5 Reasons Why You Need to Get Better at Saying “No”

I have a hard time saying “no.” Perhaps you do, too. I think it is more common than we think, especially for those who are empathetic or nurturing. We just hate the thought of hurting someone else’s feelings.

Red marker writing the word

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/WendellandCarolyn

I didn’t really notice this problem in myself, because for most of my career I have had an assistant who said “no” for me. If someone had a request, they had to get through her first.

This gave me the buffer I needed to consider the request more carefully. I then let her say “no” on my behalf. The fact that I didn’t have to deliver the bad news myself kept me focused and productive.

Now that I have left the corporate world, everything has changed. I don’t currently have an assistant (a problem I am working to remedy). That means the requests are all coming straight to me.

For example, a few weeks ago, an acquaintance—someone I met briefly at a conference—sent me an email. These aren’t the exact words, but this is typically of the kinds of requests I now get:

I read your blog daily and follow you on Twitter. We met briefly after your speech in Dallas. I am going to be in Nashville next week and would really like to meet with you.

I am in the middle of a personal crisis and could use your counsel. I know you are busy, but this is really important. It would mean the world if you could make time for me. Could I buy you breakfast, lunch—or just coffee—to pick your brain?”

I ended up saying “yes”—and was kicking myself almost immediately. The lunch meeting ended up being a total waste of time. He didn’t come prepared. In fact, when it was all said and done, I had no idea what he really wanted.

The problem is that I am now getting several of these requests a day. It could be a full-time job if I let it.

But that’s not going to happen, thanks to the encouragement of my family and close friends. There is too much at stake. They are holding me accountable.

I have now resolved to say “no” to everything unless there is a really, really compelling reason to say “yes.” In other words, I have switched my default response from “yes” to “no.”

Sure enough, I have getting plenty of opportunities to practice!

As I was thinking about this today, I was reminded again of why it is so important—not only for me, but probably for you as well. I wrote down five reasons.

If we don’t get better at saying “no,”

  1. Other peoples’ priorities will take precedence over ours.
  2. Mere acquaintances—people we barely know!—will crowd out time with family and close friends.
  3. We will not have the time we need for rest and recovery.
  4. We will end up frustrated and stressed.
  5. We won’t be able to say “yes” to the really important things.

This last one was the clincher for me. Every time I say “no” to something that is not important, I am saying “yes” to something that is.

Note: if you think this is somehow unspiritual, think how many times Jesus said “no” either explicitly or implicitly, so that He could stay focused on His Father’s business (see John 11:5-6 for one example).

Question: How are you doing at saying “no”? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    I used to be terrible at saying “No,”   but I’ve had to learn the hard way.  Your 5 reasons to not say no are spot-on.  There was just too much asked of me that would take over my life.

    As servant-leaders who want to help and support our followers, we are pulled to always say “Yes.”  But like you said, we have to leave room for the important “Yes”s!  

    We are not supporting the team if we are always putting out fires!

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Same here! I have gotten much better at it! :)

    • Jmhardy97

      I agree. Saying no is so difficult many times.


  • Julieb2903

    Absolutely brilliant blog this, I struggled for years to say No, then I just toughened up. The only 3 people in my life that I cant say no to now are my 3 sons, even in their twenties, if they ask I usually find the time for time, money or comfort, whatever it is they need. But to everyone else, as much as I feel for them, or sometimes even want to, I refuse. Once you get used to it it becomes easier…Good Luck.

    • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

      Good point!  But family is one of those “really important things” that we can say yes to … 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. It is getting easier for me with practice.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Yeah, I’m the kind of person that loves to say yes just because it would help someone else out, but I have learned to say “no” to a lot of things.

        One thing that is really easy to say “no” to is weird girls that want to get my phone number…that is a definite NO! haha

        • Jmhardy97


          That is funny.


          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Sometimes it is funny…other times, it is plain creepy!


    • http://www.facebook.com/mfernihough Michael Fernihough

      I agree. I find that in raising four children under the age of eight, my standard response to them is no (typically without a good reason). My challenge is for my standard response to them to be yes, but that happens a whole lot easier when I’m saying no to other things. 

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        I have three children in that same age range – and I share a similar story.  I am working at finding more of the right things to say yes to with them, as they grow older, so that I do not squash their initiative.

        • Jmhardy97


          it is hard to balance standards and teaching opportunities with being supportive and allowing them to have freedom.


          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            So true.  I have to remember that there is not a formula that you can magically apply to solve all situations.  It really is something you have to consistently work at.

      • Tonda Solomon

        Michael, I was you not so long ago.  Now my youngest  is 15 and oldest 22.  My husband had become the “no” person in our family, because, as a mom, I was always saying YES! It took us several years for me to recognize that my four boys were running me ragged with all my yes responses.  My husband had to recognize that our boys sometimes merited a consideration before he just said NO! (And possibly a followup explanation.) The key was for us to dialogue about how they were impacting our lives and, likewise, us impacting theirs.  In our society today it is difficult to find balance with any number of children.  They have way more options than we did at their age.  I had to learn to ask was my yes for something good or for something great.  The greats had to win out.  It also helps to look at them as part of a family rather than an individual.  Their entire lives they will be more considerate if they learn in the context of being part of a group rather than an island.  It’s a ton of fun!

        • Jmhardy97


          very good example.


  • http://takechargesolutions.org Marcia Francois

    I love your post, Michael, because it’s so important to say yes to the important things.

    I have a thing I tell myself which has helped me – if it’s not an absolute yes, it’s a no.

    Also, hope you don’t mind me putting this link here but I wrote an article about this some time ago http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-You-Must-Learn-to-Say-No&id=6348866

    All the best strengthening your “no” muscle :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great. I look forward to reading you article. I need all the help I can get!

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Love the “no” muscle. Dr. Henry Cloud taught first taught me about it. 

      • Jmhardy97

        Did he write that in a book?


        • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

          Yes. I think it was Boundaries, but I can’t remember. 

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Riete Nijdeken

    I absolutely love this blog!

    I was terrible at saying ‘no’ but that cost me dearly!

    A few years ago I had a severe burn out and I had to stay at home for almost a year. I’m back to work now but in the beginning I clearly hadn’t learned my lesson. It took not more than six months before I almost broke down again.
    I’m recently in the capable hands of a coach who is teaching me exactly the five points you mentioned.

