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Why Saying No Builds Confidence (and how to do it)

This week I was talking with a friend about an opportunity that was presented to her. While on paper the opportunity looked good in terms of income, some of the asks didn't quite line up right with her best talents. The way she would have to work didn't completely sync with her values. The opportunity was almost right, but when she thought of saying yes to this, she felt a twinge of dread and knew she had to say no. She knew the person making the request, and just didn't know how to say no - she didn't want hurt feelings or to come across as rude.

It's moments like these that remind me that saying no can build more confidence than saying yes.

Hear me out. The world is noisy. There will be no shortage of demands on your time, other people’s opinions or well meaning advice on what you should do. There will be opportunities and income that come with saying yes. It can be easy to go along with the demands and the opinions to keep the peace and other people happy. But whose peace and happiness are you keeping? And does that extra money even feel good or is it creating resentment? Saying no to the things that don’t align to your values and talents feels empowering. While it can feel difficult and nerve-wracking to tell someone no, every time my clients (me, too) say no because something doesn’t align, they report the same feelings:

Empowerment. Intentionality. Ownership. Confidence. Here’s a framework to help you gracefully say no to the wrong things so you can say yes to the right things.

  1. Thank them for the ask

  2. Let them know what you value, what you’re currently committing to

  3. Let them know what you can’t accommodate

  4. Get collaborative: Offer other options or brainstorm other people who may value the opportunity. (For someone else, your no is their “heck yes!”)

(Ex. Thank you so much for thinking of me! Unfortunately I have other commitments I need to honor, so I can't take this on right now. I'd be happy to talk about who else might be a good fit for you!) You have permission to stop being the hero, the person who rushes in and says yes to save the day. It’s a recipe for burnout and resentment…which kills your confidence. Consider this your permission slip to say no today. Remember, the best yeses will feel of peace, not dread.

Want more tips like this? Grab a copy of Closing The Confidence Gap: Boost Your Peace, Your Potential & Your Paycheck HERE.

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