The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything. --Warren Buffett

If you're looking for a good reason to say "no" more often, here it is: self-care. By this, we mean no one can keep your diverse needs in balance each day if you don't. People can attempt to support you, and they don't receive the constant messages your body and mind reveal about your needs. Recognizing those messages and acting on them are the keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Saying No and Preserving Good Relationships

Unless you work alone and prefer to be alone, life is about building relationships. Some people derive much of their identity from the intimate relationships they form. Other adults are more solitary. They're content with spending less time around friends and loved ones. If you say no, remember you are making the best decision at that moment.

Saying no doesn't mean you don't love someone or care about their well-being. You can choose to put another person's needs above your own, and it should not be required as a condition of your relationship.


Setting Boundaries

The difference between being a serial people pleaser and a balanced person is setting appropriate boundaries. By engaging in this form of self-care, you can be more helpful to others. It's hard to fully give of yourself when you're neglecting your own needs.

Caring For Others

Here is an example. A person leaves work to become a full-time caregiver for a partner with a serious illness. It's easy to set daily goals and try to meet a partner's needs, but a health condition comes with ups and downs. Being a nurse without breaks for recreation, sleep, nutrition, solitude, and socialization will cause burnout. Set limits for how much you can meet another person's needs and arrange support to relieve you when needed. If you aren't in a position to take on a role, such as meeting someone's needs, it's important to say no. Sometimes, you can do more damage by failing to meet obligations because they were unrealistic.

Fighting Our Own Impulses

It's easy to read why it’s important to attend more to your own needs. Honestly, it's harder to practice this concept to the point where you stop being a people pleaser. Learn to recognize the impulse to meet the needs of others. When someone requests your time or another action, you can stop to consider it and then respond with a "no" answer or a timeline for when you can do it.

Let's say your biggest client asks you to meet after work, but you already have plans with your spouse. Because your family depends on income, your spouse will understand if you reschedule the plans. However, you can ask the client to wait a day or two to meet. Everyone can appreciate when you're honest about new commitments, or they can find other relationships. People worth your time will honor your boundaries, compared to the alternative, which are you feeling more stressed out because you made too many promises and neglected your needs.

Anticipating Emotional Responses

Expect a learning curve as you start saying "no" to people. This new pattern might affect your existing relationships. When you can't meet someone's request as you did in the past, he or she may have an emotional reaction, such as anger, frustration, disappointment, or criticism. In the case of handling clients, business partners, suppliers, and employees, your efforts to adjust boundaries may not succeed. If you can't restructure relationships, it may be time to move on to other opportunities. For more details on building a relationship-based business, please contact us.