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Self-management: It may be fun to say ‘no’.

How do you set boundaries correctly? Objectively and professionally. About the finding that the word ‘no’ is a complete sentence. Why good self-management helps against overload and why it is so important to make unmistakable announcements. And doing so with joy.

Why is it especially important for start-ups and young entrepreneurs to be able to say ‘no’ well and with pleasure?

Some young people expect to be liked by everyone. Unfortunately, this is an unfulfillable need. Really new ideas or behavior, rarely please everyone. To say ‘no’ well, I should expect that the other person will not be pleased about it, that they feel dissapointed, or whatever. And the other person has a right to do so, in any case. It is quite sufficient that the person has understood the NO.

Do women have more issues with saying ‘no’?

I know many women who have an issue with clearly saying ‘no’. But many men are also unclear, and send ‘NO, but-maybe-see-you-tomorrow’ messages. The consequences are misunderstandings, ambiguity, annoyance. Things simply cannot be worked through because they end up on the table again and again. This creates frustration and even more work. No one needs that.

Everyone has way too much to do. Self-management is crucial.

It’s a question of deciding what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. Especially the ‘I don’t want to do’- part is so important.
If at the end of my priority list there is still laundry to be done, the last professional article to be read, and the last Christmas cards to be written to good customers, then I finally have the feeling that I will never be finished.
Most people are familiar with the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), the fear of missing something. But equally, there is a JOY of Missing out (JOMO), the joy of letting something be. Let go off. Yes, it may also be fun to say ‘no’.

I should consciously say ‘no’ from time to time, simply to not overload myself. And that should feel good.

This is the only way I can get away from just working through to-do lists and time management tools. By the way, the best book on this topic for me is ‘‚Four Thousand Weeks‘ by Oliver Burkemann. Interesting views on the limited time we all have to live. Highly recommended to very performance-driven people.

Does a culture of ‘being allowed to say no’ help to keep the best people on the team?

In my personal experience, good people need others on the team to stand up to them. Friction generates energy, generates creativity.

If someone has to fight for their idea because someone else is capable of questioning it objectively and appreciatively, this challenges not only top people. In a positive sense. Saying ‘no’ can be extremely motivating.

Clarity before niceness

‘No’ is already a complete sentence. By the way, we also like to use it in dialog with teenagers, who like to ignore a ‘no’. But there we can learn: More words do not mean more understanding. Here, as there, clarity wins out over niceness.
Showing a clear stance on the matter without fear of not pleasing the other person can help to make your point: Saying what works. And what doesn’t.

Note: The conversation was conducted by a highly appreciated colleague of mine with the good questions she asked me. Thank you.

3 ways to practice saying ‘no’.

  • Practice in front of the mirror: say ‘no.’ Out loud. Listen to yourself?
    Again. Try it. At the same time, think(!) it. Only ‘NO’. Nothing else. Spare yourself further words. Only NO. Do you believe yourself?
  • Go out and practice setting boundaries where it’s obvious: with unpleasant fellows in the supermarket queue, or when strangers get closer as you like or talks you up.  Come up with the word NO. Say it. Just that.
  • Now practice it in your professional or personal life. Say NO. Think NO. Kindly and firmly when something bothers you. Endure the short pause afterward. Do you feel the difference? Does the effect convince you yourself? Do you like it?
Foto: Shutterstock 2036743370-huge
Foto: Peter Gallaghen @Shutterstock 2036743370-huge.jpeg