MONDAY MINDSET: The Dark Side of Saying, "No!"

Jan 18, 2023

You can't turn a corner without books, quotes,experts, and well-intentioned friends and family saying, "you have to say no to grow."  Or, "Need Boundaries?  Just say no!" OR "How to say No!"  But, I realized something lately listening to my grown adult children, they say "No" a lot.  Before I could finish my sentence introducing my son to a book, he said, "No Mom, I'm not interested in..."  Or when I told my daughter that I was making xyz for Christmas she said, "No Mom, don't make that."   As any parent would I started reflecting on where did that get that knee-jerk, bad habit, right-out-of-the-gate-without-listening reaction?  How come they aren't curious?  For a few days, I listened to my language...guess what...



I think it started when they were toddlers and I started to say, "No!" for their safety.  But, 2 1/2 decades later I now have a bad habit.  I say, "NO!" a lot.  It comes out in obvious ways, just saying, "NO!" without listening to what someone is suggesting or saying.   It comes out as "NO!"  when someone approaches me with an idea and all I can think of is the extra work on my plate (vs. thinking HOW can we do this? WHO could we collaborate with?). It also comes out as not pushing out of my comfort zone.  And oh, so, many other ways. 

Now, I don't say, "NO!" to all that is presented to me. But, my tendency, my SOP,  is to say, "NO!"  I shudder when I think about it.    Have I squashed an employee's brilliant idea?  Have I shut-down my children with their thoughts or ideas?   What have I missed out in life on by saying, "NO!"? 

Boundaries are important but so is the future. Building a future you want starts with the germ of an idea. Perhaps you'll come up with it.  Perhaps you'll get a brainstorm by some random idea from your adult child because you listened and you were curious.   

Discern the difference between boundaries (they are for you; not the other person) and your future (whether it's next week's holiday meal or 30 years from now).  The next step is to listen to what is being said from your employees, your customers, your friends, your neigbors, your children.  And the next step is the best step, be curious.  Ask questions.  Wonder about the how, the who. Explore. Besides it is a lot more fun than being boxed in by NO. 

FYI...I will continue to say, "No!" to my grandson when he goes for the electrical outlet.  Safety First!  :) 

What have you said, "NO!" to and realized later you should have heard more?  Share your family-friendly comment in the box below.  

Your Success. My Support, 
Annette de Lancey