    And I love it! Now I have time for family, friends and things that build me up … so I can do my job far better than I ever could.
    It’s still hard at times but now I know why I say ‘no’. That helps!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent. Reminding myself of why is helping me, too.

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Glad God’s got you on the right path now Riete. 

    • http://www.withpaintedsharks.com Aaron Harris

      Great post.  I have such a hard time with this.  I am a people pleasing addict!  But understanding why that is is helping me find healing and strengthen the “NO” muscle.  Also, learning that my NO doesn’t need an explanation has helped me too

    • Jmhardy97

      That is exciting!


  • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

    Have you heard Andy Stanley’s sermon, “Choosing to Cheat?” There is a book by the same title. The premise is that we ALL cheat people with our time, it’s just a matter of WHO will get cheated. We tend to be a lot more loyal to people who are a lot less loyal to us.

    You can pick it up here: http://store.northpoint.org/catalogsearch/result/?q=Choosing+to+cheat&x=0&y=0

    Well worth it!!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Not only have I read it, I published it! (I tried to talk him out of the title, though.)

      • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

        That would seem fitting. (you publishing a great book…) Hopefully someone else can gain something from the link. Would it help if you had a filter through which you could run your requests to see if they align with your strengths? Maybe a set of 5 simple questions you could apply to requests for your time…

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I pretty much have that now. My two filters are writing and speaking. If it isn’t one of those two things, the answer is “no.” If it is one of those two activities, it goes through another set of filters.

          I think having a list of questions is great!

      • Beng Alba

        I’m sure it’s an excellent book (or else you wouldn’t have published it) but it’s too bad you weren’t able to talk him out of that title. At first glance people might think it’s the autobiography of an adulterer or a scammer, or even a self-help book for people who needs help in cheating! :) 

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Exactly. It was confusing at best.

          • http://twitter.com/drrandywillis Randy Willis

            I thought the title was thought-provoking, attention getting. I was fine with it. Besides, the subtitle helps explain it … “Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?”

            By the way, I read the book 3 or 4 years ago just before we adopted the first of two kids from Korea. Not cheating our kids/family is a constant battle!

        • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

          This is true, but it does raise your curiosity a bit!

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          I totally agree with that!

        • Joe Lalonde

          Beng, you’re right. The title could make someone think the book is about improper behavior.

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Sounds like a great book. Thanks for recommending. 

      • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

        If you don’t have time to read, you can download the sermon for $1.00 at the same link I posted.  It’s a game-changer!

        • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

          Thanks.. I’ll have to do that. 

      • Jmhardy97

        I agree.


    • Joe Lalonde

      I’ll have to look into picking up that book. Sounds interesting.

      • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

        If you don’t have time to read, you can download the sermon for $1.00 at the same link I posted.  It’s a game-changer!

        • Joe Lalonde

          Thanks Dwayne. I might have to look into downloading the sermon. I’ve got a lot of books on my list.

    • Jmhardy97


      Thank you for sharing this. I love listening to Any’s sermons.


      • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

        You are welcome. I love leveraging information to help others! If you remember, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    We often are afraid to say no because we don’t want others to think we are cruel, heartless, or arrogant. But most people are fine with a politely delivered no. The real issue is what we think of ourselves. We have to be able to look in the mirror and tell ourselves it’s OK, and your five points are five killer ways we can do that.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think you make a very subtle but important point. Sometimes, we think we can’t say “no” because we don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. In reality, we are more concerned out our own reputation!

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        WOW! Never thought of it like that. Nice point!

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon


      • Jmhardy97

        Very good point.


    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Great point. Often times we say we don’t want to hurt other people, but many times it may be because we want to look good ourselves.

      • FemmeFuel

        You are so right, Dylan. The problem is, never saying “no” just ends up backfiring on us since our inability to say “no” causes us to miss deadlines, appear disorganized and out of control, and implies that we are unable to keep our promises–all major reputation killers, which just make us look badly at the end of the day. Thanks for the insight.


        • Jmhardy97

          So true. That has happen to me to many times.


    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      I have been caught in the trap of not wanting to say no because I didn’t want to give the persona that I was more important or more privileged than everyone else.  Sometimes it can seem like a fine line.

  • http://joeandancy.com Joe Abraham

    For me, saying ‘no’ was quite hard in the beginning. Later I learned a valuable lesson that whenever I am not saying ‘no’, I am silently saying ‘yes’! Now I verbalize  a polite ‘no’ rather than hiding behind Silence. Yes, I agree with these 5 reasons.

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    I, too, have learned over the years of ministry and secular work to say ‘NO’. You are right…Jesus said ‘No’ plenty of times. Saying ‘no’ prevents the tyranny of the urgent to overtake you. I had to learn that it was not God’s will that I say ‘yes’ to everything. I often think of what Beth Moore says about trying to do too many things….’you cannot do a thousand things to the glory of God’. That has guided me many times.

  • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

    I have an email in my inbox from someone who doesn’t have the social skills to realize that she’s over-used my time and advice. She now wants me to meet her parents who are visiting from another country and don’t speak English. I’m going to use this latest request to develop my ‘no’ strategy.

  • http://twitter.com/mlukaszewski Michael Lukaszewski

    This is a great post, and a necessary part of leadership.  However, I’m personally convicted that I led too often with a no.  Instead, it might have been better to lead with a “Yes, but..”

    Yes, I would love to meet with you in your time of trouble, but could you send me a few questions ahead of time.

    Yes, I would love to talk shop with you, but I’m pretty swamped in the next few months…we’ll have to wait a while.

    Yes, but it’s the weekend which is time I reserve for my family…can this wait until Monday.

    And of course you are right, saying no is often necessary.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I used to try and delay saying yes, buy talking about how busy I am right now. That only compounded the problem, because I would end up saying no later. Now, I just bite the bullet and say no. It’s easier on everyone.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        With delaying, you can get yourself in a mess! I have done it many times!

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        And, delaying the no when you know that you will end up saying no just adds to the busy schedule since you are now creating another time that you have to deal with the issue (and often in a more complicated way).

        It’s hard for me to “bite the bullet”; but, I am learning!

    • Jmhardy97

      I agree, good leaders have to learn to say no or they will get over whelmed.


