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How To Say No – Private Excellence


Do you hate to say no? Do you typically end up saying sure since you don’t prefer to make others really feel dangerous?

Properly, I do, and I can relate. I was horrible at saying no till I noticed that regularly saying “sure” was digging myself right into a ditch and led me with little time for my private objectives and relationships.

On this episode of The Private Excellence Podcast, I share 6 tricks to say no that I’ve been making use of, together with private examples:

  • Tip #1: Know what you wish to say sure to [00:57]
  • Tip #2: Know that saying no is okay [04:43]
  • Tip #3: Many little yeses to irrelevant issues, or mildly related issues, even when small, can deviate you out of your principal objective [08:26]
  • Tip #4: Be trustworthy about it [13:22]
  • Tip #5: Give alternate options (in case you like) [19:04]
  • Tip #6: Do a life audit in case you’re getting a excessive noise sign [20:04]

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How To Say No [Transcript]

Welcome to the Private Excellence Podcast, the present that’s all about serving to you be your greatest self and reside your greatest life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua!

Celestine Chua: Hey everybody! Welcome to The Private Excellence Podcast Episode 6. I’m Celestine Chua from Right this moment’s matter actually hits residence for me. It’s about how one can say no.

I don’t learn about you, however I was actually dangerous at saying no. In a method I nonetheless am. However I’ve discovered to be lots higher at it. If you’re somebody who has issue saying no, at this time I wish to share with you six ideas that have labored rather well for me and I hope you’ll discover them useful.

1) Know what’s it you wish to say sure to

My tip primary is to know what you wish to say sure to. For me, after I simply give attention to studying how one can say no as an motion in itself, it turns into a hole quest. As a result of my default self is to assist folks. I prefer to conform to requests as a lot as I can. And I prefer to be there for different folks.

Clearly, this has its personal implications. After numerous conditions the place I simply stored saying sure, sure, sure to each single individual, request, and favor, I simply didn’t have any time for myself, for my objectives.

Then again, after I give attention to the issues that I wish to say sure to, that means my largest objectives and desires, my Quadrant 2 initiatives, this helps me outline this clear imaginative and prescient of the true large priorities in my life. Let’s say I don’t have this clear imaginative and prescient. Every part can merely be necessary. But, when framed into the context the place all of us have restricted time on Earth, all of us have sure ambitions to understand inside our lifetime, then it turns into clear that we have to prioritize the issues that we are saying sure to, and therefore no to the opposite issues.

For me, what I wish to say sure to could be PE. All of you guys. Rising it, creating extra content material for you guys, creating extra nice programs. Simply being there for all of you, by my content material. And naturally, my family members, my members of the family. And my very own private development and well being. These could be the most important rocks I want to say sure to. So these priorities won’t ever change. They’ll simply be there, until the day I die.

Figuring out these key large rocks places into context the issues I ought to say sure to, and the issues I ought to say no to. For instance, let’s say somebody could also be asking for a favor or pitching a proposal or an concept that isn’t match for my enterprise. Then letting it drag on won’t assist my Quadrant 2 objectives, and in reality, waste the opposite individual’s time. It’s clear that I must say no to the distractions, the issues that deviate me from my mission, in addition to time for my family members, my private well being, and sanity.

So my query to you is:

  1. What do you wish to say sure to?
  2. What are your largest objectives and desires?
  3. What are your private ambitions?

By having this clear concept in your thoughts, it helps you change into extra conscious that — among the issues that you’ve been having issue saying no to? These are in all probability issues that it’s good to say no to. By dragging on and saying sure to issues that you could be not be 100% dedicated to or keen about, that’s not likely serving to you understand your highest objectives and desires.

2) Saying no is okay

My tip quantity two is to know that saying no is OK.

Prior to now, I felt that after I say no, I might be considered an asshole. That folks would hate me. That I might simply be seen as being ungenuine, simply not being true to my mission. I didn’t need that as a result of I simply actually from the underside of my coronary heart wish to be there for everyone as a lot as potential.

So I simply stored saying sure to each single request, favor, that got here alongside my method. Ultimately, even with giving up my very own sleep and simply working across the clock, I nonetheless didn’t have time for the objectives that I want to pursue, my very own priorities, and my family members, and far much less my well being.

So I discovered the onerous method that saying no, not solely is it OK, however it is extremely a lot crucial. For such a very long time, I simply tried so onerous and tried my greatest to not say no to folks. As a result of I felt that it wasn’t OK. However I discovered that arduous and painful method that this isn’t true and saying no is okay, and in reality crucial in lots of circumstances.

What I’ve discovered from this episode is that whenever you say no, it doesn’t imply that you’re being impolite otherwise you’re not being true. If something, whenever you say no to one thing that you’re not 100% dedicated to, and also you’re actually simply saying sure since you’re afraid to say no? That’s when you find yourself not being true. You’re not being true to your self and also you’re not being true to that individual you’re saying sure to. As a result of you don’t really feel 100% dedicated to that trigger or request or favor, regardless of the different social gathering is requesting.

