sheila callahamTwice this week I almost said yes when I knew the answer was no. I labored over the what ifs and hows. I thought of a million and one ways I could make a “yes” work, but every solution left me feeling the same way — stressed and overwhelmed. That’s because behind every yes was a big fat screaming NO.

Why did I want to say yes when clearly I was feeling a no?

Because I was thinking of the everyone else besides me. I wanted the people involved to feel happy. And as much as I wanted to step into the place where they wanted me to be, I knew it wasn’t the best thing for me to do. Resolving to be true to myself I just said no.

The result?

In both cases the individuals were understanding, and I sighed a deep sigh of relief. Immediately I felt less stressful and all I did was say a two-letter word.

I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.

~Maya Angelou

There is a deep, evolved wisdom in being on your own side, of loving yourselves enough to want to make you happy first. When you make loving choices for yourself, you radiate loving kindness to others.


Because you radiate more joy and less stress.

Because when you are true to yourself, you stand in your authenticity and radiate a deep, inner happiness.

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.

~Malcolm S. Forbes

One of the most common phrases I hear from my coaching clients is, “I want to feel like life is not so hard!”

For these clients, often the reason why they feel life is so difficult is because they are attempting to do everything, for everyone and nothing for themselves. They are looking outside of themselves for approval and validation. They are spending all of their energy trying to be what everyone else thinks they should be instead of following their own path, in their own way.

Some Do’s and Don’ts for Negotiating No

Do share your pain. Bringing the other party into your dilemma can be an easy way to move from a yes to a no, so long as you are dealing with someone who has any level of empathy. For example, if someone asks you to commit to a business event but you already have a number of other appointments scheduled, tell them that as much as you would like to add that to your calendar, you don’t know how you can meet your other obligations.

Don’t start rescheduling and double-booking yourself unless, of course, you love wallowing in a high stress environment.

Do acknowledge the invitation with gratitude. Beginning with gratitude sets a positive tone and makes it easier to transition to your no.

Don’t allow yourself to sound whiny when you get to your no. Practice saying it in the mirror until you can deliver your no with as much confidence as you deliver the acknowledgement of the opportunity.

Do allow space for a next time. That lets the other person know that your ‘no’ does not mean never. It just means not right now. And a little bit of no still means no!

Don’t forget to acknowledge your sense of self-empowerment every time you find the courage to say no.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.


Sheila Callaham is a best-selling author, motivational speaker, and success coach. Sign up to receive her free ebook “Release, Reboot, and Reconnect to Your Dreams” and her twice-monthy inspirational newsletter.

Pin It on Pinterest