The Magic Word

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 PenFive 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.

c101612 327

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.

About Author and Speaker Pamela Foster

Pamela Foster is a speaker and author. Her first book, Redneck Goddess, is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Her second book, Bigfoot Blues, will be available in August 2012.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Magic Word

  1. frog5 says:

    I once had a girlfriend who used to say “I’ll think about it means no.”

  2. Yes! NO to someone else is YES to yourself. And No isn’t always a closed door, it could be a Not right now, or Not in that way, or Not me but maybe (someone else).
    Thanks for the reminder – let’s all be 2 years old again! (when appropriate)

  3. Jan Morrill says:

    “No” truly is a magical word, with lots of power. I just want to know if there’s anyone out there willing to lend me a wand. 🙂

    A good and important post, Pam!

  4. frog5 says:

    My eldest daughter’s first words were–not “dada” nor “mama”–but “I not!” She was thus an early proponent of Pam’s dictum.

  5. claudia says:

    Wonderful post…something I needed to be reminded of today.

  6. This is also an important concept when faced with well-meaning people at church who want you do to do everything because you’re willing to help. 🙂


  7. I’m glad that sometimes you don’t say “No.” Sisters of the Traveling Pen teach, entertain, and inspire. So, glad “Yes” is also used.

  8. “No” has been the hardest word I’ve ever uttered, but it brings the greatest relief, too. Great post 🙂

  9. jalal michael sabbagh. says:

    Delightful post,l wish each one of you health,happiness and lasting friendship..Life is beautiful when you have loving friends.Thank you for liking my post ( The L A times…..) best regards.jalal Michael.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s