  • http://www.susiefinkbeiner.wordpress.com Susie Finkbeiner

    I don’t struggle to say “no” the first time. The struggle is when others won’t accept the “no” and keep pushing. I’m in a situation like that and can’t figure out how to get the person to understand that the respectful thing would be to take the “no”. Ugh!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I had a lady yesterday who wanted me to review her book proposal. I said “no” politely the first time and pointed her to some other resources. She came back a second time with all the reasons why this should be an exception to the rule. I politely answered her a second time, and explained why the answer was still “no.” When she came back a third time, I marked her message as spam and ignored her. Some people are slow learners.

      • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

        That was just yesterday? It would be interesting to live a day in your shoes. I bet you’ve got some stories to tell!

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Haha! That is classic! I’ve had a few spammers like that on my site…delete!

      • http://twitter.com/_salam_ Kevin Bushnell

        Although some people are slow learners, this person might have been of the persuasion that “persistence” is what counts.  Persistence is a necessity but it’s not the only thing that counts. I’m reminded of the lesson I was ‘taught’ years ago that says: God must trying to tell you something (hence the persistence) so you might as well obey. Scripture is invariably brought in as a ‘witness’ (read: proof-texted beyond recognizability).  The subtle teaching says “saying NO is tantamount to rebellion.”  Long ago I rejected that “teaching” but it still holds some lingering influence (probably because it was ingrained at an early age).  
        Thanks for your powerful wisdom on this and other important areas, Michael!

  • http://www.myoneresolution.com/ Don McAllister

    I think it is important to be assertive and stand up for yourself and say “No.” It’s usually the best thing to do to focus on our priorities – which should be God, our marriage, and families, in that order. 

  • http://sheliamullican.com Shelia

    Amen and Amen!

  • Beth West

    The book “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud made a HUGE difference for me.   I had always thought that nice, Christian people couldn’t say no.  Reading this book was the first time I understood that you could actually be doing someone a favor by letting them be responsible for their own issues.  It is still hard though.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great reminder. I think I need to re-read it.

      • Jim Seybert

        Richard Swenson’s “Margin” makes great arguments for the benefits of saying NO.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          One of my favorite books.

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          Margins have been a big topic in my circle over the last few years.  It is so easy to squeeze out margins; but, they really are an important aspect of our lives.

    • Joe Lalonde

      You know… I have that book sitting on my bookshelf. It may need to be the next book that I read.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Sounds like a good book…thanks for the sharing it.  I like, and have used, the perspective that sometimes it is a better service to a person to say no to their request so that they must solve their problem/issue/task/etc.

  • http://chrisvonada.com chris vonada

    Michael, thank you for sharing this… it appears to be somewhat a “personality-related issue” as not everyone has this problem (I share in your pain!). There is a good book that may be helpful to anyone else who is interested… “Boundaries: When to say yes, when to say no, to take control of your life” 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, great book. Several have mentioned it here in the comments. I read it years ago, but need to re-read it. Thanks.

    • Jmhardy97


      thank you for reminding me to get that book.


  • http://stefanferreira.com Stefan

    Thanks so much for this. I have a hard time saying no too, but I have been working hard to change this – in fact, I’ve already said “no” twice today. But every time I do it, there is a little bit of guilt that gnaws at my conscience, because my default setting is to try and help; being extraordinary helpful is, in fact, a core philosophy underpinning my business.

    But it’s true – if we say yes to everything we will be overstretched. In trying to help everyone, we end up being of use to no-one at all.So thanks for this reminder, which I will file and come back to every time my resolve weakens!

    • Riete Nijdeken

      I felt that guilt too! Until someone told me to ask myself these questions … 
      1. Does this person need immediate help (is it an emergency)
      2. Am I the only one in the whole world who can help or is someone else more equipped to help
      3. Is there time in my schedule to do this (is this  important enough for me to re-schedule and probably disappoint others)

      These three questions helped me a lot to feel less guilty at saying ‘no’.

  • Echinn66

    This can also pertain to parenting….especially for older kids (teens.) One one hand, you don’t want to be a dictator but rather allow them to do some things that they wish to do. But, sometimes, when you say no to them, they don’t realize that you’re saying yes to something else down the road that will make them even more happy.

  • Anonymous

    It seems there is a theme here that I will continue. I have learned the ability to say no even though many times it is difficult. The older I get the more I realize the importance of being protective of my time.

    However, many of the successes I have had in my life were due to someone more experienced willing to sit down for an hour and share their wisdom. I feel like it is my responsibility, to a certain extent, to reciprocate. I just have to decide in advance how much time I can dedicate to this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, because if the devil can’t take you out with doing evil, he will wear you out with doing good.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        That is true! Instead of pouring 100% into the ministry God has blessed you with…by saying yes to everything, you might be giving 5% to every little thing.

  • http://bit.ly/hWr7Cw Rob T

    Could I buy you coffee at the Catalyst conference?  JK!  Good article, I struggle with the same… it helps me to think about what I am saying NO to when I say YES.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Ha! No! (I feel so much better.)

    • Anonymous

      LOL!  This made my day.  (just wish I had thought of it first).

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Same here!  haha…I wonder if Mr. Hyatt would turn down a steak dinner?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt


          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Great answer! :)


    • Joe Lalonde

      Rob, you asked the wrong question. You should have asked “Would you have any objections to me buying you a cup of coffee at the Catalyst conference?”

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Right! It’s all how your phrase it! :)

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        Sounds like a true salesman – identify objections, overcome, ask for the sale :)

        • Joe Lalonde

          Thanks Steven. Sometimes you just gotta ask it the right way.

    • Jmhardy97

      Thats funny.


  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    In this world of instant communication and social media we all want connection. It’s imperative in building our platform that we network, get the word out, and are available to others. Unfortunately our plates fill up and can easily lead to burnout. When that happens it’s usually time to step back and ask the “why” question. Why are we doing this? What is really important?

    Saying NO is an important part of life. I just wish it was easier to do. 

    Michael, you definitely need an assistant to buffer your time. Just responding to 300 comments a day here has to be draining… and then 100,000 Twitter followers… Wow.

    P.S. Don’t even think about Google Plus till you hire someone :-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am in the process of hiring someone now. One of my good friends kicked my butt about this on Saturday.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        I’m quickly realizing how much time a well planned “Platform” takes. When you actually get some “success,” it’s nice to have someone to help.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Did you used to have anyone hired to manage your social media?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Nope. I have always done that myself.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            That’s good! Are you on google+ now? I’m not really sure what to think of


          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Yep. I’m giving it a whirl.

