JustsayNo-620x620One of the most important words you can learn in business is a small one.

It’s one that you already know.

But, it sometimes gets a bad rep.

And, I bet you aren’t using enough.

It’s a powerful little sucker when you learn to use it, I have and it’s given me the business and lifestyle of my dreams.

2 little letters. N.O. No, non, nein, nie, net.

How are you at saying no?

I hear it A LOT from my friends and clients: “I can’t say no”. The thing is that they CAN, and they should be saying it a whole lot more.

This ‘can’t say no’ mentality is coming from a place of lack.

What does that mean exactly? And what can it mean for you and your business? Here are some ways I’ve seen this manifest and some of my thoughts…

  • You don’t think there is enough business to go around (or anything, actually), and you’re going to fail. This makes you anxious and stressed about something THAT HASN’T HAPPENED YET and MAY NEVER HAPPEN! When you should be spending your energy on what you CAN do to create more opportunities and success.
  • You grab at opportunities that aren’t a good fit. You work with people who don’t share your values, don’t respect your time or expertise so in return you don’t give the best of yourself. This makes you resentful and your job a drag.
  • You get obsessed with your competition, focussing too much energy on what they are doing instead of thinking about what YOU can do to make your business hotter than a tamale. (Here’s where I think you should be looking for inspiration instead)
  • You become stingy with your time (which isn’t like you). You waste too much of it on energy zapping, negative thoughts and pushing yourself through projects or working with people you don’t like. You’re too tired, drained and stressed to give your time freely because there’s nothing left, especially for yourself.
  • You chase after the dollars, grabbing at every one, making poor decisions that aren’t aligned with your true values – this feels horrible, especially when you’re hard-wired to serve.
  • These thought patterns aren’t easy to break, and I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert on how to do that. What I do know is that they’re unhealthy and all too common. The good news is that they can be replaced with a more positive, abundant outlook.

I know, because I’ve done it.

Here are some practical steps I’ve taken to break these patterns of behaviour.

Notice your thoughts.

My business coach, Jenny Shih, introduced me to the work of Brooke Costillo when she gifted me her fabulous book, Self Coaching 101.

Before this, I’d never taken much notice of my thought patterns. What I discovered was that our thoughts aren’t real or factual, but by believing our thoughts you create your reality – good or bad. The great thing is you can change them!

And this isn’t just for personal thoughts, it matters JUST AS MUCH for your biz.

Get specific

Get a laser sharp idea of who you want to work with, and what you want to do for them. And then stick to it.

By doing this you’ll free up energy that’s currently being wasted on dragging yourself through projects that you don’t love. Plus you’ll have time and space to take on the work which lights you up.

If you struggle to think who your ideal client is, try coming from the opposite direction: The type of people you don’t want to work with: those who don’t value your time; don’t put the effort in, turn up late, have bad feet (yes, that is a real problem for some of my clients!)

Change your POV

Instead of the first thought being how much you’ll make from a new piece of work, turn it around and think about how much you’ll enjoy doing it. If it’s not at all, don’t do it!

There may be some times when you might need to do a short term piece of work for a bit of cash flow but make sure these are the few and far betweens, not the every days. And make sure when that cash comes in you spend it on the thing you wanted it for (holidays, shoes, gin – whatever).

Over to you

Do you suffer from CSN (can’t say no)? Or have you become aware of it? What do you do to combat it? It’s such a big issue for so many entrepreneurs I’d love to know. Share with us below in the comments.

Are you still struggling with it? If the thought of saying no gives you shivers, and not in the good way, set up a single Clear Strategy session with me and we’ll blast through the areas holding you back and set you up with healthier habits around my fave little word.

Extra reading

The book which helped me change the way I think: Coaching 101

This blog post about knowing your ideal client: Why knowing your ideal client is vital for success

This post about being yourself (and therefore happier!) in your biz: How YOU are you being in your business