5 Benefits of learning to say ‘no’

Say no
Do you find it easy to say no?

For many of us saying no can be difficult and we have all experienced saying yes when we really wanted to say no!

For example, your diary is already full, but you have been asked to squeeze in another meeting and you don't know how to say no. You are working on an important task which has to get done that day, but a colleague has asked for your help and you genuinely want to be helpful. Or you have been asked to take on an activity which you would rather not do, but feel flattered to be asked.

Why we find it hard to say no

Despite leading busy lives, we can often find ourselves taking on tasks which we really don't have time for and later regret.  The fear of offending someone or the genuine desire to be helpful often prevents us from saying no. Perhaps you are avoiding doing something and find it easier to take on tasks which interest you more, creating a helpful distraction. Or maybe you feel flattered that someone has asked YOU which provides a good confidence boost.

One of the main reasons is that you just don't know how to say 'no' with confidence.  You may feel that you have to respond straight away, and therefore don't allow yourself time to think about what you really want to do.

A helpful starting point is to recognise that it's OK to say no. Appreciating that there are times when it is important to say no will help you have the confidence to follow through. 

Be prepared for saying no.  Think about what is the right decision for you to make and understand your reasons. Resist the urge to apologise or make excuses, but instead be honest and confident in your response. If you are unsure how to respond, don't feel the pressure to answer straight away. You can always take some time to think it through, even a few minutes will help.  

Five benefits of saying no 

1. You will be authentic - Being honest about what you want to do will allow you to be true to yourself, and others will see you as genuine and authentic.  

2. Become more productive -  Making decisions based on what is important to you will enable you to work within your priorities rather than someone else's.  You are responsible for your own time!

3. Maintain good boundaries  -  Being self-disciplined about saying no takes away the stress of taking on something you will later regret. Avoid becoming overwhelmed and burnt out by taking on too much. This also applies to learning to say no to distractions, email and social media.

4. Become more confident -  By not worrying about what others may think of you, and letting go of the need to please, you will develop confidence. Most people respect someone being honest and won't see this as a bad thing.

5. Frees you up to say yes! - Being in control of your own time frees you up to do the important stuff, and confidently make decisions based on your own priorities. This is empowering and will allow you to say yes to new possibilities.


Saying no can be difficult. Reclaiming 'no' as a positive option, instead of always believing it to be a negative, will be liberating. Listening to your instinct, understanding your motives and confidently saying no when appropriate will allow you to reap the benefits.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog

My name is Diane Benson and I support busy professionals to be more effective, reduce stress and achieve a healthy balance in life. Providing clarity and focus for a more fulfilling personal and professional life.

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