When you want to make an impact on people’s lives, it can be hard to say “no” when asked to help. But what if providing that help will end up hurting you? In this episode Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie share three tools you can use to say “no” to your supervisor, without feeling guilty, when asked to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing.
00:00 Introduction 01:02 Scenario 01:50 Amy – “I want to be perceived as…” 06:04 Discussion about the “I want to be perceived as…” tool. 08:06 Jeremie – Delivering a “Yes. No. Yes?” 12:41 Discussion of the “Yes. No. Yes?” tool. 16:50 Indrani – Self-care: Press pause and think about your answer. 20:50 Discussion of the “Press pause and think about your answer” tool. 28:10 Conclusion
As a Caregiver in a domestic violence shelter you are faced with the challenge of supporting all of your clients at work, then having to return home and take care of your family. In this episode Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie share the importance of taking care of yourself FIRST by setting boundaries and learning to tell your family a “positive NO”.
01:03 Introduction of this episode’s scenario 02:56 Jeremie shares a self-awareness exercise called “Going to the movies” 06:35 Amy discusses the four types of boundaries 14:10 Indrani explains how to deliver a Positive No 20:40 Discussion: you are always setting and breaking boundaries. 25:55 Discussion: supporting others in your life with setting boundaries 29:15 Summary of the three tools
It was a faded gray and it had roll up windows, an AM radio and no AC. The heat worked sometimes.
The dash board had a gas gage and a speedometer.
A manual steering wheel was the driving mechanism.
I loved that car!
It took me on my first long trip from Ohio to New Jersey after Graduate school. There was enough space to stuff my meager belongings and drive off.
These days I still drive an import, just not a Japanese import.
My car has power windows, power steering, power adjusted seats that can be heated or cooled, a lumbar support that I cannot live without as well as a head support.
Air bags in the steering and the doors.
The dash board….
Well this is a thing of beauty.
I have a speedometer AND I can see a numerical display of my speed on the windshield.
The rest of the dash looks like I am in the cockpit of an aircraft.
I know when tire pressure is low. I know when there is a snail walking behind my car because of the rear camera. The car tells me when I am too close to objects in front and in back.
There are bells and whistles… Real bells and whistles that I have NO idea what they mean. I have to remember the sound and look up the sound in the 2000 page owners manual that came with the car.
I will NEVER understand this car! I won’t even try.
This car was the play thing of very inspired engineers and when the first one rolled off the line they all applauded and pretended that all the future buyers would give a damn about all the fancy schmansy stuff.
We buy the fancy cars and very few of us really give a damn about all the bells and whistles BUT we would never go back to the old car, like that first Corolla.
Yet, in our private lives, we keep using tools that are as outdated as that Corolla.
The tools we learned as a child to manipulate our parents, we try to use on lovers and partners.
The tools we learned in High School when we were first dating are the tools we insist on using in relationships that are way beyond the immaturity of High School.
We scream and pout as if we were teenagers and expect that people will just give up their positions to keep us quiet and happy.
We expect those tools to still manipulate like they did in the past.
We refuse to better equip ourselves to fully step into adult relationships.
What do I mean?
The tools I am talking about are readily available in e-books, book stores and libraries. It’s the billion dollar industry of the Self Help Movement; while most of us have purchased self help books, how many PRACTICE the tools inside?
It’s the practice of new tools and skills that will get us away from the “outdated dashboard” we keep going back to so that we can install a newer updated version.
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about.
I was never taught how to say No.
I was taught to be “nice” and say Yes to all that was asked of me and furthermore to be sure to do it with a smile on my face.
I did this for many years.
Almost killed myself doing this.
The few times I said NO to things, I did it with such anger and animosity that the people around me looked at me like a had two heads.
Like Medusa, if someone tried to get me to be reasonable, I felt like they were chopping off one of my heads and so two would grow in its place. The multiple headed monster was what I would become.
I stumbled upon the book The Power of a Positive No by William Ury quite a few years ago.
I read it, re-read it and read it again.
The simple tools for saying NO were right there.
But, would they actually work in real life?
How would I know unless I practiced them?
