March 26, 2018


Are you out for a friend’s birthday even though you’re exhausted? Are you in the office alone at 9pm after saying yes to your manager again?

For this week's BORN AT DAWN LIFE we are exploring why saying ‘no’ can be difficult and how finding the courage to push back could make you happier, improve relationships and boost your career. We’re inspired by two great articles we’ve recently read.

NO. A tiny word that carries so much power, yet there is a pervasive culture that regards ‘overload’ as success. For Nicola Colyer writing for Stylist, her motivation to say no was an ME diagnosis. As a ‘ceiling-pushing people-pleaser’ she’d spent her life saying yes to friends and family and over-working, leaving her exhausted.

For The Pool, Lily Peschardt said no for an entire day; realising how much time, sleep and money had been wasted by being a perpetual yes-person and decided to put herself first.

 Both writers mentioned a prevalence among women to say yes, the overwhelming guilt that follows ‘no’ and a fear of damaging the careers we’ve worked so hard to build if we’re seen as ‘difficult’.

 Yet, valuing your own needs could prevent the resentment caused by saying yes too often and help you lead a more fulfilled life; you may ultimately become more available. By reclaiming the power of no at work, you demonstrate confidence in your own ability and protect the time needed deliver. You’re likely to gain more respect and could even improve performance.

 We took away some valuable tips from Nicola’s article:

  • List your main priorities - Consider if what you’re currently doing is helping you to deliver on these goals; this could help you see what you need to say no to. 
  • Address the guilt - Being less available to people can make you feel bad, but control of your own happiness rather than succumbing to expectations allows you to choose your own direction.
  • Explain why - Clearly articulate why you’re saying no - for health reasons, to be a better friend / partner overall etc. This may help those close to you understand better.

At the end of Lily’s ‘no experiment’ the outcome was (a) the world didn’t end (b) her career remained intact and (c) she ate what she wanted for dinner. What is there to lose?

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