Saying No. If You Can't, You Must.

Saying No.JPG


When you say ‘no’ to one thing you are actually saying ‘yes’ to another. 

Did I lose you already? Don't worry, I will circle back to that, stay with me.

There are three steps to saying NO.

Pause. Prioritize. Prepare.

Let’s run a scenario here.

You get a call: “Hey Kole, its Martha from the boy scouts? We have a dinner this Friday night and I was wondering if you could make one of your famous red velvet cakes?"

Pause. It is Wednesday and by the time you get home from work it will be 7, not to mention you would have to go to the store…ugh and tomorrow is Thursday. You promised your partner some downtime FOR REAL this time and you haven't even been to the gym this week….ugh


You: “This Friday? I have to check a few things, can I call you back in an hour when I have my schedule in front of me? Great, I will call you back."

Pause. Though her offer sounds sweet and genuine (you DO make the best red velvet cake) it is still a manipulation of words to get you to say yes. She isn't ill-intentioned but it's two days away and you can already feel the tension in your body.<<<<<(hint, hint)

Do not trap yourself in another obligation with the dreaded "um, okay". If you don't respect your time and your worth, don't expect anyone else to.


Grab a pen and paper, it is time to take a step back for a moment and get a grasp on your current obligations.

Make a list of what you need to get done by Friday.

Help Sam with his homework wed and thurs at 7
Get the laundry done for the weekend, sally has a soccer game its ur turn to wash
Take the dog to get his nails clipped (before he destroys ur wood floors)
Netflix hangout with ur partner (you committed to once a week, the deal was Thursday after kids are down) just to relax and be together
working until 9 pm Friday, took an extra shift for xmas money

Now, prioritize the list. What things CAN NOT be moved around? You may only see flexibility with the Netflix hangout. You can hangout AND make a cake, right? You CAN but I recommend NOT doing that. The energy of being involved in something else simultaneously, distracts you from being present. By impeding on the Netflix time (even if you have a hard time sitting down and doing nothing) you are telling your partner that they are not a priority. Even if they say "no, its fine, make your cake, I don't care" it's quite possible they aren't being honest with themselves. It isn’t about Netflix it is that you made time for them and now you are interrupting it to help someone else. Just the idea of the cake in the oven is a layer of pressure and noise running in the background of your mind. Add a few scenarios like that a week and you have serious issues in your personal AND professional life. The cost of you saying ‘yes’ is always greater than you think and if you do it often, even more so.

Glancing at your list again, remind me where *YOU* are on that list? Did that even cross your mind? If you don't see anything on that list for you, your answer to baking that cake should immediately be ‘no’. You need to have something on that list for *you* every day. It doesn’t have to big and it doesn’t have to take long but something intended just for you. It can be as easy as a playlist to sing in the car or paying to download the new Beyonce album on itunes. Having music YOU love can completely shift your day to day experince and bring joy to the process. The more happiness you exude the more you get back in return, an endless well that truly benefits every one around you. When we get too busy we don't ignore only the pain, we ignore the power of happiness too.

Don't make it complicated. Allow yourself an extra 5 minutes alone in the shower. Give yourself permission to take a coffee break on the couch, it is powerful. Our TO-DO lists aren't going anywhere, we all have the same 24 hours in a day and are always running out the door. The list will still be there, I assure you. (in the voice of Homer Simpson) Enjoy something decadent, a high quality chocolate (nestles doesn't count). Savor every molecule of its ooey, gooey, goodness, galalalahhhh. Take your time to enjoy it. (Why no Nestles?Because its low grade, low quality and made on the backs of child slave labor. Part of alignment is defining your morals and actively supporting them.)

Take deep cleansing breaths for 2 minutes and imagine what you WANT your day to look like. Breathe intention into your day and watch it transform. The power of imagination starts with slowing down for a moment and envisioning what you want your life to look like. You reality is shaped one day at a time, moment by moment. We are NEVER anywhere but the present, even as hard as our tricky mind tries to convince us otherwise. When you slow down and ground, you give your body the chance to catch up with you and you get a glimpse of where you REALLY are.

 Now, back to Martha (you did say you would call her back).

 Looking at your task list ask yourself the following:

Am I on this list anywhere?
Can I complete this task with my current obligations?
Will it cause me to be resentful or add stress if I say ‘yes’?
Do I want to ‘yes’ to avoid the discomfort of saying ‘no’?
If I say ‘yes’ now, will it cause me to lie or avoid it later?
Will saying ‘yes’ compromise or interfere with time I promised my partner? My kids? My friends? Myself?
When I imagine saying ‘yes’ how do I feel? Where in your body do I feel it?
The body doesn’t lie.

