Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Liberating Power of NO (The Art of Saying NO) by C. Lynn Williams

Have you ever felt like saying NO, but swallowed your words and said YES!
I grew up in a time where NO was one of those words that was not easily accepted. Don't get me wrong, I heard that word often from my parents. However as a young girl, NO was not a word I was encouraged to use. While I wasn’t told not to use the word NO, it was implied. You were seen as uncooperative and difficult if you said NO too often. Uncooperative to whom?  Questions like this usually caused problems between my mom and me. To me, no meant I didn’t want to do it! That was the problem with messages that we received as children. You were told not to do something without a good explanation behind it. In my case, if the explanation didn’t make sense, I still didn’t want to do it. Women in my generation were taught that to be a lady, you had to be cooperative, well-mannered and go along with the program. Whose program? The problem with NO is that it meant you weren’t easily handled. When you aren’t easily handled, you bring an air of unpredictability with you.
Here’s the problem with the NO theory. If we don’t learn how to use it, it limits our ability to stand up for ourselves when we need to. No is an important concept for us as humans. Think about it – No is one of the first words that toddlers learn to say. Unfortunately we eventually drum it out of them – “Don’t tell Mommy (Daddy) No. It’s not nice!” When our children become tweens and teens we hear No again. And maybe they don’t say NO out loud, they just don’t do what we’ve asked. Infuriating right?
Think about your life as a busy female executive. You’ve grown up with the proper ladylike training and you manage a team of men or millennials; both of whom are quite capable of saying NO! How do you stand up for yourself and your project or company, if you haven’t learned the art of saying No? Perhaps, you are a female entrepreneur, wife and mother and life is starting to feel like one roller coaster ride after another? How do you get off and get things under control without the help of the liberating word No?
If you were enculturated to say Yes when you wanted to say No, then you will want to begin this new habit right away. It’s quite liberating! Practice saying it in the mirror. Say it to your friends and family. Use the word No when you don’t want to do something. Just like any other habit, you will have to do it quite a few times – 21 to be exact before you are comfortable saying guilt-free No. Yes I said guilt-free.
I would love to hear How you use the word NO!

When I coach my clients about finding their superwoman, I encourage them to discuss what’s really bugging them and determine what is most important in their life: work, family or relationships. Once they’ve sorted out what’s most important, we work on determining how to remove stress and those feelings of being overwhelmed by what family members and work associates think about the decisions they’ve made. I believe that you can have a wonderful relationship with your partner and your children as well as a successful career. If you are struggling to fit everything into your schedule, click Here to receive a copy of my Why Planning Makes a Difference worksheet.

Learn more about C. Lynn Williams via her website at and follow her on Twitter @msparentguru

1 comment:

  1. This is a great article! So many of us have a hard time saying no. We wear ourselves out trying to please everyone and not respecting our own limitations.