Saying No


It’s a small word. It can have big impact.

Are you using it effectively?


Me saying No to Others

I say “No”.

I say “No” to honour my values; to uphold my boundaries; and to focus my precious resources, and my intentions on what’s important.

Earlier this year, I picked up a great book, called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown.

In the author’s own words: “Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

‘Saying No’ is a discipline. Something to be thoughtful about – that often requires unlearning default habits that really don’t serve me well. As a female of my generation, I was socialised to be accommodating, to be cooperative, to be accepting. Which meant I said “Yes”, in situations where I probably should have said “No”. It felt rude, uncaring – so selfish, even petty to say “No”. Such is the deep enculturation that I needed to expose and unravel. And in moments of extreme stress, it can be easy to slide back into default Yes mode, if I don’t honour my personal commitment to a different discipline.

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Helen Palmer, Founder of Self unLimited, has not followed a traditional path in her ‘career’, nor does she intend to. It’s been her personal experience that she’s made plans, then life happened and things went in a direction that wasn’t anticipated. As a consequence she’s fascinated by the emergent and serendipitous approach to life and work. She thinks about ways to help others navigate the future of work, given the ambiguous possibilities and opportunities if there is courage to take that journey. And for good measure, she likes to inject humour and originality into her work.


(Amended) Photo by Zan on Unsplash