If you have anxiety, restlessness, insomnia or panic attacks have you considered the source? When you go against your truth (ignore your needs) your body speaks. When you ignore it, it speaks louder. So, in trying to avoid the discomfort of saying ‘no’ you end up running to another discomfort with more collateral damage.

Be direct. Easier said than done, I know! I used to put off telling someone ‘no’ as long as I could (or start devising a plan to get out of it). Don’t procrastinate, it creates more pressure and noise for the other person. Give them the chance to find the help they need if it isn’t going to be you. If your worth is determined by how much you help everyone else, you will never believe that they can love you for you.

I don't want them to feel rejected, or to be hurt or think I don’t care..

what if they think I am being impolite…

what if they won’t like me…

what if they tell people I am lazy…

What if they think I can’t do it anyway…

what if they stop calling all together…

what if…

 what if ..


We are gifted stories tellers, aren’t we? When this pattern erupts and you feel the what ifs creeping in I want you to visualize a HUGE stop sign in your mind. Stop and decide to respond differently.


The time has come to call Martha back and break the news to her that your famous cake won’t be making an appearance Friday. Remember, you went over your list and this task won’t serve your greater purpose and could be disrupted. When you say ‘no’ to one thing you are actually saying ‘yes’ to another. You can clearly see your task list is long, you know making this cake would cause you to sacrifice or compromise something very important you *you*. Be brave. You aren’t saying ‘no’ to Martha or the boy scouts, you just can not accommodate their request at this time. This distinction is paramount. Stick to your guns.

“Hey Martha, I went over everything and I’m so sorry but I’m not able to get this cake done for by Friday. I would love to provide a cake in the future with a few weeks notice so that I can prepare. If you are in desperate need of a cake (note the word desperate) I can buy one and swing it by your house tonight. Thank you so much of thinking of me.”

Being appreciative softens the blow a bit. By recognizing their compliment or desire to have you involved they often feel better. I did say often, not always. In addition, offering an alternative like buying a cake that won't require so much time means you can still help in way that works for you.

“Oh, Really? I was counting on your cake and told everyone how amazing it is. Are you sure there isn't ANY way you can make it for the scouts?”

If they get pushy, be mindful of manipulation. People can’t help but frame it in a way to get the response they want but pay attention to HOW they ask. Do they make you feel guilty to get their way? Do.Not.Cave. If this is a pattern with this individual, you may want to take a closer look at the relationship. If they know they can shame you into it, they will because getting getting their needs met is their FIRST priority. Sometimes we have to rework boundaries with people, it can be uncomfortable but the most freeing thing you can do for yourself.

“Ah, thats so sweet Martha! I wish I could but unfortunately this weekend wont work for me. Next time, with notice, I would love to. Again, I can get a store bought cake and swing it by if you need me to, I am just unable to make one at this time.”

Let go of the outcome. Being a bad friend, lazy, unwilling, selfish, or being seen in a negative light are all valid feelings. What Martha think’s of you has nothing to do with you. In fact, what she thinks of you is none of your dang business. That’s the good news! You're FREE! lol

Basing your self worth on what others think of you is a pained and torturous existence. If their happiness (getting their way) will make you unhappy, you are never in control and have relinquished your power.

Committing to less = more to give to each person, each task, each situation

Serving and helping others is a tremendous gift and when you have your whole heart to put into it, everyone wins.

Doing too much creates burnout and stress. When you are spread too thin it is felt by everyone around you. It effects your focus, drawing out the completion of existing tasks and creating overwhelm. It impacts you mentally and directly influences your physical health. Heightened levels of cortisol, besides inflammation, causes a myriad of issues.

When you are forced to keep your head down and your nose to the grindstone you can’t see the bigger picture. Continued existence in this space becomes hazardous as you get depleted, run down and drained. It's time to stand up for yourself. Take a moment to reflect on where you are, breathe deep and see how you can work smarter, not harder.

I am free because you can ask me anything {{first_name}}


if I can't or I am unable or I just don't freaking feel like it,

I will say 'NO". HA! Go ahead, ask me anything! 


~ Kole

#expandtoexperience #BeFree

Did this email give you any insight? Help in a decision? Help you say NO?!

I'd love to hear from you!