Being true means that you’re being trustworthy and genuine by way of how you’re feeling. If it’s a no-go, otherwise you don’t really feel prefer it’s one thing you’ll be able to say sure to, then simply be trustworthy about that. That’s what it means to be truthful. You possibly can’t anticipate all people’s query or requests would all the time be 100% aligned with your individual wants and expectations. Many instances, they’re simply not going to be. That is particularly so if you’re ready the place you typically get folks pitching issues to you, the place folks need your time and a focus, or perhaps you’re a guide that individuals would really like your recommendation. You’d in all probability end up in conditions the place there are issues that aren’t aligned with your individual priorities and wishes, and it’s important to say no to.

When that occurs, that is 100% okay and regular. You shouldn’t really feel that you’re an asshole, or that you’re a unfavourable individual, or that you’re within the fallacious as a result of that isn’t true in any respect. Folks say no on a regular basis on this world, be in relationships or in enterprise. Saying no is required to let different folks know that this isn’t aligned, this isn’t understanding. Then they will transfer on to search out the best individual that might be match for no matter they’re requesting about.

3) Many little yeses to irrelevant issues can deviate you

My tip quantity three is to know that many little yeses to irrelevant issues, or mildly irrelevant issues — even when this stuff are small, they will in the end nonetheless deviate you out of your principal objective.

That is additionally one thing that I needed to understand for myself. I all the time attempt to accommodate different folks’s wants. I all the time wish to guarantee that everyone seems to be completely happy, and there are not any conflicts and so forth.

In order that implies that oftentimes prior to now, I might wish to say sure. Typically when it’s a really clear-cut scenario the place it’s about saying no, I simply say no. However then there are the conditions the place it’s simply one thing that requires a really small quantity of your time. half-hour, two hours, one hour, no matter. It’s only a small dedication of your time, and then you definately could be pondering, Yeah why not?

So doing that, I ended up saying sure to so many issues. It could possibly be a favor, a request, an invite to one thing, an interview with X publication, meetups, and so forth. Like every part! I simply stored saying sure as a result of I’d be pondering, Yeah why not? This seems like one thing I can allocate a few hours to. And I simply genuinely needed to be there for every and all people who contacted me.

However after years of doing that, my agenda turned flooded with folks’s requests, needs, and wishes. Regardless that every request would take perhaps half-hour, an hour or two or three, when added collectively, it turned an enormous load on myself. It obtained to a degree the place I used to be going loopy. I might be staying up late day by day, replying to emails or fulfilling sure issues that I had agreed to prior to now. And since I all the time needed to place my greatest foot ahead — I don’t imagine in agreeing to one thing after which simply doing it shabbily. I all the time really feel like if I’m agreeing to one thing, I wish to put my greatest foot ahead to that. And I did. So Ken could be seeing me sleeping so late day by day, and he would all the time be expressing concern. I noticed that I actually should be extra watchful in how I allocate my time as a result of we don’t have limitless time on Earth.

This tip is de facto about being discerning of the issues that you just say sure to. As a result of even when it’s only one small factor that appears mildly related and takes slightly little bit of your time, whenever you say sure to quite a lot of this stuff, in the end you’re going to get deviated very far out of your principal objective.

Throughout this entire interval the place I simply stored saying “Sure” and “Why not?” to the entire little issues that had been mildly related or that I assumed I might supply a little bit of my time to, this resulted in me neglecting my total Quadrant 2 objectives for PE, be it content material creation, article writing, and so forth. That simply made me really feel depressing as a result of in making an attempt to say sure to each single little factor that was mildly irrelevant, in the long run, I ended up saying no to this enormous factor which is so essential to me and impacts so many individuals on a big scale.

This hyperlinks again to tip primary about understanding what you wish to say sure to. As a result of whenever you’re simply saying though yeses to the entire little issues, in the end you’re simply saying no to that large factor you want to accomplish.

The query to you is: Is that this what you need? Would you reasonably be spending your time doing little issues which are mildly related to your desires, your objectives, your life? Or do you wish to commit your vitality targeted on doing these one, two, three large issues that might offer you that most success whenever you understand them?

Properly, the query is to you. I do know I wish to select the latter. That’s as a result of after I do the latter effectively, I’ll affect much more folks on a a lot greater scale. That provides me much more that means, success, and happiness in life.

4) Be trustworthy about it

My tip quantity 4 is to be trustworthy about it.

I do know we could be actually powerful to say no and talk it to somebody. In fact, we really feel like we might be hated and we might look like we’re nasty people after we are saying no. Some folks could not take that effectively.