  • David Adeola

    Not very good but I’m learning the hard way as it affects the important things! Would you mind letting me know about the scripture quoted how it applies to saying NO or did you mean another scripture verse? Thanks for the Post.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      When Lazarus became sick, his sisters, Mary and Martha, informed Jesus (v. 3) They unstated implication was that he should drop what he was doing and come. However, Jesus understand the bigger purpose of God—that this was happening for the glory of God (v. 4). Because of this, and because of his love for Mary and Martha (see v. 5), he stayed where he was for two more days (see v. 6).

      In the meantime, Lazarus died. When Jesus finally showed up, Martha was not happy that he had delayed coming (v. 20-21). But again, Jesus had a bigger purpose, which became clear as the story progressed.

      Hope that helps.

  • http://www.mhmcintyre.us Mark McIntyre

    Thanks for reinforcing the freedom to say no. People-pleasing is a huge trap for me.

    I feel the need to offer some counter perspective though. Recently I said yes to a ministry opportunity that normally I would have declined. I received a blessing and was used by God to encourage others in spite of my initial reluctance to be involved.

    I want to be more sensitive to God’s leading and more disciplined in following. This sounds easy and somewhat cliche, but I find it to be difficult to do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I still want to stay open to God’s leading, too. It’s just that the devil often sends traps disguised as opportunities. ;-)

  • http://theperkinsblog.net MichaelDPerkins

    Saying no is something that I’m learning to do as well.  I have been serving in my first pastorate  since March.  The one thing that I didn’t foresee is how many times I would be asked to do something when it wasn’t that important.  Now, I understand that everything is important to the people and I love them dearly.  But there are certain things that can wait.  And there are certain things that cannot take precedence over my family.  It took me a while to realize that I was saying yes to everything.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Take inspiration from Jesus, especially John 11.

    • Anonymous

      I’m in the same boat.  I’ve been pastoring part-time for a couple of years, but just started full-time in June.  It’s amazing how hard it is to prioritize activities.  Praying for you.  Please pray for me.

  • http://www.godsabssolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    While my children were growing up, my favorite word to them was “no.” I told them that it was easier to turn a “no” into a “yes” than vice versa, and sometimes, I allowed them to present the case for me to change my mind. Anyway, all that practice saying “no” has paid off in my life because I find it fairly easy to turn down requests. I keep reminding myself that I don’t have to do everything that comes along. Also, as far as hurt feelings go, I pray that God will work everything out to the good of everyone involved.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree on the hurt feelings. I hate that that happens, but if someone chooses to be hurt because I say “no,” so be it. That is between them and God.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        True. Our time is too important!

  • Pauline Logan

    Saying “No” can encourage responsibility in others, if the request is something that person could do for himself.

  • Cassandra Frear

    This is the kind of thing I encounter frequently as well. I am extremely busy, but not in a structured office most of the time. Traditional time management works best in an office setting. 
    I try to remember that a “no” means “yes” to something else and a “yes” means I will have to say “no”. Other people can feel offended or slighted by this, even if I communicate it with as much sensitivity as possible. 

    But I am not sure I would say that my default answer is “no!” Here’s the problem: I have to be careful I don’t use a time-management rule to push away something new that God wants to do. At numerous points in my life, someone I did not know and encountered unexpectedly became a key ministry experience. I’m glad I responded to the moment,  because God was in it. 

    We need to pray for eyes to see these opportunities. The Bible is full of them, as examples to us. I believe that when we walk by the Spirit, completely surrendered to God’s plan, we will sense his leading in these situations. He will make it clear to us. But we need the flexibility to be “in the moment” when He is prompting us to respond. 

  • Linda Campo

    I have a very hard time saying no.  And, you are correct, it only winds up with me becoming overwhelmed and frustrated.  Your 5 points will be helpful to me.

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    No, I won’t tell you all the reasons I relate to this blog post (there are at least five). For years I mistook a high-energy personality and “can do” attitude as a welcome mat for good causes, yet my own dreams drifted in and out of view.  I still love a good cause, but often my best support comes with a confident, “No, not for me, but I’ll  pray about it with you.”  For the sincere, this is always well received.  For the (perhaps) less sincere, this sends them searching elsewhere, faster than kudzuu climbs a phone pole. 

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Michael, good points. Saying “No” is so hard. I know for me, I feel so guilty when I say “No” to nearly anything. Now, I’m not nearly as in-demand as you or many of your followers, but its all a scale. We all have people pulling us in many directions. I guess, as you mention, if we know our priorities up front, making the decision to say NO becomes much easier.

  • http://rumorsofglory.net/blog/ Lucille

    Michael, I used to be such a people-pleaser. It was imperative that people like me because I had such poor self-esteem. Plus I was trying to be a good Christian. Years ago I was on the phone with a “friend” who was very manipulative. I kept telling her I needed to go — my 8-year old daughter was giving an oral presentation at school. But this person kept talking: “Fine, go ahead, let the strong survive and the weak ones die…” Finally, I said, “Mary, you know I love you but I need to go.” I hung up, raced to the school just in time to hear my daughter’s last sentence. It was then that I decided no more! What helped me most were the Boundaries books by Cloud & Townsend. Now I’m a counselor and get to teach others how to do this.

  • Octavian Gabor

    I had recently decided to say more often “no” to reading your blog. Do not get me wrong–it is not because I do not like it. In fact, I realized that I was getting addicted to it. Why read every day one blog, any blog, just because it is there and I get the daily email reminder? (By the way, I get no emails to say my prayers, and sometimes I really think it would help :) ). I was not only reading it, but also reading the comments, and I realized it took quite some time from the day. But then I realized that deciding to say “no” gave me an idol to worship–saying “no.” Was I really spending my time in a more meaningful way? Was I really doing, metaphorically speaking, “my Father’s business,” or was I going from one little object of worship to another? So I thought that if I really say “no” to you, or to your blog, I must actually say “no” to me, or to an addiction of mine. But doing so, I realized, opens the possibility of still reading interesting posts, such as this one, without feeling the obligation (given to me by myself) of reading your posts every morning.

