• Courtney Parks, MA, CPCC

3 Steps To Setting Boundaries & Saying NO Gracefully



Setting boundaries and saying “no” can be as or more important than saying “yes”. Why? Because most of us don’t have room to focus on our “yeses” when we’re filled to the brim with obligations, people or activities that drain our time and energy.

And when we don’t focus on what’s really important, our work suffers, our life suffers and, worst of all, WE suffer…because we’re constantly squeezed by trying to DO and BE too much.

So years ago, I came up with a concept called “saying no gracefully” and here are 3 quick tips on doing just that.

Decide if it’s a yes or no

Give yourself some space to make a clear decision before responding to any request. If it’s a clear yes, it’s easy. If it’s not, you can FEEL it – even if you’re not quite sure how to turn it down. If you’re a people pleaser (or close to that), your best response to ANY request that’s not a clear yes is “let me check my schedule and I’ll get back to you”. That way, you’ve got time to really decide and time to figure out your “no”.

Keep it short and sweet

While you might be pissy about getting yet another request (because don’t they KNOW how busy you are right now!), begin your “no” with appreciation. “Thanks for thinking of me” or “I appreciate you reaching out” show that you care. After that, short and sweet is best (a tough one for most women, including me, which is why I practice this). No need for lengthy excuses or apologies because you feel bad or stuck. Keeping it simple with “I’m not available” or “I’m all set with that in my business” makes things much easier.

Close the door on it

Often I’ll find myself saying (or writing) “maybe next time” or “I’ll let you know if things change in the future” when I know it’s pretty much a hard “no”. So instead of leaving the door open, just say (again with warmth) “wishing you much success with it”…and you are complete. While you can’t control if you get asked again, you’ve at least made things clear on your end.

So putting it all together, if someone asks you to get involved in a project or activity and you know you don’t want to, just say “Thanks so much for letting me know! While that _____ sounds great, I’m focusing on other things in my work (or life) now. I hope you really enjoy it and have a wonderful day too!”

Voila :)!!

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© 2017 Courtney Parks Coaching