How to Say ‘No’ AFTER You’ve already said ‘Yes’!
Last year, I wrote an op-ed for YFS Magazine titled “The Art of Saying No In Business” and I shared it here as well! I got a lot of response from people with full schedules like me who simply can not take on any other obligations, but say ‘Yes’ to more things anyways. Well, what happens when you’ve already said ‘Yes’, THEN realize you are in over your head?
This happened to me recently. I thought I could handle this extra project and had every good intention of doing so. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize I had other projects that needed to take priority over this one. As difficult as it was going to be, I needed to be honest with myself and the other party involved and tell them I could not commit the time it required to do a stellar job – as is always the expectation for myself with anything I commit to!
The project involved reviewing a restaurant for my Dinner With Nerds Food Blog. The company sent me coupons and asked me to go out and try some new items on their menu. I was knee-deep in other projects when I said “Yes” and should not have, but did anyways. So, once the coupons came in the mail I set them on my counter and pretty much forgot about them. That is until the restaurant rep contacted me asking if I had received them and had a chance to visit the restaurant yet. As much as I hated to, I had to email the rep back and tell her I was slammed with projects and simply could not dedicate the time it would take to do a great job. I offered to send the coupons back and thanked her again for even considering me for this opportunity. Doing restaurant reviews for my blog involves me visiting a given restaurant, trying out the menu items, photographing the food, uploading and editing the pictures then finally writing a blog post. This usually equates to a couple of hours worth of work.
I absolutely love blogging, but again, it involves quite a bit of time per blog post. I cover mostly local restaurants for my blog and even when I go out-of-town, only cover restaurants that are local to that city. This particular restaurant mentioned above is a chain restaurant and really doesn’t fit in with my blog’s brand.
This taught me a major lesson. I am certainly flattered when anyone who is familiar with my work thinks well enough of me to ask me to work with them on a project. However, over-committing yourself to too many things is never a good idea. It takes practice to get into the art of saying “No”, but it also takes COURAGE to admit that you took on too much and professionally say “No” AFTER you’ve already said “Yes”.
It’s better to be honest and say ‘NO’ than perform less than optimal work because you over committed! (Tweet this)
Is there something you’ve already said “Yes” to that you need to now say “No” to? How do you plan to do that?
– Dr. April
Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.