We all face a variety of opportunities over the course of our careers. Everything we read in professional development tells us that we have a “Yes” phase, a growth phase, a phase many of us find ourselves in. The question is always, “When can I start saying no?” Then Quickly followed by “How do I start saying no?” To help everyone (including our hosts) we decided to tackle this issue. So, why is it we are afraid to say “no”? And what does it take for us to feel comfortable using this term?

First, Why do we say YES?

  • We want to gain experience
  • We want to learn new skills
  • We want to prove ourselves
  • We want to “be in the room”

Why should we start saying NO?

  • We are overloaded or don’t have the “Bandwidth”
  • We need to focus our priorities
  • We want to change our direction
  • Live Happens


How to go about saying “NO”?

  • Be honest, if you can’t do something, explain why. But, know that “No” is a complete sentence and sometimes explanations are not needed.
  • Consider Negotiating the “No”, allowing you to still be involved but in a different capacity than the original ask.
  • Use saying “No” as an opportunity to promote someone else.
  • Be ok with “No” being a complete sentence


Overall, learning how to say no, is part of building a healthy professional career. For other tips please check out the resources below.









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Saying No

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