I have been thinking a lot about this word “no” lately and have come to realize its importance in so many aspects. I believe most people are afraid to use the word “no”, but why? Research tells us that the more difficulty we have in saying the word “no”, the more likely we are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression.
But what if we turned that around and realized the positives that can come from saying “no” when we need to? What if we saw that saying “no” can turn into an opportunity to really focus on something we would prefer to do or something that is more important to us?
For me, I have had to use the word “no” more than I am comfortable with lately. Recently, I had my largest client, who filled most of my schedule, retire. This has led me to have to search out more potential clients in order to fill my schedule. In doing so, I have had a lot of contact with various people. The one question that has come up is “can you lower your rates for me”?
Now, being that I am needing to fill my schedule, the temptation is to say “yes”, and take them on, only then to have to work twice as hard to earn the same amount as I do from my other clients who respectfully pay my full rates. This is where I had to come to a place where I realized that I value myself and deserve the competitive rates I have set. I have earned the right to say “no” and to be okay with that. So I did just that twice this week.
Was it easy? The answer is –no. But did I feel I was doing the right thing? Yes.
It is better to be respected for saying “no” than to be popular for saying “yes”.
To be honest, in searching out new clients I have had many say “yes, I am definitely interested and would like to have you do _________ for me”. “Could you please call me back tomorrow?” I confirm they are ready to proceed, draft a contract for them, prepare the retainer invoice, and then schedule time in my day to call them as they requested in order to get everything finalized. I reach their voice mail, leave a message. I wait a day, send an e-mail. I try again a few days later and still don’t reach them. They don’t call back.
This is where saying a polite “no” is absolutely okay. I respect the answer, and I don’t have to feel that I am being pushy or overly persistent in trying to contact the potential lead who had said “yes” to me. It also leaves me in a position after receiving the polite “no” to carry on to someone else to fill my schedule.
“No” is not a bad word. We need to learn to become more comfortable in using it, both for ourselves and for others.