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Day #4: Say NO To People-Pleasing
You kicked day #3 in the butt, right?
You PAUSED before responding to a request. Then, possibly said…
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”
— Warren Buffett
This may be the most important lesson you learn in the entire 30 days of NO-vember.
It is also probably the biggest, and most difficult lesson to learn in the art of saying NO. There's a reason we've had to work up to it: it's not going to be a walk in the park, but it will be a life-changing moment when you recognize one very simple thing:
Not everyone needs to like you.
The courage to be 'disliked' is something you will need to learn to have in your toolkit in order to get better at saying No. It doesn't mean every time you say NO to someone they're going to hate you. They may not even dislike you; in fact, in many cases, they will respect you more. But, if they do get their nose out of joint when you gracefully refuse a request, it's most often more about them than it is about you.
Being a people-pleaser, your reflexive "Yes" to every request is so deeply ingrained in your personality that sometimes it feels like saying NO is impossible. It goes so deeply against your will that you just can't muster a NO. I'm not just talking about family and friends here - I'm talking about your entire chain of command at work.
Yes; you want to make a good impression on your boss, and your colleagues. You want to adhere to company values. You want to be a model employee. Do you know what makes an even better employee? A radically productive person. Peer pressure will never go away. The way you react to it is the only thing you have control of.
You can master how to say...
Here's a story I've always enjoyed about someone I admire that will be instructive. Read it, then click on the recommended reading below for tools on how to say no, firmly without the fear of being disliked.
The Story of Shane Parrish:
Shane started out his career right after graduation, in an intelligence agency, working with the government within a very niche cyber-related area.
In the first year, his boss would show up at his desk and throw new projects at him almost every single day. The projects weren’t the type where you spend 15 minutes and voila, get a solution. They were simply busywork. Shane’s response?
“That sounds amazing, but it’s not for me. I’m busy enough.”
Yep, his boss came to him and gave him work and he responded with a NO. Shane Parrish was the new kid there, and every single one of colleagues pulled him aside and told him “You’re not going to get anywhere with that attitude.”
But Shane knew the difference between busywork and work which moves the needle. While everyone was zigging, doing everything their bosses wanted them to do and going nowhere with that, Shane Parrish was zagging and focusing only on the crucial work.1
Again, telling your boss NO is quite simple, but not easy.
Enduring your peer pressure is quite simple, but not easy.
Staying on your course when everyone tells you to change it is simple, but not easy.
Baby steps. NO takes practice. Start small, and work your way up.
Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga -- The courage to be 'disliked' (Affiliate link)
Further Reading:has some fantastic tips for saying an effective NO, including:
Slow your no roll.
Follow the Golden Rule.
Scapegoats are great goats.
Add a compliment condiment.
No, but make it a pictogram!
File under “Nope.”
Don’t get cocky.
Read the details of each tip below: