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The Transformative Power of Saying 'No'

2 min
leadership  ✺  leadershiptips  ✺  careergrowth  ✺  powerofno  ✺  effectiveleadership  ✺  successmindset

I used to think that saying 'Yes' to every opportunity was the only path to success.

This definition led me to a relentless chase for achievement, where 'No' was a word that simply didn't exist in my vocabulary.

However, It wasn't long before this mindset led to a perpetual cycle of overcommitment, stress, and an inevitable sense of burnout.

The toll on my well-being was evident, and paradoxically, my work suffered.

The myth I held onto—that affirming everything would accelerate my career—was actually holding me back. I knew a change was needed.

Only when I started embracing the power of 'No' did I begin to unlock higher levels of effectiveness and satisfaction in my career.

This wasn't just about turning down requests; it was about affirming my priorities, respecting my limits, and ultimately, contributing more value in areas that truly mattered.

To navigate this shift and build the skill of strategic “No," I turned to my friend Nihar Chhaya, an accomplished CEO coach with over 25+ years of experience.

Nihar shared with me the following tips on how great leaders effectively say “No” (without burning bridges):

💬 "Let’s find another way to address this." ↳ Promotes collaboration and problem-solving.

💬 "I am unable to do it but I know [Name] can help." ↳ Suggests someone else who might assist.

💬 "I can't attend the event but thanks for the invite." ↳ Politely declines while showing gratitude.

💬 "Is there some other way I can support you?" ↳ Redirects the request while still offering assistance.

💬 "I can’t attend this meeting, but can I get the notes?" ↳ Declines while showing interest in staying informed.

💬 "I can’t join this project, but I can offer some advice." ↳ Declines participation while offering support.

💬 "Let’s set a different deadline that works for us both." ↳ Shows willingness to adjust and help with your limits.

💬 "Can we look at this again in a few weeks?" ↳ Keeps the door open for the future without a firm no.

💬 "Thank you for thinking of me, but I have priorities." ↳ Shows respect while setting boundaries.

PS: Saying 'No' strategically prioritizes what matters to maximize our impact and supports our well-being.