There are huge benefits, which can only be accrued with power of “no”
By: Sarika Bhattacharya
Few years ago, I was tired and fatigued all the time. I had just started a new venture and was trying to reinvent my career. I was taking on all kinds of assignments, calls, meetings whether it made sense or not. I noticed that saying “no” to certain people and in some situations was challenging for me.
Sometimes I found myself saying “yes”, when what I really wanted to say was “no”.
That’s when I realised I was living with a feeling of “overwhelm” that was running me down. Some things in life are easy to turn down. But some decisions in life are not so clear-cut. That shiny new opportunity you’re offered might not be all good or all bad. More so when you’re confronted with those tough calls, what should you do?
Let’s start with why it’s hard to say “no”. I realised that even though all my analysis and gut instincts would tell me to say “NO” to an opportunity or to someone, I could not do so. This was mainly due to my fear of missing out or not wanting to upset someone. However, there are huge benefits, which can only be accrued with power of “no.” Here are four things you get by saying no:
- More time to do whatever makes you more productive and happier
- Power to be more in control of your life
- The constant feeling of overwhelm is not there anymore
- More opportunities you didn’t even know were out there
As a kid, we used to play this game of reason with my family whenever faced with such tough decisions. I decided to apply the same. While being faced with any challenging times when you are unable to decide, I follow these three steps:
- Weigh the pros and cons of any given situation
- Prepare for the worst outcome
- Think: Whatever happens, happens for the best
These three steps have helped me many a times to say “no” with confidence, honesty and compassion. I recently turned down a project for a large IT/ITeS firm, as I felt they did not value our time and felt better for it. During that same time, I got an opportunity to speak at a Women Leadership conference in USA addressing 100 women leaders from across the globe.
I started saying “No” to people who weren’t right for me. I started saying “No” to everything I didn’t want to do. I started saying “No” to mindless meetings, mindless events, mindless food or alcohol, mindless anger and regret. Within six months, my life was completely different.
So, take a breath and realise that “no” is not the end of the world. In fact, it might just be a new beginning.
About the author
Sarika is an Inclusion Strategist & Leadership Coach with more than two decades of corporate experience. She co-founded BeyonDiversity and has successfully build the organisation as one of the Global Top 10 Diversity consulting firms having worked with more than 100+ organisations for culture change & build a futuristic inclusive organisation. As a leadership coach and facilitator, she has transformed 10,000+ leaders to be inclusive and future ready.