    I actually do not know how one can say “no” to another without actually saying “no” to oneself first. Choosing between self and another is always a dangerous business, I think. But the freedom that comes with saying “no” to oneself may be the space in which saying “no” to others does not mean saying “yes” to self.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I actually agree with you. I love Seth Godin, but I don’t read everyone of his posts. I scan the headline and if it sounds relevant, I read it. If not, I move to the next thing. You are doing the right thing.

  • http://bernardshuford.tumblr.com Bernard Shuford

    And now there’s some poor joker in the world who had a genuine problem but didn’t know how to say it and is now terribly embarrassed.  Either that or he was an attention freeloader and used the excuse of needing counsel to get to meet a famous dude named Michael Hyatt.  Yeah, that’s probably more likely.

    Now you know why the celebrities hate all the attention.  It’s the same problem.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, I’m afraid you are right. By the way, I gave him plenty of opportunity. I asked him every question I could think of, trying to drill down to his issue. He just talked in circles.

      • http://bernardshuford.tumblr.com Bernard Shuford

        Take comfort in the fact that you tried to do a good thing and learned a lot from it yourself. :)  

        However, from several years of reading the blogs of people who are “well-known”, I would caution that you need to nurture a genuinely caring way of saying “no”.  The Steven Furticks, Perry Nobles, and other “big dogs” often hide so effectively behind their “assistants” that it creates an impression of “I’m too special to be a real human being”.  NFL players have the same problem.  Nascar drivers.  Turning down one autograph turns into a tabloid nightmare – just ask Aaron Rodgers, who unwittingly created a huge scandal by not pausing to sign for a cancer survivor (it took a long time to drag out the truth that he HAD signed for her before….)  The “don’t bother me, I’m busy doing really important stuff” virtually ALWAYS feels insulting.  

        My first encounter with you was when you sent me a replacement study Bible – without really being asked at all – because I commented on a blog (not yours) that mine was tearing up in a similar fashion to the blogger.  $50 bucks for your company (sort of) but a world of impression on me.  So, I agree that your “fans” need to respect you, your family, and your time, but never forget that your kind gestures to the little man may go a long ways in the big picture. :)

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Thanks, Bernard. This is a good reminder for me. I appreciate it.

        • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

          Good advice on saying no in a caring way.

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          Great examples!

  • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com Gail B. Hyatt

    You’re getting better and staying nice in the process. I’m proud of you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are my best coach!

  • http://www.cathrynhasek.com Cathryn Hasek

    Oh boy does this resonate with me!  I volunteer a lot for different things and I have a terrible time saying “no” to any job.  I have to tell myself, a lot, the Matthew scripture (5:37) of letting your “yes’s” mean “Yes” and your “No’s” mean no.  Overextending yourself is not helpful, it can be harmful and a waste of time, if there is another person who can devote more time to the project at hand.

    Thanks for the reminder and your thoughts on this subject.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I always tend to underestimate the time required. Someone recently asked me to do a two-minute video promotion for them. I said “yes,” thinking it might take an hour. By the time I wrote the script, set up the video gear, shot 24 takes, and then edited the video, it took an entire morning. Is that stupid or what? It was a good reminder to double or triple the amount of time I think it will take, so that I know what I am really saying yes to.

  • Carla B

    I thought I had make great progress this year saying “no” and even got rid of a truck load of “stuff” and turned down many opportunities for work, activity and even fun. Yet recently a client actually got me to say “yes” several times and I really was not prepared to serve that one in the best way because it put me into a time crunch with previous commitments and I noticed I sort of resented having to “serve!” That shocked me. So I cancelled an appointment and that person then cancelled one. 

    The week began with me having a good deal of stress and some illness reasserting itself (illness I know is ONLY stress related and not medical!). AH, I got out my my Bible and spent some time with Him. In praying before this “YES” had occurred, I had asked God to provide a clear message about what I would/should be doing in my work. Suddenly I had 10-12 hour days and was very very drained. This event brought me into my prayers of this week as more of a listener. The result was a nearly audible reply in God’s voice (as I hear it).  He said, “Now that I gave you what you asked for, would you rather let me care for you in MY way or YOUR way?” It was a powerful reminder that in having said “yes” to what was not a wise choice even tho within my skill set, God was able to bless me, yet I would have been healthier and more at peace had I just allowed God to be in control of the timing and in my role said “NO” more frequently and know He would still have blessed me and met my needs! Your post is a very good reminder, thanks.

  • Allen Marsh

    This is such a timely post. My wife and I were just talking about this last night. I am trying to get us to be more proactive planners so that we can say no easier. She is not real comfortable with the idea of planning our vacation times a year in advance, but I am hoping to get her there. Anyone have any tips for living someone to this point? Our fall schedule is already packed!

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    “We won’t be able to say yes to the really important things.” Very true. Learning to say no is a valuable tool, and it’s not because we don’t care. Great post!

  • Kelly

    What a great post.  I have been learning to say no over the past year.  It is hard to do after years of saying yes to everything and people used to hearing it from you.  I have had to learn that no is an answer and doesn’t require reasons and explanations after it. 

    I’ll have to look for the book by Dr. Henry Cloud. 

  • Pingback: what I’m loving right now » Domestic Serenity()

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    Watch out for wily petitioners who may ask you whether you have any objections. 

  • http://www.melaniebolke.com Melanie Bolke

    This is a tough one.  Especially for those desiring to be known as reliable, dependable and a “go-to” source of information and advice. 

    A friend and business partner helped me see a Reason No. 6 for saying “no” years ago: your reputation. Saying “yes” to everything can lead to overcommitment, lack of follow-through, and even resentment.  Better to guard your reputation by saying “no” when appropriate and be known for delivering excellence when you say “yes”.

    Consider saying “yes, if…”. This is a practice I’ve adopted that has really helped weed out time-wasters.  If someone wants to meet with me to pitch their business idea or seek advice on starting a speaking career, I give them a mini-assignment first.  I say something like: “Sure – I’d be happy to meet with you.  Before we connect, take some time to craft a draft business plan.  As soon as you have that ready, contact me and we’ll set up a time to meet.”  If they are not serious about how they spend their time, why should I let them waste mine?  For the few individuals who respond favorably, I’m happy to help them.

