Specific Words To Say No Gracefully
Only concentrated effort can create the larger change we seek
Happy Saturday, fellow learner! 👋 You’ll be receiving Learn With Kat on Saturdays instead of Tuesdays from now on. I’ve heard this newsletter pairs beautifully with weekend coffee ☕️
“Overwhelmed? If you feel anything less than ‘hell yeah!’ about something, say no,” wrote Derek Sivers.
To say yes to our top priorities, we must say no to other things.
A tiny bit of effort in all directions goes nowhere. Only concentrated effort can create the larger change we seek.
Source: Essentialism, by Greg McKeon
Yet I struggle to say no, because I get excited about so many things. And I fear that others will dislike me if I say no.
👇️ Today’s post covers what I’ve learned about saying no.
Actionable Tips for Saying No Gracefully
🔠 Specific words that work
How do you say no to your manager?
Managers don’t like no’s and they don’t like excuses. But managers understand tradeoffs:
That’s a great idea! I also have x, y, z on my plate. How do you rank the importance of this new idea?
How do you say no to random requests?
You could offer a direct, polite no, as suggested by Greg McKeon:
I am flattered that you thought of me but I’m afraid I don’t have the bandwidth.
Or offer an alternative:
Thanks for reaching out! I don’t do phone calls about MBA admissions tips, but if you have some specific questions, I’m happy to answer via email? Let me know :)
How do you say no to friends?
Say it as it is:
Thank you for this wonderful invitation! You have something really fun planned. This time, I have to pass.
I’d still love to spend more time with you, and looking forward to seeing you another time! 😊
Ideally, suggest an alternate time to hang.
Our friends extend bids by inviting us. if we want to keep those friendship we need to extend bids back too.
❤️ Reprogram your own thinking
Define what you value
If you know what you value, you know what you’re giving up when saying yes to this, that, and the other.
Select one, or max two, professional priorities
Write down those priorities every day. When a new thing pops up, ask yourself: How does this fit with my one or two priorities?
Realize that a clear no is kinder than a flaky yes
We all know that person who says yes and flakes at the last minute. Wouldn’t you rather hear a no upfront?
A few recommendations
Essentialism by Greg McKeon, or his podcast interview led by Tim Ferris.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Despite the title, it’s really about figuring out which things to give a f*ck about.
And I just bought Hell Yeah or No, where Derek Sivers shares 67 short mental models for decision-making. If it’s good, you’ll hear more about it 😉
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