“I should be home working on my website right now. Why did I say yes to this?!”
I picked up my bag as I got off the train and slowly made my way out of the underground station.
I had promised my friend I’d help her set up her email list, even though I knew I’d regret it.
It’s not that I didn’t want to help her. I just had too much on my plate. I was working full-time as a skincare coach and blogger, studying to become a coach, and taking on the odd writing gig.
In the past two weeks, I had barely found the time to go on a weekly date with my partner. I wanted to use any scraps of time I had to build my website and get ready to launch my coaching business as soon as I finished the course.
As I walked the short distance to her place, I realised I should have sent her a link to some online tutorial. It’s not like this tech thing was rocket science.
But, back then, I was such a people pleasure, it didn’t even occur to me that I could say no or suggest another option.
It was only when I realised that helping everyone around me left me burnout and resentful, with no time left to dedicate to the things that really mattered to me, that I knew something had to change.
I needed to learn to say no more often. Not to anything. I still wanted to be there for my friends if they truly needed it.
Only to the things I knew I’d regret, so I could have more time to start my new business (and not ruin my friendships in the process).
Feel the same?
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before saying yes to something – anything. If the answer to even one of these questions is negative, I politely say no (and urge you to do the same).
1. What Does My Intuition Say?
I admit this is a tough one.
We all have a wise inner voice within us to guide us in the right direction. But your mind often suffocates it with logic, excuses, and shoulds.
Your mind shouts loud and clear. “You should help your friend. You’re a bad person if you don’t.” Or “You can’t say no to your boss. You’ll lose your job.”
Your intuition whispers. It’s that nagging feeling that something’s wrong here and yet you can’t quite put your finger on it.
If you’ve been ignoring your intuition for decades, it’ll take practice for you to recognize, let alone listen, to that voice (guess how I know?).
How do you practice? By being present in the moment. By listening to the sensations in your body.
If something feels off – even if there’s no rational reason for it to be off – it’s a no.
You don’t need to know why. Your intuition has spoken. Trust it.
2. Does This Align With My Values?
This is strongly related to question number one. I can guarantee you that your intuition would never say yes to anything that doesn’t align with your values.
But if you find it hard to understand or trust your intuition, this question will lead you in the right direction.
First, you need to identify your top values. What’s truly important to you?
If you don’t know, here’s a list of values to get you started. Circle the ones you resonate with the most and then start eliminating values until you have your top 5.
For me, they are freedom, growth, authenticity, compassion, and beauty. If someone offered me a 6 figure salary to work in a corporate job tomorrow, it’d be an easy no.
I need the freedom to make my schedule, pick my own projects, and choose the people I work with. Trading my freedom for money would only make me miserable.
If something goes against your values, it’s an automatic no.
3. Does This Align With My Purpose?
Sometimes, you’re tempted to say yes because an opportunity seems too good to pass up.
Last year, one of my friends asked me to connect me with the owner of a small skincare lab. “Wouldn’t it be fun to have your own skincare brand, Giorgia?”
I can’t say I wasn’t tempted. Skincare has been a part of my life for so many years. Even now, I’m still running my skincare coaching business on the side.
But saying yes to this opportunity would have meant saying no to my new coaching business. I knew I would hardly have had any time to work on The Treasures Within and helping women build their businesses.
That’s my purpose in life. That’s the impact I want to make in this world. The legacy I want to leave.
If something doesn’t align with that, it’s a no.
Don’t know what your life purpose is? Subscribe to the newsletter below to receive the Purpose Finder Worksheet and find out today:
4. Am I Saying Yes Out Of Love Or Fear?
Truth bomb: every decision you make is based on either love or fear.
You usually make fear-based decisions when you’re afraid of losing something or want to avoid something.
Like when I say yes to helping my friends with her email list. I was afraid that, if I refused, she wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore.
Or when you agree to take on another project at work because you’re afraid of telling your boss you already have your plate full. What if you come across as weak and he gives the promotion to someone else?
You usually make love-based decisions when you are honouring your desires and needs.
Like when you say no to helping a friend because you’re already overstretched.
Or when you tell your boss that you’ve already have too much on your plate and aking on a new project would compromise the quality of your work.
So, when you’re tempted to say yes (or no), ask yourself, what’s the intention behind it? Am I making this decision out of fear or love?
Only make decisions out of love. Fear may be trying to keep you safe, but unless you’re being attacked by a tiger, it often leads you astray.
5. Would I Say Yes To This If I Knew No One Would Be Disappointed?
If you’re still undecided, ask yourself this question: “what would I do if I knew no one would be disappointed?”
Would you still agree to help your friend, take on a new project, or accept an invitation if you knew the other person would be 100% ok with you saying no?
Too often, you say yes to something because you don’t want to disappoint your loved ones. And then you end up burnout, resentful, and wondering why you’re always arguing with them anyway.
Truth bomb: you can’t have a healthy relationship with someone you resent. And that includes yourself, too.
Saying yes when you want to say no ends up hurting the other person anyway. So why not be honest from the start and say no?
Wrapping It Up
Saying yes to anything that’s not in alignment leads to resentment, disappointed, and hurt feelings. Yours and the person you want to help. If you’re not 100% committed, you’re better served by you suggesting an alternative.