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Powerful Professional Women Don’t Say Yes

Powerful Professional Women Don’t Say Yes

I want to examine the notion of saying “no”.

This sounds simple but can actually be quite hard. Particularly, if you have high standards for yourself and any people-pleasing tendencies. High-achievers often want to do it all. We love a good challenge and the opportunity to prove ourselves. Often, we’re even flattered when someone asks us to do something since it’s a sign they value our work. But have you thought about the fact that every time you say “yes” to something, you are actually saying “no” to something else?

[Related: Seven Things Bad*ss Professional Women Don't Do]

We all have the same 24 hours in a day so each task you accept takes time away from something else, whether it’s sleep, time with your family or another work assignment. Consequently, we need to be smart and strategic about what we say “yes” to.

Professional women have figured out when it makes sense to say “no.” Some examples include:

  • Opportunities that don’t align with your goals
  • Unproductive meetings
  • Toxic or dishonest people
  • Decisions based on FOMO, ego, guilt or fear
  • Tedious tasks that bring no joy or learning
  • Unlimited requests for assistance and advice, particularly from complete strangers
  • Asks that are too far into the future
  • Doing too much out of obligation rather than passion

I’m not suggesting you become cold-hearted, shrewd and completely selfish with your time. But you do need to be more thoughtful about it.

[Related: The Career Crisis Affecting Thirty-Something Women That No One is Talking About]

There’s an art to saying “no”.

Be straightforward and sincere about your needs (yes, you can even do this with your boss). People who respect and care about you will usually understand. Those that are offended by your “no” may actually be people who don’t value your needs.

In short: Do what inspires you. Accept the favors you genuinely want to do. Work with people you love.


Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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