Saying yes can be just as dangerous or as difficult as saying no. When you are presented with a question, an opportunity, and even an ultimatum, you are always in control of your yes and your no. Taking ownership of your boundaries is essential to living the balanced life you want for yourself. Read through my top five tips to say yes with class, confidence, and care.
- The moment you feel you must say yes, is usually when you need to say no.
A mentor once told me that the moment you feel compelled, guilted, shamed, or otherwise emotionally manipulated into giving a yes is a clear indication you need to say no. Don’t give your time, power, or energy into people, places and/or missions that would make you compromise yourself in order to get your consent.
- Go with your gut - but make sure it’s not just fear.
I hate when people say always go with your gut. Because often, your gut response is based on comfort and security. When you’re trying to grow and lean into something new, your brain is programmed to prefer comfort and familiarity. It’s called our familiarity bias. It takes conscious effort to choose to grow past fear and discomfort, and your ‘gut’ will fight you every step of the way. Sometimes we have to stand on what we believe to be true and wait for our feelings to catch up.
- Your yes does not always have to be unqualified.
Just because you are saying yes does not mean it has to be completely unqualified. Some of the best ‘yeses’ I’ve said came with conditions and expectations. These statements create expectation management around your yes. For instance, say your kiddo asks you for ice cream. You know their room is a disaster. Instead of saying ‘no, because your room is a mess,’ you can say, “Yes, as soon as your room is clean and your chores are finished. I’d be happy to reward that behavior.”
- Be aware of the rush.
Benjamin Franklin said, ‘haste makes waste.’ When you feel forced to rush, you can almost guarantee something is going to be wasted - your time, energy, focus, and sometimes even your feelings. Take your time, consider your options, and ensure you are confident, comfortable, and careful with your yes - and all the possible results and consequences of it.
- Consider before you state your case.
Here’s a rule of thumb: only explain what you think or feel about your decision to those who would also care if you chose the opposite. That person is concerned about you and your well-being, not just whether or not they get their way.