It is important to most of us that we are liked by others–we want to belong and feel good in our relationships.  This has a frequent side effect of saying yes to people and activities that are not aligned with your goals, purpose or values.  Sometimes we get to the point where we’ve said yes to so many things, just to make other people happy, that there is no time left to do what makes us happy.

Enter the art of saying “no.”  You don’t have to say no forever, just no for now.  You can be nice about how you say no.  Use phrases like, “That sounds like a great opportunity, I’m just going to have to pass right now.” or “I really appreciate your asking me, I’m just not available to help with this right now.”  Avoid making excuses.  Just say no, and stop talking.  You can even refer the asker to another person you know who might be more available or interested.

As you practice saying no, you will find your time opening up and shifting to your own priorities and values.  When you give up pleasing others at the expense of yourself, you’ll find yourself more focused, energized and optimistic.  And, you leave yourself room to say yes to the really amazing opportunities that come along!