Is It OK With You If I Say No…?

Photo by Andy Tootell on Unsplash

This note may not be of interest to those who have no trouble saying “No’, but in my travels I come across many. many people who really struggle with saying no. This is for you.

Picture this scenario;

It’s Friday evening and you are settling for a quiet evening and looking forward to a really relaxing Saturday.

Then the phone rings. (There is a two-day workshop can be run on what goes though our minds right then. But that is for another time.) You answer the call and it’s your friend Bob, or Roberta – (well sort-of friend, really just someone you know from church but a good person). They go on to ask if you could help him next day as they have just lost their job and they know you have some expertise in this area.

Your mind takes off. (And there’s another two-day workshop). You are stuck – They need help, you can help, and you know you are not committed to anything next day. But you agonise. You do not want to give away your time, but you don’t want to be selfish; you promised yourself a day off, but how can you say no. Its the last thing you really want to do, but you don’t want to appear uncaring.

We usually trip over our words at these times because the words we are speaking are not the words we are thinking and not the words we want to say, but before we know it,  we have said “OK, I’ll help you”.

And that’s great if that is what we want to do. But how often do we say ‘yes’ because we don’t know how to say ‘no’.

The truth is we do know how to say no, but we get bombarded with our thoughts and our concerns of what it might look like and what others may say and so on and on. So we give our power away to “what it might look like… ” and say yes when we really want to say no.

Back to the  Friday evening scenario. do you think your Friday evening would end up as peaceful as you planned.

Why don’t we ‘just say no’ ? i can hear you say to yourself. I welcome your comments on this dillemna.

One of the great insights and breakthroughs in my life was when I discovered it was OK to say ‘NO’.

Not saying no when we mean no just causes a loss of peace, frustration and even anger. We can feel used or manipulated or backed into a corner.

But note that is just a feeling. Someone asking us to do something is just that – a request. We are actually free to say yes or no, but why is it we often feel like we can’t say no, or we shouldn’t say no.

I believe we give our power away to the asker or to the situation, when we feel coerced because of a feeling, or a sense of obligation or a concern of what people may think or say.

I believe there is a more powerful and empowering way to operate. The ancient proverb says “Let your yes be yes and your no be no”.

How much better would it be if we said yes when we meant yes and no when we meant no? It will take practice and you will need to deal with the feelings and emotions it brings up, but you will feel a million dollars when you say yes because you want to and no when you don’t.

It won’t always go down well in the beginning, because some people don’t like to get a no, but they will get used to it. The reality is that we will actually say yes more often because we are now free to decide.

When ever I want to ask someone for help I start with “You need to know that “No” is a really good answer to any question I ask”.

My Moment of Clarity today is To ask yourself ” Am I able to say no when I want to?” and if you wrestle with that my encouragement to you is to start exercising that muscle. The fruit will be peace and freedom. And rather than say a bald no you can say: “Is it OK with you if I say no to that   ?” It works.

Honest and open communication is a passion of mine and makes for a much more peaceful and productive life. Asking great questions is one of the keys to that. What do you think? Love to hear your comments below.

Take Care, Brian.







Is It Impossible – Or Just Difficult…?

I love questions. Questions are, I believe, one of the major keys to knowledge and understanding. Ask a good question and we will get a good answer. That allows us to ask a better question and get a better answer and on we go up the ladder of knowledge and understanding.

I like to gather great questions and this is the start of a series about some of the great questions I have collected.

I am starting with one of my all-time favourites:


This is a question I have been asking a lot recently of clients and friends – and myself, with some irritation. It is always more comfortable to be the asker of questions than to be the receiver.

But I do think this is one of the great questions. How often do we have challenges or difficulties or seemingly unattainable objectives and find ourselves stepping back, giving up or letting go? What is it that goes through our minds at that time? I would offer that it is our internal conversation that causes most of the grief. “That’s impossible…”, “I can’t do that…”, “No way…”, are some of the thoughts that can go through my mind. What about you…?

And that’s the issue for me. It’s the thoughts that go through our mind that stop us. We don’t often speak these thoughts out loud but unbeknownst to us (until now!) there is a part of our brain that is set up deliberately to ‘keep us safe’. It is programmed to stop us stepping out or doing any thing that might cause stress, anxiety or have the possibility of failure.

Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

And that is the power of this question. It causes a massive pattern interrupt – it stops that program dead in its tracks. In our mind we are thinking “this is impossible…” and then the question comes “is it impossible, or just difficult…?”

When you stop to think about it  – “well it’s not really impossible, is it?” because at the end of the day mostly everything is possible, eventually.

What it does is open up the doors of possibility and access the part of our brain that is programmed for action. Now our mind starts to bring up all sorts of possibilities that support the view that maybe it IS possible. That gets us into motion toward our objective and each step we take gives us a new perspective and starts to develop momentum and build an internal belief that it really is possible, after all.

I wonder have you had experiences such as this where a good question asked at an opportune time changed your perspective and a delivered a better outcome than you expected. I would love for you to share that with me. Also, if you have any great questions in your toolbox, do share them in the comments below.

My Moment of Clarity today is that great questions are keys to unlock doors to our future. Who knows what treasures lie buried within us just waiting for the right question to throw the door open?

Back soon with the next great question.