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The "Yes" of "No"

How do you feel about hearing or saying "no"?

Did you know that when someone says, "no", actually they are saying "yes" to something else that they value? For example, I recently said "no" to spending time with new friends, because I needed to say "yes" to giving my body some rest and self-care.

Did you know that you can soften the sting of a "no" by letting someone know (pun intended) the core value that you are saying "yes" to? For example, sometimes I tell colleagues, "I'd like to talk about work during office hours, so that I can care for other needs during non-work hours. When are you free next week between 1pm and 4pm?" By naming the core value I'm saying "yes" to, we might find a win-win request that bridges what we both need. The good news is -- "No" is always a "yes" in hiding. Try these exercises to uncover and leverage the care of every "no".

  1. Do you feel at ease saying "no"? If not, think of a time you wanted to say "no" but didn't. What underlying core value did you want to feed that lead you to want to say "no"? How might you articulate that better next time? What need did you feed by NOT saying "no"? What request might you make that would be win-win for both sets of needs?

  2. Have you ever felt burdened by a request, but didn't know how to say, "no" kindly and effectively? How might you acknowledge both yourself and other in a way that provides a win-win solution? For example: "I understand that you'd like more support on this job. I need to balance my work load. I can do this job for you if you finish this other job for me. Will that work for you?"

  3. Have you recently heard a "no" that frustrated you? What core value might the other person have been trying to feed? Do you feel different about the scenario when you connect with the core value that they weren't able to express? Now that you have a sense of their core value, how could you make a win-win request that includes yours?

  4. How masterful are you at converting a "no" to a win-win opportunity? For example, if you want more body vitality (through exercise) and you find yourself saying 'no' to time with friends or loved ones, how about saying "yes" to both by saying, "I need to care for my body, would you like to join me?" Like Tai Chi, we can redirect energy in generative ways if we understand the core values at play in the moment. Think of something you often say, "no" to. What are you saying "yes" to instead? What needs does that choice feed? How might you make a request that gives the person what they want in a way that you would enjoy more?

By finding the "yes" behind every "no", we can: - set clear boundaries with kind acknowledgement - create win-win solutions to everyday moments - strengthen our ability to better care for self and others

When we live a core-values awareness in response to every "no", both of these become true: “Just as we expect others to value our boundaries, it's equally important for us to respect the boundaries of others.” ― Laurie Buchanan, PhD

“No boundary or barrier surrounds the heart of a person that loves their self and others.” ― Shannon L. Alder

Respect, here, is about integrating the needs of others (and of ourselves) in ways that feeds them. Instead of either my needs or yours, we feed both.​​

Walking the Talk How can you benefit from this week's Tip for Sanity? Here are a few questions to help you get the most out of it:

  1. Describe - What is the practice described here? (Just the facts, Jack - Who, What, When, Where, How)

  2. Pros/Cons - What are some of the benefits of this practice? What are some of the drawbacks?

  3. Compare/Contrast - Think about related practices. In what situations might this one work better? In what situations might another practice work better?

  4. Name one issue where you're having difficulty.

  5. Where might you use this particular practice to increase sanity in your life? In your relationships? At work?

  6. How and where might you invite others to use this practice with you?

  7. What do you value as your biggest take away from this week's Tip For Sanity?

For more help with this tip, or if you’d like a free phone consultation toward an ongoing coaching relationship, call Maya toll-free 1.877.535.5438 M-Th 1-4pmET or click here to book an appointment.

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