3 tips from a burnout expert to say no

Do you find yourself saying ‘yes’ more often than you would like? You are certainly not the only one who finds it difficult to say no. Yet it is dangerous: no is much more than a small word of three letters. During her own burnout, entrepreneur Cathelijn Paling found out that no stands for setting your limits, daring to choose for yourself and taking control herself.

When you say ‘yes’ too often, a burnout can be lurking.

Why it is so important to say ‘no’

“I was afraid to say no, because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone,” says Paling about the lesson she learned during her burnout. “But in the end you will be lived more than you live for yourself. If you do too little that makes you happy and therefore gives you energy, you will eventually burn up. ”

Both on a personal and business level, it is important to guard your limits and energy and to choose for yourself. The entrepreneur sees that this is a dangerous pitfall for her fellow entrepreneurs: “It is important not to say yes to all requests, customers and friends’ services”.

Especially as an entrepreneur, it is tempting to seize all the opportunities that come your way and run on and on, without considering what that actually does to you. During her burnout, Paling learned that your physical and mental health are inseparable from the success of your business. By means of brainstorming sessions, she now helps other entrepreneurs to monitor their boundaries. She also wrote an e-book in which she gives others the tools to become a hero in saying no.

In front of Subway she shares three tips that you can get started with right now.

Build in reaction time

Do you find it difficult to say no when someone appeals to you? Make it a habit to reply that you will come back to it later. That gives you more time to think about whether you can use this on your plate. In addition, it is often easier to say no in writing than if someone has just asked you face-to-face.

Keep it simple

We often feel that we need to explain in detail why we are canceling or rejecting the other. Not only that: we also feel that we need a good, comprehensive reason. While the fact that you do not want to come or can help, is of course reason enough.

An example: instead of telling whole stories about having an evening to yourself, because you have been sleeping badly for a while and it is the only evening you have this week to yourself, you can also just say ‘I can’t, thank you for the invitation ‘say.

“Just when your ‘no’ comes up with a detailed explanation, you give people ammunition, as it were, to enter into a dialogue,” says Paling. “Ah come on, they say. “You can sleep late on the weekend, right?” You don’t owe anyone an explanation. And remember: you are only rejecting someone’s proposal or invitation – not the person themselves. ”

Use the yes formula

Every no to another is a yes to yourself. During her sessions with entrepreneurs, Paling often formulates a yes formula. “When you find it hard to say no, you have such a handy framework that you can use,” she says. The framework consists of three questions that you can ask yourself for any decision:

  • What do I want? (Does it feel good?)
  • What does it bring me? (Does it energize you? Does it bring you closer to your goal? Sometimes an opportunity may pass that you are afraid to seize, but this question makes you discover that it will take you further.)
  • What does it bring the other? (Is this sufficiently balanced with what it brings you?)

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Tessa Ham is an editor at and writes for Metro about career and money.

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