Saying 'No' without the guilt

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘don’t accept no for an answer’?

When it’s said in a business sense, I totally understand the positive intention – not to give up – but for me this phrase reeks of masculine, aggressive energy. I hate it.

As a consumer I know whether the answer is no or not and so do my clients. Yes, we might be saying no because of a limiting belief, but pushing isn’t going to change that. If they’re at a place of ‘no’ then I am doing them and myself a disservice by banging on!

I’m sure you’re the same. If a potential client or customer says ‘no’ to you, even if it’s hard to hear, you know the best thing to do is accept that and move on.

So why is it so difficult when the shoe’s on the other foot and it’s us that needs to say ‘no’?

I’ve already said the answer…because we know, as entrepreneurs, that sometimes ‘no’ is a hard word to hear. It can bring up feelings of failure and rejection, and they’re not fun places to be.

And when we think we might be causing those feelings for someone else, we feel guilty.

We therefore avoid it, meaning we say ‘yes’ to things that aren’t aligned, we don’t have the time, space, energy or ability for and that we potentially resent. Also, not good!

In this blog I will not only be sharing tips on how to say ‘no’ and feel better about it but also how to hear ‘no’, because the two, as you see are interlinked.

Hearing ‘No’

When a potential client says ‘no’ to us, it tells us so much about where they are right now. It is not a comment on how good we are or how good the service or product we are offering is.

While it is totally natural for ‘no’s to bring up unpleasant feelings - this is our minds way of trying to protect us – it’s actually really valuable feedback for our business. It can tell us:

- More about our ideal client, what they want and what they need right now.

- Where our messaging is working and where it isn’t.

- How we feel about a particular business model – for example if you’re hearing no’s during a launch and it’s getting you down, maybe looking at an evergreen model might be more appropriate.`

Some ‘no’s will actually be ‘not now thank you’ and some will be ‘no never’ -

sometimes it’s hard to tell but my advice would always be to celebrate them. That person knows where they’re at right now and they have made a decision, good for them, let’s hope they find what they need. And if what they need is you, you’ll be there when they’re ready.

Saying ‘No’

This is something so many entrepreneurs struggle with! You are not alone!

However, not learning to say ‘no’ when it is appropriate violates your boundaries and values and will lead to discontent and possibly evolve to overwhelm and burn out. Not good!

Please believe me when I say, you do not owe anybody anything and if your answer is ‘no’ that is your answer. Anything that comes up for them because of that answer is their choice, not your responsibility.

That being said, I know how hard it can be to say just ‘no’ – total kudos to those that can, ‘no’ can be a full sentence!

Personally, I like to – but don’t have to – provide a short explanation of why I am saying ‘no’. For example: ‘No thank you, I’m not looking to invest that much right now’ or ‘No I won’t be able to do that free speaking gig because I am at capacity for unpaid opportunities at the moment’.

It is so important to remember that your boundaries matter.

We can’t please everyone all of the time and too often by trying to we stop pleasing ourselves!

Again, reframing how you see the ‘no’ can really help.

When we respect our boundaries, we are giving off a really powerful energy. An energy that says I respect me, and I respect you… people like that! If you say ‘yes’ to something but actually feel resentful towards it, then that energy will come across somehow.

When I first started my business, I ordered some cute printed gifts to give out to clients. I ordered them from a new networking connection. She said yes to my order and gave me a date they would be delivered. That date came and went and so I asked what was going on. She told me they would take another week (annoying, I had client sessions booked in where I wanted to give the gifts, I’d now have to arrange postage) and that they had been an absolute nightmare to make. She informed me that she was really busy so had tried to rush my order through but that had ended up with loads of wastage so now she wasn’t making any money from the job. Eeeek!

I told her I was grateful for the effort she had put in, but I was cancelling the order. I didn’t want this energy put into what was supposed to be a lovely positive gift for clients who had gone through huge change.

Of course, I felt compassion for her situation – the loss of an order, the wastage etc. however, that was not my responsibility to bear.

If only she had said ‘no’ in the first place. Accepted her workload, been honest with herself and me.

Protect the energy by protecting your boundaries – it really is the best thing for all involved.

In my membership I have a hypnotic meditation recording called ‘The Positive No’. It’s designed to help you learn to accept when ‘no’ is the best answer and how it benefits all involved. It’s just one of the many resources brought together to support your positive mindset and business development.

You can learn more about my membership, The Bubble, here:

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