    As a business owner and new mom, the practice of saying “no” is definitely one that I need to continue working on.  Thanks for the encouraging post.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I couldn’t agree more. The mini-assignment is a valuable tool, though I often fail to use it (like in the example in my post). Just last week, a business acquaintance of mine wanted to meet to “brainstorm book ideas.” I sent them my e-book on “Writing a Winning Non-Fiction Book Proposal” for free and told them I’d be happy to get together once they have a written proposal. I haven’t heard from them since.

    • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

      Melanie makes some great points.  I own several businesses (launched in a down economy) and it has been a challenge to say “no,” with so much uncertainty about next month’s volume.  The “protect your reputation” message is an important reminder.

  • http://twitter.com/animusproject The Animus Project


    I agree with you completely although I am curious. Would you be more amenable to saying yes if the acquaintance were to offer you say $100-$200 for an hour of your time? Not that money would be the motivating factor for you but it may show the seriousness of the acquaintance in wanting to get the maximum from the meeting.

    PS. I’m not looking for a $100 an hour meeting with you. I’m just curious of your reasoning :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      First of all, I charge WAY more than that. ;-)

      I actually think charging is great—not so much for me, but in order for the other person to “have skin in the game.” When I am paying a consultant or a counselor for their time, I listen way differently.

      However, right now I am turning away lots of people who are willing to pay for me to consult with them. I just don’t have the time. These opportunities are not as important to me as what I have already said “yes” to.

      • http://twitter.com/animusproject The Animus Project

        LOL! Nice to know you bring in the big bucks :)

        You’re in a great position though, better to be turning away opportunities than have none at all.

  • Kay

    Excellent blog with air tight reasons. The place I struggle the most these days is with social media. I sometimes feel that taking time to keep up with it is allowing non-essential surface chatter take precedent over my priorities.

  • http://www.gospellab.com Gospel lab

    It all comes down to balance in life.

    “No” often fosters the feeling of rejection.  But if I say yes to you I am rejecting something else in my life.

    You can set up a daily “yes” quota and God, family, and friends (in that order) have the first dibs.

    I suppose the more popular you are, the more times you will have to say no.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon


  • gecm1948

    Knowing what a sucker I am for serving on committees and fixing everyone’s problems, a friend had a special t-shirt made for me when I retired last year.    It simply says, “NO, Thank you”.  I haven’t worn it as often as I should though, but I’m getting much better at using those words.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Haha, that’s a great gift from your friend. Bet you get some looks when you wear it out.

  • http://twitter.com/mbstockdale Mary Beth Stockdale

    I love this post. I used to be the one saying yes to every request, without regard to my time, family time, etc. But am happy to say I’ve gotten much better over the last 5 years or so. I realized that I need to set priorities and boundaries around my time. It wasn’t easy at first, but when you explain that there is a family commitment and that is not enough, that person has a self-serving agenda. No one else will protect your time for you. 

    Just last night, I’m sure I disappointed a good friend. I love her to pieces, even love the ministry she invited me to serve in, but it wasn’t for me right now. So I prayed with her at the end of our phone conversation that God would bless her with an amazing team. And I meant it.

  • Justin Driscoll

    This is also something I work on since I work for  a membership-based trade association.  My job is to meet with members, regularly, but sometimes I have to get actual work done that doesn’t involve meeting with people.  It is a constant balancing act of who to meet with and when to meet with them.  Planning is very important in my world; thanks for the reminder that I need to be more strategic with this.

  • Tom Norvell

    Hey, I live in Nashville, and although I’m not going through a personal crisis, I would love to pick your brain a bit. Could I buy you breakfast, lunch or just coffee… Just kidding. Other than the living in Nashville part. Great advice! As I read I was thinking this sounds sort of selfish until I read #5. I appreciate your words.   

  • http://profiles.google.com/writingzombie Hanne Moon

    Great post, Michael! I am guilty of this as well. However, I have also seen where there have been times when my first inclination was “no” because I had a different direction I wanted my life to go, but God quickly slammed doors and opened windows to steer me to saying “yes”… and those “yesses” opened up windows of opportunity to minister that I never dreamed about. 

    However, looking at your five points above (that happen when we don’t say “no”), I see myself reflected quite prominently. Maybe I need to sit back and take stock (yet again) and see what it is that is most important… and let the rest go. (I find this a process, not a one time thing. I think we can easily slip back into “yes” mode all too easily…)

  • Lara Krupicka

    I’ve been thinking on this and trying to practice it over the past year – just as a matter of taming my schedule. I like how you spelled out the reasons for saying “no”. Good things to keep in mind when I feel like caving in to the wrong request.

    Here’s another reason (from Dr. Richard A. Swenson’s book, Margin):

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    “Saying no is not just a good idea – it has now become a mathematical
    necessity. Without this two-letter word, I doubt that regaining margin is
    possible. If there are 15 good things to do today and you can do only 10 of
    them, you will need to say no 5 times.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great quote!

  • http://www.susanbaganz.com Susan Baganz

    I have a mission statement and if what I’m being asked to do doesn’t coincide iwth my mission – then I will automatically say “no” – or “Let me pray about that” if it sounds like something I might like to do.  With kids and ministry and trying to write – if I said “yes” to everything I would have no time for what God has called me to do – but I don’t want to be so closed off that He might call me to something outside my comfort zone either. I struggle with feeling guilty when it involves volunteering at my kid’s school – but I already volunteer as a ministry leader and need to let go of some of that guilt.  Good post – keep saying “no” Michael and good for you for having people hold you accountable.

  • http://www.mamasgonecrazy.wordpress.com Kristina

    Love your ‘saying “no” points’! I really don’t have a problem saying no to people. Being a stay at home mom to 4 young kids, I know what and how much time I have to offer. Which is not a whole lot in this season of my life, considering that my children, my family are on the top of my priority list. 

  • Ladywriter47

    I’m actually pretty good at saying “No.” I think it’s the result of having worked in restaurants for many years. There was always someone wanting you to pick up extra hours or take their shift, and if I hadn’t learn how to refuse occasionally, I would have never slept. (Did I mention I was usually had at least two jobs at this point in my life, occasionally more?) So, I learned this skill, and it’s has stood the test of time as I’ve gotten older. 

