Global Leadership Blog

Female Assertiveness

Say “NO” Today

You wake up in the morning having every minute of the day planned. You have a to-do list a mile long and no time can be spared in tackling it. But then, your boss asks if you can pick up an extra project. You say, “sure.” Your neighbor asks if you can check on their pets while they’re away, you say, “of course.” Your child’s school asks if you can help out with a fundraiser that evening, you say, “no problem.” Now, you’re overworked, stressed and overwhelmed…

Here’s a suggestion—just say “no.”

Women, in particular, experience the scenario above. We have problems with saying no because:

  • We are conditioned to be perfectionists and, therefore, think we need to do it all and do it to the nth degree;
  • A sense of harmony, collaboration and even care-taking are so important to us we find it to be rude or unsupportive of others if we say no to tasks;
  • And—this is a bit of a touchy subject—many women don’t feel as if they’re valuable unless they’re doing things for others. They take things on to feel validated.

I would like to challenge women to say “no” today.

If someone asks you to do a task, say no. If someone asks you if they could borrow something of yours, say no. If someone tries to take some of your time today, say no.

You can say no and not feel bad about it—in fact, you will feel better by not overloading yourself and impacting others by your stress levels. But say no and then explain the reasons why. Make your boundaries clear. Explain why you want to protect your time, energy, or brain capacity.

You CAN say no and not feel bad about it! {TWEET THIS}

Here are some phrases to use:

  • No, I have too much on my plate at the moment.
  • No, I have other priorities I need to finish today.
  • No, I can’t do that this week but I will consider it for next week.

Saying no doesn’t equal being rude. And you don’t have to sound unhappy when you say it. Saying no can be liberating because you’re exercising control over your time, and, well, life. It’s giving you the power to live by what you value.

So, say no today (with an explanation) and see how that feels— and let me know how it goes.

Other posts by I have written on Interpersonal Communication:

Facilitate Your Success by Managing Up

Creating Feedback Culture in Your Global Team

Send More Female Managers to Work Across Cultures

Melissa Lamson

About The Author

Melissa Lamson, Founder and President of Lamson Consulting, is an author, consultant, and speaker who accelerates the business expansion goals of today’s most successful companies by developing global mindset, refining leadership skills, and bridging cross cultural communication. More About Melissa Lamson