Self Love

Simply Be Okay Saying No

January 20, 2015

A few weeks ago, I got schooled by my client. Like, chomped up, chewed out and spit out.

Not fun…

In full disclosure, this client made me slightly nervous from the get-go. For starters, the company is in an industry I’d never worked with before and not necessarily in my “genius zone.” (FYI- this is why I took on this client. I believe you should do something that scares you every day. That’s the only way you grow.) I digress.

The amount of time I had to complete this client’s project was slashed in half due to circumstances outside of my control and so every request, every task, every to-do was marked urgent.

All of this is totally okay, for the record. In any client services industry, it’s a service provider’s job to make sure the clients’ needs are being anticipated and met at all times. With a strong background in sales, plus a passion (and a knack) for client pleasing, I thought as long as I met the demands of the client, no matter how big or small, no matter how realistic or unrealistic, I was doing my job.

And THIS is where (and why) I failed.

I am a bonafide Yes Person. I have an innate desire to make people feel happy, comfortable and seen. That’s part of my personal brand, and it’s something I have always considered an esteemed aspect to how I present myself in business, and in the world. In running my previous business for 6+ years, my ability to “make it work,” no matter what the request, was key to my growth. But as I’ve entered into more consultative opportunities, I’ve learned that saying yes to please people can actually get you into trouble.

Here’s what happened:

A request was made by this client on a Monday morning, to be completed by the end of the day. In truth, I needed until Friday  to complete it. But instead of pushing back and telling the client this, I said “Yes, cool, no problem!” and did it.

And so instead of doing it slow and right, you can guess what happened.

I did it fast and wrong.

Totally fucking wrong.

In the split second after the client made the request, I had an opportunity to push back, be honest and let him know I needed more time in order to execute properly. But I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. I didn’t want to make anyone angry. I didn’t want to say “no.”

When the schooling came, it hurt. (Mainly because there was so much truth to it.) But the real lesson was not found in the screwed-up task. It was found because I didn’t speak up and speak my truth.

This is why mistakes rock and failure is awesome.

Buried below every royal fuck-up is a greater lesson. The key is setting down our pride and egos just long enough to find it. Only then can we become better professionals, and ultimately better human beings.

Does your personal brand say YES all the time?

Do you find yourself stifling your true thoughts and feelings in the workplace in order to please? Or perhaps you do this somewhere else in your life?

If so, take a look at where that might come from…

What if you stood your ground, pushed back and said “no” once in a while? What would that say about your personal brand?

Imagine yourself saying “no” in a situation where you’d normally say “yes” and then walk yourself through the “worst case scenario” end result. I guarantee it’s not as bad as you think.

Let me know if you’ve ever struggled with being a pleaser and how you’re growing. I’d love to hear from you.

With massive bravery,

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  • Nicole Yeary

    Yes. Something similar happened to me… again. Every time it cuts closer, you know when it doesn’t feel right, that feeling wears it’s own color and we must allow ourselves to call a yellow flag when we see it. We’ve heard it before, but if it doesn’t make you say “Absolutely, yes!” then the answer must be ‘No.” I can’t remember the last time I said ‘No” and did so regretfully. We know when it feels right. Thanks for the reminder, Ms. Jessica!

    • linovino

      Funny running into you here, Miss. Yeary – I dropped LUNA Bars off for your MsTECH lunch yesterday. Hope it went well.

      Jessica – Saying no is important…I definitely think as females we are afraid to have a voice and sometimes it’s easier in the moment to just say yes.

      • Nicole Yeary

        @linovino Thank you so much! Can you shoot me your mailing address? I have something I would like to send you. Thanks!
        email is: