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  • Writer's pictureDavid Stamation

Part II The Yes / No Conundrum

Last week we covered the reasons why we say YES when we want to say NO, some examples include: it's an obligation, feeling we don’t have a choice, and a desire to be liked. The cost of living this way, saying YES, has downsides: being overbooked, late to meetings, late on deliverables, anxiety, and resentment.


We say YES to create value for ourselves, but when we can’t follow through it has the opposite effect and it damages relationships and erodes trust. People don’t trust you when you say YES and do not keep your agreements. They have trouble believing in you next time, believing in what you say and now trust is lost. How about this: Do you trust someone who always says YES to your requests?

The Pivot

How to pivot a NO into a possibility? Hard NOs are jarring to all parties involved. Here is an example of a well-structured NO:

No, I can’t have that by Thursday. I have a set of tasks I’m working on; however, I would be able to get to it by Friday next week. Would that work?

This is a soft NO that sets the stage for possibility and clarity for when it can be done. It's a thoughtful YES.

The Stretch

Look for two situations in the week ahead to test your comfort level saying NO, utilizing a pivot that works with you and your style. It can be done with a boss, an employee, or a family member such as a child or spouse. Think of it as, No, but how about this?


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