Learning To Say “No”


Saying “No” is hard

If you’re like me, you hate to say “No” to people too. In fact, I find it one of the hardest things to do in life and business.


Maybe it’s because we hate to disappoint people. Or, maybe we feel obligated to say “Yes” because we’re in business. Or, maybe we just want to be the nice guy that just takes everything on.

Whatever the reason, saying “No” is hard to do. So we say “Yes” and end up doing things we didn’t want to do — like taking on unnecessary work.

Time goes by and before you know it we begin feeling like we’re wasting our time and our lives. And that life has gotten away from us!

Re-align Your Values

The real sin here isn’t that we can’t say “No.” It’s that we’re not letting our values drive our decisions — in business or our personal lives.

That takes its toll on us, and we begin to make wrong decisions.

We need to re-align our values, and make decisions based on our values. So here’s what I’ve been doing;

I’m re-aligning my values in life. I want to bring them more into line with what I want for my family and me.


I put my family over my business.

When I’m in a meeting, I let people know that my phone will be on vibrate and I’ll only answer if it is my family. And if there is an emergency that can’t wait, that comes first. If that isn’t ok with them, then I don’t need a client like that — life is too short to work with people who don’t respect your values.

I put working ON the business over IN it.

During the day, I set a time to focus on Q2 things (important, but not urgent), I say “no” to answering e-mails or phone calls (Q1 – urgent, but not important) during that time. I say “no” to anything else that will take me away from focusing on it. I book it in my calendar, its priority.

I put my health first.

I set up a workout schedule and I stick to it. If I’m not at my gym that morning, I do sit-ups, chin-ups, and push-ups at home. If I get lazy, I admit it, own up to it, confess it with my trainer, and I recommit.

I put eating healthy over eating junk.

If I don’t eat something, it’s not because it’s bad for me. It’s because I don’t want to eat it. I’ve changed my mindset and saying from, “I can’t eat this because…” to “I don’t want to eat this because…”

It’s how you say it — and you how think about it — makes all the difference. The more you say it, the more you will believe it.

In summary, I’m going to say “Yes” to the things in life that fit with my value system. And “No” to things that may take me away from my values.

Changing isn’t easy. It never is. Neither is saying “No.” But the rewards are worth it.

Now that you know what I’m going to do, the question is: If you haven’t already, will you start making decisions based on your values?

About the author

Jeremy Choi

I’m a husband, father, entrepreneur, mentor, and an irredeemable golf addict. Possibly like you, my big hairy audacious goal (vision) is to make a positive dent in this world. I write about creating better leaders, workers, and people. I also write about my experiences in all aspects of my life. These ideas are my experiences living & learning through my own core values; integrity, authenticity, leadership, inspire, and health.

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