  • Mary Kelso

    Since marrying my husband and especially since having children I have become much, much better at saying “no.”  Even directly to people’s faces and I don’t have to have a reason beyond, “that doesn’t fit in my schedule.”  Your five reasons to say “no” are on target.  Love it.  I was especially convicted when I realized that when I say “yes” to any project, I am saying “yes” for my entire family.  I am either dragging them along or I am excusing myself from them.  I had to stop that.  Another question that I use as a filter: does this have anything to do with what I know God has called me to do? 

    • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

      My wife has had the opposite approach. Since having kids she has said yes more than she should. Now she’s at her wits end trying to say no. She is getting better at it, much better, but saying yes all the time can certainly have a bad affect on things.

  • http://www.wonderwomanimnot.blogspot.com Liz @ Wonder Woman I’m Not

    This is a personal stuggle for me as well, I also see others in my staff struggling with this issue.  As we all try to balance our professional growth and personal lives it is important to make sure that we are only saying yes to the important things. 

    I’d like to thank you for the leadership advice you publish.  I have a first time manager on my staff.  I’ve been using your blog as a resource for him,  my other manager and myself to make sure that we are leading the department and making decisions for the company as wisely as we can.

  • http://jonathanpearson.net/ Jonathan Pearson

    I really like the idea that saying no to something is actually saying ‘yes’ to something else. Great way to think of it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, that was revolutionary for me as well. The challenge is to remember it when someone is asking you to do something new.

  • Chris

    Yes, Yes, Yes…… Learning this myself. Difficult when you work is giving to others! Thanks for this one…..

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    I think I finally came to terms that I cannot fix people’s problems. I am not in the business of changing hearts; that can only be done by one person alone, Jesus Christ.

    A lot of times people desire counsel because they get confused in thinking that by seeking counsel they can somehow dump their problems off by talking them out and then never have to deal with them when ultimately if you would just open your Bible you would know the answer to your problem is simple. 

    I appreciate the advice and leadership you display here Michael, but honestly, with over 100,000 online followers and more at all the things you do, I don’t envy you :-)

  • Jessica Bennett

    Wow.  What a great article!  I have been a stay at home mom for about 9 years now, but I remember whenever I would go to interview for a job and they asked me my strengths and weaknesses, my weakness was always saying no.  (no wonder I most always got the job.)  Knowing that you can and SHOULD say no in a lot of circumstances is actually very freeing!  Being in the ministry, it’s even THAT much more important to be able to say no and prioritize your time or the people will suck the life out of you and you’ll have nothing left to give your family.  Great article!

  • http://www.basicsmatter.com Les & Sweetie Berry

    I think its also about learning to listen carefully to the Holy Spirit and not our schedules or only rely on our knowledge or wisdom. So many folks aren’t prepared to stay in a peaceful presence as they do daily life, deal with interrupters, deal with what seems to be time wasters,  but on later reflection were there because God put them there. The same is true for other opportunities that in the flesh make perfect sense to do, that later turn out to be disasters but if one had tuned into the Holy Spirit’s presence, we had knowledge that that wasn’t a wise choice. I think we have to be really careful to not be caught up in our agendas only but to listen and receive God’s~Sweetie

  • http://twitter.com/BobbyWarrenTDR Bobby Warren

    This is going to be one of those, “yes, but …” answers. I fully recognize the need to say no. There are too many good projects and requests out there, and we cannot say “yes” to everyone. God has made all of us different, and there just might be someone better out there to address the request. How do we recognize the important things we have been saving our energy for? I think of what Paul told the Corinthians in his first epistle regarding lawsuits. Instead of moving forward with them in civilian courts, why not rather be wronged, he asked them. Is it truly a waste of time investing in the lives of others? Is God sovereign? Perhaps that meeting had a purpose; perhaps it was to get you to recognize you have to say “no” to some things. I hope I am yielding to the Holy Spirit when I commit or refuse, but who knows. Thanks for the post and thanks for the reminder.

  • http://jancoxabetterway.wordpress.com Jan Cox

    Oh I so know what you mean. When my kids were small I volunteered in everything. So much so that my hubby asked if I should get a “real” job. After 13 years I did get a real job. That did making saying “no” easier. Then I retired. Guess what – the same thing happened. Too much – too many choices and I wanted to try them all.

    But one thing I learned, if I pray God will lead me to the “yes” or “no”. Then His priorities become my priorities. I also learned that sometimes saying “yes” can be the sin of pride. Saying to myself, “well no one else could do it as well as I could; I have the right skills; so I will do it.” That is not following God’s lead, is it?

    Blessings to you as you learn to say… “let me think or pray about that”, or “no” but never “yes” right away.

  • Dani

    I am proud of myself because, not later than this morning, I have been able to say no to a project in which my heart was not.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great. I had a friend on Saturday who gave me that same inspiration.

  • http://ilifejourney.wordpress.com/ Rick Alvey

    My apologies Mike but I have to say “no” to your invitation to comment; I simply don’t have time. (Sorry, the jokester in me couldn’t resist! lol) Great post as always! Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Ha! Pretty funny.

  • Chelsea

    I mainly find it hard to say no to co-workers who want to talk relationally on work time. I feel very guilty for not making time for them (especially since I work for a church). This causes me to be frustrated at the end of the day because I didn’t accomplish the vision casting and brainstorming that I needed to accomplish in order to advance our ministry. Any tips fellow Michael Hyatt blog readers?

    P.S. Mr. Hyatt, can I buy you coffee or lunch or anything? Please! I really need to get your advice. Just kidding. :)

  • Anonymous

    A phenomenon that amuses me is when a Christian doesn’t have the boldness to say “No’ so they say, “Let me pray about it.”  Often that’s nothing more than a polite way of hoping the request will just fade away.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt


      • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

        Unless they actually do pray about it. In which case it was probably better (and more effective) than if they did say yes. Though I do see your point that it may not be more effective than saying no.

    • Joe Lalonde

      That stings a bit Dan… Only because I know I’ve used it before.

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    I appreciate your honesty here. As a Christian leader I always want to help people but I struggle when to say to other people’s problems and negate my own. I usually end being frustrated and not able to help anyone.

