Sometimes walking away from one thing means walking towards another. Is this skier walking away or towards her greatest adventure?
It is always surprising to me how hard it is for many women, including myself, to say no. It’s such a simple thing to do, yet so uncomfortable for those of us who are wired as people pleasers, are ambitious, and enjoy a challenge. It should go without saying, but as a reminder, we all have to learn to say no graciously in order to protect our time, our sanity, and ensure that we are putting our energy towards the areas that matter most to each of us.
Recently I acquired a fabulous template for how to say no in a way that feels kind and gentle. This came from Jenna Kutcher (Author and Host of Goal Digger Podcast) as she was interviewed on the EntreLeadership Podcast. I would encourage you to save this and use it as needed. Maybe even practice saying it so you have it in your hip pocket.
Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity. I feel so valued that you thought of me. I am going to decline, and I want you to know that me saying no has nothing to do with your idea, your event, or you. I am saying no because at this time in my life any yes’s that I say take me away from focusing on _______. Please know I will be rooting for you every step of the way, and I am absolutely certain that our paths will cross again in the future. I wish you nothing but the best.
Here are some ways to adjust it for different situations:
Thank you so much for inviting me to your amazing destination wedding. I feel so valued that you wanted to include me. I am going to decline, and I want you to know that me saying no has nothing to do with how I feel about you or my desire to support your marriage or celebrate with you. I am saying no because the timing and length of the trip will take me away from focusing on the work I am wanting to get done in between other commitments I’ve already made. Please know I will be missing celebrating on the island with you, but am also hoping we can celebrate together after your honeymoon. You are such a special friend to me, and I treasure our time together.
Thank you so much for thinking of me for the idea of helping the Smith family with a donation. I feel valued that you considered my company. I am going to decline, and I want you to know that me saying no has nothing to do with this thoughtful idea. I am saying no because at this period in the business model of Sustainable Leadership any yes’s I say take away from focusing on the philanthropic work that we have already identified as our passion projects. Please know your efforts to help the Smith family are amazing and I will be rooting for the efforts you put into helping others.
You will likely need to adjust these more depending on the person, the ask, and the situation, but this template is such a nice way to give yourself a way to say no without feeling unkind or unhelpful.
So, just remember, saying no is being kind to yourself and allows you to show up in the areas that are the most important to you so you can have the biggest impact there. We can’t do it all, so let’s at least do what is most important to us well! And have grace with ourselves when we can’t even do those things well….because we are imperfect creatures striving to be better. But sometimes when we walk away, we walk towards what really makes us shine–this young skier was walking towards a jump that put a smile on her face brighter than the sun!