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It Really is ok to Say No

Let's be honest; our lives are hectic and, at times, downright exhausting. We have a million balls to juggle in our personal and professional lives. We feel like we have to be perfect in both. We believe we must pursue the promotion, regardless of the consequences to our personal lives. The flip side of it is that we feel if we take a personal day or vacation, we are neglecting our professional responsibilities. Am I right?

As I said, it's a juggle to balance it all, at least for me. So the question is, how do we manage it? How do we have what I like to call our cake and eat it too? How do we advance our professional lives while being present for our loved ones? It's not easy, and I certainly don't have all the answers, but I am learning that it is a simple word that I am starting to use that was the hardest word I ever used, and that is no.

If you know me, you know I am a people pleaser and that I have always found it hard to say no when being asked to help and will always do my best to do so, but I have finally learned it is ok to say the word "no." We often see "no" in a negative light, as if it is a part of the seven deadly words you don't say. I honestly felt this way until recently. I thought by saying no, I was letting someone down or worse, hurting someone's feelings. Then I realized that by saying yes, I was hurting the people I cared most about: my family and friends. I would have to postpone dinner plans or not make it to a ball game as I had already committed to someone or

something else. We have all been there and it often feels like we are failing in our personal lives for the sake of being considered for a promotion or raise at work.

How often do we say, "I will have more time when..." I have said this a million times and realized that it is never going to happen unless you make it happen. When one conflict ends, another begins; that is life, and unless we say the dreaded word no, we may miss out on what is truly important. I was a yes person in every sense of the word. I would say yes to helping out at every event, and I would come in early and stay late and never say the words "sorry I can't." I have plans It impacted my health as I would never put myself first.

Now I have learned there is really power in the word no. Now I am not saying you have to say no all the time or be rude. It is always important to help your community and friends and family when you can, but the power comes with finding a balance that is often one-sided. It's about mental health and not overextending yourself to the point that you are burnt out and sacrificing what is essential. Having that promotion or corner office would be a dream for many of us, especially as women, who often feel we have to do it all to get there. We feel we have to say yes or we will be passed over for that promotion. It sometimes even prevents us from running for office.

It's time as women to be OK with the word "no." I often say to others by responding via text, phone, or email, "I can't make it work as I have a conflict but would be available at this time or another time that works for you." I often give a few options as it shows you are meeting them halfway and are interested in making it work and gives you that flexibility to balance your personal life.

By doing this, you are setting boundaries; you are giving your employer or prospective client a clear picture that they are a priority, but so are your other commitments. Also, let them know you value them and their time by saying I will meet you at another time that works for them.

I know you're saying this is easier said than done, and, to be honest, it is at times, and it will take some time to get used to. With the power of no you, let's learn that you will be a healthier, happier, and more honest you.

Let me know. In the comments, your tips for balancing your personal and professional life.

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