I was at a small conference once where I told one of the participants about this book and how it changed my life and she said, “make it into a workshop. People, women need these tools and many won’t read the book. Give them a taste and then tell them to get the book and feast on it.”
I called the workshop, “Not Your Mothers Assertiveness Training.”
I did the workshop.
A few paid to attend and the rest of the seats I gave away.
It was a hit.
People loved the work.
I encouraged them to buy the book and to inhale the wisdom inside.
I heard from them from time to time that they were indeed using the principles.
A few times when they called to complain that they were being forced to do one thing or another, I simply asked, “What’s your YES!” (read the book to understand this question)
They got it and did the required work to make the decisions that would work for them.
Have you delivered you first “Yes! No. Yes?” to someone? If so, congratulations! Did they accept your NO?
If they didn’t, it is time to move on to Plan B.
Plan B is a second, or back up plan that addresses your core interest and supports your original Yes! that is not dependent on the other person being involved. Plan B is not retaliation, not anger, and not a threat, Plan B is what you are going to do ANYWAYS when the other person doesn’t accept your no.
If you are clear on your Plan B, and ready to move on regardless of the other person accepting your NO, no one can stop you. Your Plan B allows you to stay true to your values and what you need without depending on the other person.
Before you make your next “Yes! No. Yes?” statement to someone in your life, make sure you have developed a Plan B that you can follow through with regardless of the response you get to your NO.
Writing down your Plan B can help make it more concrete, share your Plan B with the community in the comments below…
For today’s lesson think of an example in your life where you have been accommodating, attacking, or avoiding instead of saying NO. Focus on this scenario, and do the following:
Identify the value you want to say “Yes!” to.
Ask yourself “How does saying NO serve and support this Yes! ?”
With your Yes! in mind imagine saying NO to the person.
Now share you second “Yes?” with this person.
This second “Yes?” is a new option you offer to the person you just said no to. It is a plan that will work regardless of what the other person decides. It needs to be an option that you can follow through on without the other person having to agree with your NO. This “Yes?” is not a compromise, it is a solution that supports you and what is important to you.
(Make sure to listen to the recording to hear Indrani’s brownie example)
Think about your own example and write down a complete “Yes! No. Yes?” statement that you can use in your situation.
Before reading further, think of a current experience you are having RIGHT NOW where you are struggling with saying NO to someone. Got something in mind? Great! Keep reading…
William Ury tells us that the key to saying NO is to first get clear on what your “Yes” is.
To discover your “Yes” you need to identify what important value you believe in, that is being threatened by not saying NO. Once you are clear on this value you need to say “Yes” to protecting this value.
By saying “Yes” to what is truly important to you, you are creating a supportive structure to build your NO on.
Think of something you are struggling to say NO to. Now, write down the important value(s) you can use as a “Yes” to help support the NO you need to say in this situation.
Examples make teachings concrete, so today, a quick (you are not being marked, so don’t panic):
Read the three scenarios below and identify whether it is an example of Accommodating, Attacking, or Avoiding.
Alice’s son ignores her request to clean up his dishes for the third time while watching TV. Alice begins yelling at her son and a fight begins.
Ann is afraid of her husband getting angry over the way she spends money on groceries, so Ann gives all of her money to her husband.
Martha’s sees her coworker Jill in the hallway, Jill wants to borrow $200 to cover rent this month, so Martha quickly ducks into the ladies room.
In which of these three scenarios is power, relationship, or both lost?
Now, think of a situation you have recently experienced in your own life where, instead of saying “No” you accommodated, attacked, or avoided. How was your power in that situation lost? How was the relationship with that person affected?
According to William Ury in “The Power of a Positive No” instead of saying “No” you are most likely doing one of the following:
Accommodating: instead of saying no you accommodate the other person’s request, and in doing so lose your power.
Attacking: instead of saying no you get upset and attack the other person, and in doing so lose relationship.
Avoid: instead of saying no, you avoid the entire situation, resulting in a loss of power and relationship.
Which of the three “A’s” is your biggest substitute for saying “No”?
Once you clearly identify your accommodate, attack, avoid tendencies you are better prepared to start saying “No”
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