“No” is such a powerful word. Those two letters combined can really make a great impact in your life. Most times we’re afraid to use this weapon and end up becoming a pushover. Because saying no can mean we’re being disobedient or uncooperative. We’re afraid that by refusing someone we’re hurting their feelings. We’re also scared the other will think less of us. By saying no, we’re thinking we might be missing out. We’re afraid of the consequences. It seems like a very negative word but you can turn your life around by making “no” your ally. Your pushover days are over. It’s time to get ahead not only at work but in life. Here’s now to say no to things and yes to life:

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Figuring out the fear
Why is it so hard to tell your boss that you don’t have time to do a presentation? Why can’t you negotiate for a better salary? Are you afraid that you won’t get the job? Why do you take on more projects even though you already have a full plate? Do you fear you will be disliked if you don’t agree to everything? Why are you afraid of confrontation? Mull these questions over. Figure out what is it that you fear about passing up on things.

Contemplating over the reasons behind your reservations may make you realize just how irrational your thinking is. By being more aware of your motives, you’ll discover how you may be undercutting yourself.

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Note your non-negotiables
Write down your responsibilities and figure out if each one is absolutely necessary or even part of your job. Go over your to-do list every day and ask yourself if each item will help you accomplish anything or contribute to your growth. Be clear on the things that you don’t have to do. If you’re negotiating for salary or a raise, figure out your absolute minimum (leaving a bit of room to maneuver) and stick to it. Always go back to your list and use it as your guide when you’re making decisions.

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Know that you can’t please everyone
No matter what you do, you will more than likely dissatisfy or even offend someone. If you try, you’ll fail miserably by spreading yourself too thin. Sometimes it’s enough to listen to one’s opinion and then just agree to disagree. It will also help to know the people that matter. If you have to be a pleaser, make sure it’s with people who actually contribute to your growth.

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Play nice
“No” is not an ugly word. You can always push for what you want without being pushy. If you’re discussing for compensation for instance, you don’t say outright that the offer is unacceptable. Explain why the offer is not what you expected. Make it clear that you still want the job and hope that they will at least meet you halfway. If it’s a request that you have to turn down, offer alternatives. Maybe you can’t do the project but you would be more than willing to help out as a consultant.

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Be a team player
Let it be known that you want what’s best for the group or the organization. If your supervisor understands that the project can get done quicker without you having to worry about other things, he’ll let you focus on that one task alone instead of adding to your responsibilities. When you’re stating your case, stress the “we” over the “I”, because you are working for the team and not for yourself alone.

About The Author

Candy Lykes
freelance writer/editor/photographer

Candy Villanueva-Lykes is a widely published writer and photographer here and abroad. Candy Villanueva-Lykes is a planet surfer, word weaver, pixel stitcher, light chaser, sun worshipper, and forever shaking off the sand between her toes.