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Tips & Lessons for 2022: Normalize saying "No"


It's hard to say "no." Especially in a work setting. Years of conditioning have led us to struggle with an irrational fear of disappointing our boss or co-workers. 

"Can you jump on a quick call?"

"Can you join a meeting today at 1pm?"

Boundaries are important. Your work rhythm is important. Context switching is the progress killer. Saying "no" is not something we should fear. 

Of course, you don't have to feel guilting by actually using "no." You could always try something like: "I would love to! I'm looking forward to speaking to you more about this but my time is spoken for today. Is there another time this week we could get together?"

That's a "no" without even a negative phrase. You have taken ownership of your time and energy while still being accommodating to your co-worker/boss.

Relevance for today

Work/Life separation has never been more of a challenge since the start of the great WFH migration of 2020. We are working more hours now than before the pandemic began. Just because our laptops phones are now always within arms reach does not mean we have to grab them. Take your time not working as seriously as you take the time you are. Work is important. It's necessary. But it will never be important as your life.


Creating boundaries when responding to requests is like creating boundaries for priorities in the day/week, in role definition, or in project scope. When we create boundaries, we can more efficiently address what we signed up to do, which frees us up to tackle something else down the road.

If today we're burned out from not getting to what we want, I think saying no to the right things tells us how to say yes to a more satisfying outcome + work lif eexperience.

Like Daniel Eads likes this

Hi @Josh Costella 

   The limit you have to put yourself first, you must be very clear about what you want in your life
Put limits on your schedule, your friends, your relationships, you must be clear that you must live and live well

    Another very important point is to downplay the "NO", we tend to demonize it and think that they are going to fire us or that we are not going to move up in the company, or that our friends or partner will stop loving us
If that were the case, assess if you are in the right place and with the right people


You were fabulous in your post, @Josh Costella 

It's exactly what I needed.

Have a great day!

Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Jan 11, 2022

That's a great post and a great advice @Josh Costella ! Thanks for sharing this with us.


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