I’m going to share with you a magic word. Not the one we all learned as children.
Most of my regular readers know about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen. Five women authors traveling together on the long and winding road to overnight success. Each of us five women bring something unique to the group. I sometimes think my contribution is the ability to say no.
The first time someone (I’m pretty sure it was Linda Apple, often known in the group as Mama Linda) suggested we do something and my response was, “No. I’m not going to do that.” Well, there was a long moment of stunned disbelief.
“I’m not going to do that.”
The repeat no produced laughter and from that moment, the joke has been– ask Pam, she’ll tell you if she just isn’t going to do that.”
Here’s the thing. And it’s very simple.
Time and energy are like beachfront property. They’re not making any more of the stuff. So, when someone suggests something that requires a commitment of either of those commodities, a simple no is sufficient.
There’s no reason to manufacture a lame excuse or fumble for a polite way to get out of doing a task you don’t want to do. No means no.
Do not justify. You’ll end up talking yourself into the task instead of out of it. If you absolutely cannot say a simple no, than say no the southern way.
“Why bless your heart. Thank you for thinking of me for that opportunity. Let me check my calendar and get back to you.”
Then text a simple no. Sooner or later you’ll grow tired of the extra step and just say, “No. I’m not going to do that.”
People sometimes ask me, “I understand you write five to six hours a day! How on earth can you do that? Aren’t you interrupted by your family and friends and the neighbor wanting to borrow your lawnmower and your sister who absolutely, positively most talk to you right this moment about the same basic crap she talked to you about yesterday?”
No. I am not interrupted. I don’t answer my phone in the mornings. I don’t answer the door. My husband values his life and does not interrupt my writing. I say no to interruption and it goes away.
No is a magic word. It says I am valuable and my needs are as important as yours. It frees you from stress and resentment and opens the door to creative energy. It also tells people that when you say yes to something, you’re doing it because you genuinely want to spend time with them or work with them on the task to which you’ve agreed.
All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Mathew 5:37
Try it, I promise it’s better than a magic wand.