By Debbie PetersonProfessional Speaker, Coach and Expert to fed-up midlife women seeking Clarity of Identity and Purpose with Confidence. 

I can’t believe she said that! She told me No…and I think that’s terrific! Saying yes can be so easy. It just slides out of your mouth unbidden and then you find yourself obligated to some event or task and in your gut you know you should have said No. Saying No takes courage. Saying No can be hard. Saying No can leave you feeling guilty but it doesn’t have to.

My Mom always had this way of saying No when I was little without actually saying it. She would say “We’ll see.” It would go like this: “Mom? Can I have some Hershey Kisses after lunch?” and she would say “We’ll see”. I would be pacified by the answer because she didn’t say No and then more often than not, I forgot about whatever I had asked for. What a great strategy for a parent! That was until I caught on and figured out “we’ll see” really did mean No.

Did your parents do anything like this? As a parent, did you do the same thing? I know I did!

Today I pay attention to how people say “No” because I admire people who are able to enforce what is truly important to them in life. Its all about Healthy Boundaries and here are some examples. Maybe you employ some of these or perhaps they will give you some ideas.

  • I have friends who own a business together and they also live together. Their business is retail and service and they are open 6 days a week. Their rule is that they don’t discuss business after 8:00 pm at night and not on Sundays, their day off. Their relationship is a priority and this boundary helps protect it from their business that could take over their lives 24/7 if they let it.
  • My Sister got very sick about 10 years ago and when we got word of her diagnosis she turned to me and said“I need to focus on getting better and want to ask if you’ll buffer the communication for me.” She knew she needed to focus all of her energy on becoming healthy again and the time it takes to keep everyone informed, shore the other person up,etc. was energy she couldn’t use for herself. I gladly took on the role and I’m happy to say she is doing great! This healthy boundary allowed her to focus on what she needed to, which was herself.
  • There is a couple in our community that will only go out to dinner one night per week. Now you may be thinking that doesn’t sound like it would be hard but the invitations and groups that go out around here are endless and happen in a fast a furious manner. There are planned nights out, charity events, spur of the moment nights out, dinners at other people’s homes, etc. and on top of it she is a real estate agent and networking is a priority! Her and her husband’s health is also a priority and the one night a week dinner out rule helps them to keep healthy boundaries around what they eat. She finds other creative ways to network that doesn’t involve meals out and schedules those events with intentional thought.
  • A colleague of mine who owns her own consulting business “chunks” her time. What this means is that she saves certain days for certain activities in her business. For example Tuesday and Thursday are for meetings out of the office and serving clients face to face. Monday and Wednesday are for creating content for marketing, developing programs and other strategy tasks. Fridays are for the multitude of business hats that she wears (i.e. banking, technology, logistics, etc.). When you want to schedule a meeting she will be the first one to say “This is when I’m available” or “This is what works for me.” She has healthy boundaries around her time because she knows that she needs those chunks of time in order to continue to build her business.

I admire people who have healthy boundaries around what is most important to them. They inspire me to set my own healthy boundaries and be able to come from the heart when I do it. I learn from them.

If you’d like to learn 5 easy ways to create and maintain healthy boundaries click HERE to listen to the webinar replay. This is what I used to be able to say NO more in my life!

I’d love to hear how you say “No” in your own life. Leave a comment and inspire someone else with your tip!

Until next time, here’s wishing you the clarity you deserve!