However that isn’t a purpose to not say no. If something, it helps to only talk that purpose straight now, in order that the opposite individual can know the way you actually really feel. Versus residing within the charade and residing behind pretenses.

Truly, a lot of the instances, you wouldn’t even want to provide a purpose in case you’re not precisely near the individual. But when there may be some sturdy preexisting relationship, and in case you simply wish to be trustworthy, then you’ll be able to simply give the rationale if it makes you’ll really feel higher.

Instance: After I mentioned no to a request

So a pair months in the past, I acquired a request from somebody and he was inviting me to affix his firm on his board of advisors. This was a excessive honor. And that is somebody who is essential and of excessive standing. And I did take into account that.

However after I considered what I actually wish to say sure to… As what I discussed simply now, what I wish to say sure to, like my large sure, could be to develop PE additional, to create all this nice content material for you guys that can assist you in your development. And to be there for the neighborhood. I’ve identified from my previous experiences that PE takes up a good stage of my time. If I had been to allocate my time elsewhere, it might simply be diverting my time from what actually issues to me. It will be the form of nice-to-be-involved undertaking — like issues that I stored getting quite a lot of through the years and that I’ve mentioned sure to numerous instances, however in the long run it took up a lot of my time and vitality and left me drained on the finish of the day with no time for my well being, relationships, and my most necessary objectives.

So I noticed that I wanted to say no, and it was about speaking that no. So then I replied to the e-mail and I drafted it out. I considered how one can greatest current my stance with out offending this individual. (I didn’t offend him.) I definitely didn’t need wish to burn bridges.

After which I simply typed my e-mail after which deleted some stuff, after which typed some extra. Left it there for a few hours. Got here again later to have a look at it with contemporary eyes to see [if there was] something that wanted amending. Within the strategy of typing that e-mail, I made a decision to be trustworthy versus developing with random excuses.

So yeah. I simply wrote actually about how I really feel that as an honor, however I don’t really feel like I could be concerned on this as a result of to take action would take away time from crucial objectives and initiatives in my life. If I wish to be concerned in one thing, I wish to be concerned in it 100%. However I don’t really feel I’m capable of commit 100% to this factor, and due to that, I must say no. After which I clicked ship.

After that, I used to be slightly bit anxious as a result of I used to be frightened that I would offend him.

Properly, in lower than a day, I acquired an e-mail reply from him. He mentioned he learn the e-mail with a smile on his face and never even to fret about it as a result of he wasn’t offended in any method in any respect. And he simply wished me all one of the best. That was that! So in my thoughts, I used to be frightened about whether or not I might be offending him, and I used to be spending just a few days interested by how one can articulate my reply. He simply replied in lower than a day and simply mentioned, don’t sweat it!

A variety of instances our worries about saying no, it might effectively simply be in our thoughts, you already know? We could also be frightened about how folks could really feel, might imagine, and so forth. And that’s with good purpose clearly. As a result of we don’t wish to be nasty folks. We don’t wish to be impolite to folks. We don’t wish to make folks really feel dangerous if we will. I completely perceive that.

However generally, perhaps sure persons are actually simply articulating a request or suggestion. Perhaps they’re doing the identical factor to different folks as effectively. Perhaps they’re not even pondering an excessive amount of about that.

So versus placing the burden of the world in your shoulders, perhaps what actually helps is simply being trustworthy in your communications and to not fear or suppose an excessive amount of about one thing till it has occurred. As a result of because the saying goes, over 90-95% of the concerns that we have now, are usually simply in our minds.

5) Give alternate options

My fifth tip is to provide alternate options.

If it makes you’re feeling higher, you’ll be able to counsel alternate options. That is an non-compulsory tip. You don’t have to try this as a result of you’ll be able to’t presumably be suggesting alternate options to each single factor that you just say no to, particularly in case you typically must say no.

However, as and whenever you really feel applicable, you may give some different ideas that the individual can take into account. Let’s say somebody needs you to get entangled within the specific undertaking and you may’t. Then you’ll be able to counsel another person in case you can consider somebody who could be appropriate.

You don’t essentially have to try this however in case you really feel prefer it’s one thing that may make you’re feeling higher, and you may supply it with out vital price in your finish, then you definately may give alternate options.

6) Do a life audit

My sixth and final tip is to do a life audit in case you’re getting a excessive noise sign.

What do I imply by that? I’ve discovered that for each request, there’s all the time an analysis course of the place you’re pondering, Ought to I have interaction on this? Ought to I not? What are the trade-offs? What’s going to it price? What do I must put in? What might doubtlessly be the end result from this?  

This is called cognitive load. Cognitive load is that load in your thoughts whenever you’re processing a call. Whenever you’re coping with only one request or two requests, that cognitive load isn’t obvious. However whenever you’re coping with a excessive quantity of requests for an prolonged time period, you in all probability will really feel drained after a while — but you’ll be able to’t actually perceive why.

