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  • Writer's pictureAnne Genduso

"No" is not a Four-Letter Word

Updated: Apr 3, 2019

Why is it so hard to say that tiny word, "no?"

Many women strive to be perfect and please others, which often means doing more and staying ridiculously busy. A few examples? Taking on every project that comes your way at work, accepting every social invite from friends and striving to throw a Pinterest-worthy birthday party for your two-year old -- all in the same week.

Enter major burnout.

To move toward balance and away from burnout, begin by identifying what's MOST important to you -- your non-negotiable personal values -- and then make sure the activities you choose to take on align with those values. On the flip side, that means passing on activities that don't match your values and get in the way of personal fulfillment.

The best way to do that is to get comfortable with saying "no" -- both to others and to yourself.

Saying "no" doesn't have to be a negative experience and you won't sound like a jerk (unless you just scream "NO!" and walk away like my daughter did as a toddler). There are lots of ways to decline or push back in a way that respects your personal boundaries.

Let's say a colleague asks you to proofread her big presentation, but you know if you do, you won't be able to leave on time to make your friend's birthday party. You can say something like, "I wish I could, but I have a prior commitment," or you could offer to hook her up with someone else on your team who has the capacity to help.

The more often you practice saying "no," the easier it becomes and the more comfortable you'll get in staying true to your values. When you stop thinking of "no" as a four-letter word and embrace its power, you'll be giving yourself the gift of a more harmonious life.

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