June 23, 2008 | Alyson Stanfield

Say No with Grace

Do you have a hard time saying No? If so, it’s likely you are wasting time and energy on projects and people that don’t serve you. The problem with saying Yes to everything (which essentially means being a people pleaser) is that you end up saying No to yourself and everything you want for your life. You may make others happy–temporarily–but you end up disgruntled, unfulfilled, and unpleasant to be around.

Think about all of the times you said Yes when you really wanted to say No or even NO WAY.

Change is in order. It’s time to start saying No. And you can do it with grace.

The first step to saying No is to realize that it’s natural. You don’t have too many options when someone asks you for your time or talents: Yes or No. That’s about it. Even if you say Maybe, you have to make up your mind eventually. No one expects you to say Yes to every request. Saying No doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human.

There is an art to saying No with grace–an art that everyone can learn.

Receive a request for donating your art to a worthy cause?

“Thank you for the opportunity to donate to your organization. I have heard such good things about the work you do and I would be honored to have my name associated with yours. However, because the current U.S. tax laws are unfavorable to artist donations, I am able only to donate $x of work each year and that work is already spoken for. . . . “

Someone wants you to write an article for a magazine?

“Wow! I’m so honored you are interested in having me write for your publication. Thank you for thinking of me. I read a terrific article [be specific] in last month’s issue and I would love to see my name in print. But the timing isn’t right. As I look at your schedule, I wouldn’t be able to meet your deadline, so I’m afraid I must decline.” If you think you might want to write for them in the future, leave the door open or add a specific time frame that’s good for you.

Been asked to do a demonstration without compensation?

“Thank you for your interest in my art. I always love sharing my expertise with other artists and the public, but I am unable to share it without remuneration. My fees for giving a 1-hour demonstration are $x. For 2 hours, I charge $y. I hope one of these options fits within your budget. It would be fun to work with your organization.”

Need to stall?

If you still have a hard time saying No, I have the perfect response. It’s one of the lessons an the upcoming Get Organized class. I hope you’ll consider joining us for this clean-sweep class.

By the way, I am often emailed questions from subscribers and blog readers requesting a response. With thousands of readers, I can’t possibly answer every question that reaches my inbox. So, I put a policy into place. I don’t promise to answer questions, but I will consider answering them in a newsletter or blog post if I think the response might benefit other artists. It’s the only way that works for me and it also gives me content from time to time. You can read my policy and maybe even use it as a model for your own.

No one expects you to say Yes to every request.

When do you have a hard time saying No? Or whom do you have a hard time saying No to?

DO THIS————~>
Say No with grace. Always begin your reply with a Thank You and end with another Thank You. You were asked to contribute your time or talents because you are admired. While the request may seem inconvenient for you, it probably was never intended that way. Acknowledge the compliment with your gratitude, while honoring yourself.

Katie Halton, Spencer. Image (c) The Artist

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