So you would be not doing a lot, however you continue to really feel a load in your thoughts. That may be cognitive load at work.

Let’s say you’re getting so many requests that require your psychological vitality to course of, to suppose by, and to weigh the professionals and cons. That may be very draining. Ideally, you wish to reduce down the variety of requests that it’s important to course of and to extend the hit fee. Hit fee is the prospect of a request being suitable with what you want to do.

If you’re getting quite a lot of requests that aren’t a match and that it’s good to regularly take into consideration how one can reject, then that is what I name a excessive noise sign. Excessive noise sign that means that there’s a excessive ratio of requests which are incompatible and therefore the time period “noise.”

So through the years, I’ve been receiving quite a lot of requests. Initially, within the first few years, it was manageable. After some time, it began to crush on me. It wasn’t one thing that was instantly obvious. This was one thing that simply began increase over the months and years.

Just some months in the past, I began pondering, What am I doing? In that, I used to be feeling so weighed down by this excessive noise sign. Sadly, there’s simply a lot noise on the Web as of late. Simply by the corollary of getting an Web presence, that additionally implies that you get a really excessive quantity of spam and random requests from folks not studying the directions on the contact web page. So I handled that drawback for fairly some time, after which I employed my assistant final yr who began to be concerned in serving to me handle my e-mail and that helped me tons.

However in the end, whether or not it’s e-mail processing performed by me or my assistant, the entire scenario simply didn’t really feel proper. In that, a really very small minority of the e-mails that had been coming in had been a match for what I want to pursue. Particularly as I obtained extra readability on the necessary initiatives that I want to be concerned in, which might be scale-based actions like creating content material, engaged on on-line programs at PE, simply constructing the neighborhood at giant. It was so little like I believe final yr out of the 1000’s of e-mails that got here in, lower than 5 had been a match for what I want to pursue.

With this revelation, I noticed that I wanted to assessment the communication channels on my web site.

  • I wanted to say no to 1-1 teaching as a result of this was not a match with the scale-based path that I needed to enter. Like I actually take pleasure in 1-1 teaching. However it was now not possible to maintain taking over 1-1 teaching shoppers as a result of it was taking my time away from different scale-based initiatives.
  • It additionally meant saying no meet-up requests which I might get lots off as a result of these had been simply taking on quite a lot of my time and vitality as effectively.
  • It additionally meant eradicating my e-mail from the PE contact web page as a result of lots of people had been abusing it and sending issues that weren’t related to no matter I discussed on that web page.

Doing that helped filter quite a lot of the noise.

So versus taking on all this time to consider which e-mails had been price pursuing, which e-mails to archive and so forth, all this vitality can then be spent and invested right into a extra constructive use. Like bettering the general platform. Creating new materials for all of you guys and so forth.

That is only one instance. When there’s a excessive stage of noise sign in your life, that means that one thing is misaligned and it’s one thing to look into.

A very completely different instance: Let’s say you’re single and also you’re courting. You’re searching for your supreme relationship. However maybe you’ve been getting so many alternative date requests. A variety of them are usually low-quality dates. Low-quality dates within the sense of dates that aren’t suitable with you, your values, and the form of individual you’re searching for.

If that’s the case, it helps to do some audit. Perhaps you’re simply going to the fallacious locations to fulfill folks. Perhaps the dates that you just’ve been getting, perhaps they’re coming from a selected channel, like a selected courting app or courting web site, and perhaps the viewers profile on these websites or apps are simply not match for the form of individual you’re and the form of individual you’re searching for.

That is assuming that your courting image, your courting profile, that every part is already optimized and true to who you’re and the way you wish to current your self. Then maybe there’s one thing to be reviewed. Perhaps it’s about going to a special place to fulfill new folks. Perhaps is about exploring completely different channels, completely different apps, completely different courting web sites. Mainly altering your strategy versus perpetuating that cycle.

So the tip objective is to repeatedly enhance the processes in your life: the way in which that you just’re doing issues, the way you’re speaking with folks. The perfect situation is to get a wholesome quantity of requests which are an incredible match for what you want to pursue you could readily say sure to. And there could be a excessive hit ratio.

Closing Word

I hope you’ve discovered at this time’s podcast useful. For extra on how one can say no, try my article on how one can say no, at

Each podcast takes quite a lot of work to create. If you happen to’ve discovered The Private Excellence Podcast useful in any method, I would actually, actually recognize it in case you might take just a few seconds of the time to go away a constructive ranking on iTunes. You’ll assist unfold the present to extra folks on the market, and to assist others of their journey of development.

So thanks a lot for listening. And I stay up for talking to you guys within the subsequent episode. Bye guys!

Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Private Excellence Podcast! For extra tips about how one can reside your greatest life, go to

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(Picture: Gunnar Pippel)

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