The Art of Saying "No"

How many of you have trouble saying "no?"
As women, we are constantly being pulled in a million directions; we have to keep things humming on the business front, we must be there for our families, our friends and even keep up our social and civic obligations. In trying to be everything to everyone, we've become "yes-women."
When you become a "yes-woman," you become the person everyone turns to for well...everything.  While you certainly want to be seen as someone who is reliable and dependable, you run the risk of losing out on valuable time for yourself or on other important areas of your life.
Shaking off the shackles of being a "yes-woman" isn't easy.  Women in particular feel guilty if their Superwoman cape isn't always billowing in the wind at top speed. We become consumed by negative thoughts: We're letting people down, we're not holding up our end of the bargain, people will think they can't rely on me.  It turns out though, there are some real health benefits to saying "no."  According to the Mayo Clinic, saying "no" is in fact a huge stress reliever. It can free you up to pursue other activities, keep you from being rundown (which leads to illness) and can also open the door to opportunities for other people.
Once you learn to say no, it can be liberating.
Saying "no" is a skill I have really had to put to use over the past few years.  In business, networking is vital, and when you are a small business owner, in many ways, it is your lifeblood.  You feel obligated to pursue each and every prospect, especially if you feel it might turn into a fantastic opportunity. I hired a business manager this past year and one of the first activities she had me do was keep track of my time, which was a real eye opener.  I realized how much of my time during the day was being sucked up by unnecessary lunches and meetings that weren't furthering my business.  I had to learn to say no!  It really became a matter of me managing my time more effectively.  
Socially, I have had to learn this skill particularly when it comes to attending events with my husband.  Being a high-profile couple is a double-edged sword.  We are fortunate to be invited to so many events and you want to attend as many parties and events as you can; however it can really take a toll on you.  My husband and I have learned to discuss what events are important for each of us to attend.  We're comfortable attending events separately and maximizing on the opportunities socially, civically and professionally.  We've discovered the importance of supporting each other when it comes to attending certain events; if it's essential to me, he will make every effort to be there and vice versa.   However, while I'm welcome to attend anything with Manny, I also have the option to say no!
Once you decide to start asserting your right to say "no," be firm!  It's a liberating word and much more effective than "maybe" or "I'm not sure."  If you're not up front about your intention, you could get roped into saying "yes" later on. Be brief, honest and respectful when declining to do something. The more elaborate your explanations become, the more dishonest you sound.  And don't be afraid to repeat the "no." Sometimes it does take a while for people to get the message.
Pulido Sanchez Communications, LLC.
333 West Wacker Drive
Suite 500
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Phone (312) 855-0191
Fax (312) 885-9131