YES is the easy answer!

Try saying ‘No.’

I have been engaged all day with people asking me for some support on something, but because I am part of the end result of what they are preparing for, I have had to say NO!

This has surprised people today because I am usually very accommodating. I could tell from their reaction, from their facial expression to the body language, that they were not prepared for me to turn them down on their request. This has been a good lesson for me today, and it is something I will be working more on doing – learning to say NO. 

I do say ‘Yes’ too often. At times, I regret agreeing to do ‘that something’ as I end up not fully engaged or vested in the task and it has then developed into a lousy experience for me. It has also often left me feeling some animosity towards the person who had asked for the thing to be done. It has most likely built into a bias for me regarding that person. The truth be told, any animosity should be aimed at me and not them because I was the one that failed to do the due diligence. I should dig deeper into the requests before agreeing to take on the task, and that will be something I will be looking to explore from now on as I take the learning form today.

I constructed many of the conversations I had today by using a technique that I have previously written about. I framed it with what I call the ‘Yes, No, counteroffer’ position.

“Sorry, I have to turn down your requests, but is there an alternative request that you could make that I might be able to say yes to?”

Today when I turned people down on the request, I asked them if they had a counteroffer for me to consider. To my surprise, none of them had a counter offer ready. They asked for a short moment while they thought out this alternative scenario and prepared something. Again a reflection is that I am far too accommodating. I am always too eager to help others, so they don’t come equipped with an alternative solution. Why should they – I always say YES!

Or, an alternative takeaway from today could be that as humans, we don’t think through a ‘what if statement’ when preparing to ask someone to do something for us.

‘What if this person turns me down on my request? What would I do, and what could I ask them to do as an alternative option?’

I think people are essentially too polite to say NO because Yes is the easy answer.

I have finished work for today, and I am back at work first thing tomorrow. I am now looking forward to working tomorrow because I will explore this whole concept further… tomorrow. I will only be saying yes to counteroffers. 

Every initial request I will be turning down.


…Because I want to teach myself how to say ‘NO’ more often, so this approach will help me build that verbal muscle.

Plus, I am also too polite to move directly to just saying NO.

Yes is too easy, No is too tricky, so the halfway house is to layer in a counteroffer to the discussion. Then if the counteroffer is not good enough. 

I can say NOPE.

“Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other”

Seth Godwin.

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