Learning to Say No

Do you find yourself constantly picking up after other members of the family?

Do you feel compelled to do things when you know the right answer should be “No”?

What about at work or with homework? Are you constantly saving the day or rescuing colleagues or your children?

If you’re a CANDo get-up and goer with a rucksack brimming with CANDo attitude that’s finding yourself constantly getting dumped on by “can’t-be-assed-ers”, then this here is for you.

Whether you’re picking up after your children or spouse, apologising for inappropriate behaviour, easing disappointment or natural consequences, rescuing a colleague that hasn’t finished a weekly report (again) because you can “type” faster, “reading” the manual to work out what the snowflake symbol on the new car means (when the owner is perfectly capable of reading too), grab your Inner Imp Honesty and ask yourself whether you’re doing too much.

We do all so many of these things because we’re people that get things done. CANDo get-up and goers tend to get things done with minimal fuss, twice as fast and often with twice or three times as much success and other people sense this.

Be aware however, the line between helping people and over-functioning is often very, very thin.

If you’re going to remain an effective CANDo get-up and goer, one life skill you’re going to need to infuse with a little feistiness is the ability to say “No”. You need to do this to ensure:

  • you raise effective, independent children and not “can’t-be-assed-ers”;
  • you’re not shouldering more than your share of the work either at home or at work;
  • you’re not being taken advantage of or taken for granted;
  • you’ve got enough time and energy left to pursue your own goals and happiness and maintain your CANDo attitude.

Think twice if your Inner Imp Love is constantly trying to “prevent” difficulties or problems from cropping up for those around you, whether it’s:

  • reading the instruction manual for a friend’s new gadget for them so you can explain how to use it;
  • completing a colleague’s report for him/her;
  • tying your 6 year old’s shoelaces;
  • scrambling to help finish a project/homework that’s been left ’til the last minute; or
  • venturing into your child’s cesspit of a bedroom to find clothes to wash so he/she will have their favourite stuff to wear;

Realise that if you’re doing these things, you’re not helping.

The only thing these people are learning is that if they act like they can’t do it, someone will come along and do it for them. You’re denying them the opportunity to learn to do things for themselves and teaching them to rely on others rather than themselves.

With children, this is particularly true. However much it hurts you, you need to give them room to learn how to achieve and how to protect themselves from hurt or failure, because it’s going to become their responsibility sooner than you or they think!

Start saying “No” and handing other people’s responsibilities back to them today so that they can start improving their own everyday life skills, finding their own CANDo get-up and go-go and carving out a successful life for themselves.

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