down with lists.. have one in front of me right now.. I do feel overwhelmed often. There are SO many things that i want to do.. and all of them sound fun..choosing one and concentrating on it is the best thing that works for me.

  5. Love the pink color that greeted me on the blog – made me feel happy. I have learned the “art of no”. Getting taking advantage of, and recognizing thus, is a sure way to learn the art. So, my tip is to be alert for this.

    1. Hi Robin, oh you made me so happy that the pink made you happy! 🙂 Yes, great tip – be alert for those taking advantage. It takes a while to do, still not fully there, always wanting to give a helping hand.

  6. YAY! So glad that you don’t say no to me. lol I got your back! Hugs diva.. great tips… more of us NEED to say no.. and do the work we need to do to make money and not the work that drains us.

    1. Thanks, Brenda. Outsourcing is amazing when you find the right people – good luck with that! Please let me know if you need help in finding anyone for particular tasks.

  7. Thanks for these tips Mindy. I feel like you are speaking to me and yes! I took the pause too. I have been thinking about delegating some SEO task for the past weeks and would certainly do them soonest.

  8. This makes a lot of sense to me. Particularly the Pause button. I’ve said yes to some things over the past year that turned out to not be so good for me to participate in. I’m being a lot more cautious about what I agree to these days.

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