When we have strong internal clarity it is almost as if we have a force field protecting us from the nonessentials coming at us from all directions.
- Avoids saying no to avoid feeling social awkwardness and pressure
- Says yes to everything
- Dares to say no firmly, resolutely, and gracefully
- Says yes only to the things that really matter
Guidelines for delivering the graceful no
- Separate the decision from the relationship
- Saying no gracefully doesn’t have to mean using the word “no”
- Focus on the trade-off
- Remind yourself that everyone is selling something
- Make your peace with the fact that saying no often requires trading popularity for respect
- Remember that a clear no can be more graceful than a vague or non-committal yes
The No Repertoire
Essentialists don’t say no just occasionally. It is a part of their regular repertoire. To consistently say no with grace, it helps to have a variety of responses to call upon. Below are eight responses you can put in your no repertoire:
- The awkward pause
- The soft no (or the no but)
- Let me check my calendar and get back to you.
- Use e-mail bouncebacks.
- Say, Yes. What should I deprioritize?
- Say it with humor.
- Use the words You are welcome to X. I am willing to Y.
- I can’t do it, but X might be interested.
These notes are from the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (Chapter #11)
These notes might be very contextual if you haven’t read the book.