Tools to help founders succeed

Learning to say "no" in the right situations is a crucial skill every business owner must possess. In this article, we will teach you why it is so difficult to say no, what its benefits are and how you can apply it yourself without feeling guilty.

Why is it so hard to say no?

We have all been raised with the idea that we must provide harmony. That is a great idea, but it creates a mindset that makes it difficult for us later to estimate when it is okay to say 'no'. Let alone in our youth, we learn how to say 'no' at all.

We don't want to hurt or kick others by nature, especially when it comes to colleagues or friends. We fear that if we say 'no' we will disappoint them and our relationship with them will deteriorate.

Once we realize that this is not the case and that in some cases it is even better to say 'no', the sooner you will see the benefits this brings.

It's better for your health

When you always say yes, the priorities of others will consume most of your time. So, others will determine your life, not you.

In that case, it becomes very difficult to give enough energy to your priorities. Not only will you be constantly occupied which can lead to severe stress, but you will also simply not have time to do what gives you satisfaction or makes you happy.

So saying 'no' in the right situations is better for your health, both physically and mentally. So prioritize your priorities and get more out of life.

You get more respect

By saying no, you show others that you respect yourself and that you know what you are doing. This will raise your status and you will therefore receive more respect from others.

But saying 'no' is also a form of respect towards others. When you always say yes, you will be busy with so many things and perhaps also do certain things against your will, that you cannot always do with full conviction what is asked of you. As a result, you may deliver half the work that is not according to the expectations of the other. By only saying 'yes' to things you can and want to go for, you will be able to deliver better results. So you respect the other person's question, but you will also regain more respect for your work.

It's better for your business.

Always saying 'yes' can distract you from your path. On our blog, we have often spoken about the importance of a good focus, because that ensures that you can go straight for your goal.

Consider the advice of renowned entrepreneur Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal: "Ask yourself why you can't achieve your 10-year plan in 6 months." By doing this exercise, you will quickly discover which things you are doing now does not help you achieve your own goals. You will discover this to which things you now say 'yes', which are not relevant at all to you.

How to say 'no' without negative consequences

Because we have never been taught explicitly, it is difficult for many to say 'no'. This is how you do it:

  1. Check if you understand what is being asked of you. Ask the other to clearly explain exactly what they expect and ask additional questions if necessary.
  2. Explain why you are saying 'no'. So don't just say 'no', but give the other person a clear explanation of why you are saying that. For example, say, "I'd love to help you, but at the moment I can't, BECAUSE I don't have enough (time/knowledge/resources / ...) to complete the job according to your expectations."
  3. Make sure the other person understands you. In this case, you can say, for example, "Hopefully you understand why I can't help with this right now?" If necessary, wait for his or her response to provide further explanation or to look for an alternative together.

Conclusion: saying 'no' is also saying 'yes'

By saying 'no' in some cases, you are saying 'yes' to other opportunities. These should be the opportunities that will move you or your business forward the most and where your priorities lie. When you have a hard time rejecting things, this mindset can help you do that so that you don't start feeling guilty.

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