  • Judy Allen

    Thank you for reminding me of the importance of “no.”  Making the best use of valuable time is a daily goal for my life.  The trick for me is discerning God’s voice from all the others.  I want to have a ready “yes” response for him, but sometimes God’s voice comes in the form of a request from a friend, acquaintance, or even a stranger.  I don’t always discern his voice from theirs in these situations.  More often, though, it is God’s voice that offers rest and invites a slow-down.  Maybe that is part of the key to recognizing Him.  I’m learning.  Slowly.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve made some audacious “asks” over the years. And I’ve ended up respecting those who set limits more than those who say “yes” but don’t deliver. 

    I wonder if scripting a few paragraphs for each of the “no’s” you regularly need to make (decline speaking or book endorsements) and saving them as email signatures might take the sting out boundary setting. 

    And would you review -my- book proposal? ;)  

  • Colleen Coble

    I am TERRIBLE at saying no. I’m better than I used to be but yes still comes easier to me than no. Thanks for this great reminder of why the nos are important. :)

  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    In sales and not yet hitting on all cylinders, I struggle with saying no to potential clients that don’t fit my client profile. My employer doesn’t care who I work with, so I technically have the freedom to take on any client. And my colleagues run the gamut from ‘come one, come all’ to ‘I only work with clients that generate a certain income.’

    I came from academia (school & waiting tables) and ministry to sales. The struggle has been that I can’t treat every single potential client the same. I can serve every one, but I have to have a filter and say ‘no’ to doing certain things for EVERYBODY. I can’t hold hands. My number one priority is taking care of my family and serving my employers and clients in an ethical/godly way. That means I have to filter. I’m not great at it yet, though.

  • Jim Seybert

    Do we say “yes” because we don’t want to hurt feelings? Or, do we say “yes” because we want (or need) to feel important?

    There’s a certain ego-boost when I open my email and find people asking for help. MY help. They need me to offer assistance. If enough people ask, I can slip on my bright red cape and swoop to the rescue of everyone – a supernatural multitasking hero.

    Saying “no” requires me to admit I can’t do it all; that I am limited in my ability to solve problems and offer advice.

    Your 5th point is the real pay-off.

    When I come to grips with my limits and learn to say “no” to the multitudes; when I humbly admit there are many things I just can’t do – I am released to focus intently on the small list of things I can do well.

    God wants to grant the desires of my heart. If my heart’s desire is to help someone with a need, I will do a much better job if theirs has my complete attention.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Jim, great thought there! I think a lot of the reasons we don’t say no is due to the ego boost.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great comment, Jim. Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Doing much better with it. I’m learning that when I say no to some people they look at me like, “I can’t believe you’re saying no.” Then they wait for me to give them an explanation. The look on their face then is priceless. I started to feel guilty and felt like I owed an explanation for saying no, but God is growing me in that area. I don’t have to answer for all the reasons I say “no.” It feels very freeing. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree with you. I don’t think we owe anyone an explanation.

  • katty b

    I have a really hard time saying no. Would you meet me for coffee sometime so we can discuss it?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      No. ;-)

  • Tracy Hoots Hoexter

    Oprah once say that she was guilty of not being able to say no. Then she was asked to head some committee, which she wasn’t interested in, and decided to decline. She lost sleep worrying about delivering the bad news. When she told the woman “no”, the woman just said “ok!” and moved on. She was shocked, and then enlightened…. the world won’t stop if you don’t do everything yourself!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great story!

  • Oh, Hush!

    Love you love your blog. Long-time reader first-time commenter :-)

    Derek Sivers just released a book that has a piece called “Either ‘HELL YEAH’ or “no.”  If you get a request and you’re feeling isn’t “HELL YEAH I wanna do this” then you should simply say “no.”

    The punchline: Saying “yes” to less will give you more time to do the things you really want to do!

    • Joe Lalonde

      That’s a great way to look at when to say yes or no. If you’re not feeling it, just say no.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have been meaning to get that book. Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

    I think I’ve been saying no to saying no most of my life. I love the point about saying no to something unimportant is saying yes to something important. That is a great thought for the day.

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    If you never say no. Eventually your “yes'” will become “nos” because you won’t have time to keep all your commitments.

  • Drusilla Mott

    Thanks for this one Michael.  I wrote a blog last week about the distractions on my time…most of which come from family that have no one else to help during the day.  ( http://t.co/KR5lBoT).  Because my husband is retired and I am about the only one in my family that is not working outside the home, I am the one that is called when other people, who don’t drive, need to be taken places: to a part time job and back home again, to go after groceries, to go to the pharmacy for needed meds.  They are backed into a corner by circumstances that are not easily fixed, which backs me into a corner when they need something.  We try to bundle the added trips into one, but that is not always possible, and while it is not a ‘full-time-job’, it steals enough of my time where my writing is starting to suffer.  I feel as if, because of other changes recently, this is that I am suppose to be doing right now, but it is still frustrating and stressful to see my days zooming past without my getting anything accomplished.  And for the forseeable future, I don’t see it changing.  Best of luck to everyone else that is dealing with a similar problem. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/martinezmerger John-Jennifer Martinez

    That does it!  You’re right!  I NEED a personal assistant!  

    I think women have a much  harder time with this.  Thanks for the reminder.  

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for your timely advice.  The ability to say no is a skill that should be continually developed.  Our world or work is that of an acclerated environment of instant communications, and intense worldwide competition all of which makes it difficult to say no for fear that someone else will steal the work or deal.  So your advise about saying no is timely.  Protecting my family with my time is my utmost motivation and saying no is an important tool to do that. 

  • http://twitter.com/WOLCharlie Charlie Lyons

    Fantastic stuff here, Michael. Thank you so much for your insight. Being on the other end of the spectrum (i.e. still relatively new in the ministry) this is a good topic for me to absorb sooner rather than later. My wife and I were discussing this very subject just last night. It was a good portion of my morning commute prayer time also; less than 10 minutes later I was reading this. Coincidence? I think not.

    P.S. “Other end of the spectrum” is in no way intended to refer to you as old. ;)

  • Wes Bright

    Point #5 is huge!   A mentor recommended a book called “The Power of a Positive No”, by William Ury.  A key message of the book is this:  until we can say no we cannot truly say yes.  Our no is rooted in and in service of a higher yes– yes to our core interests and to what truly matters.

    • Joe Lalonde

      That’s a powerful message Wes!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’ll have to read that. You are the second person to recommend it.

  • Pastorjd

    Lately I have been saying NO!! to outside pulling on my life. I have been stepping away from things that were taking my time away from the church and my family. In September I will be saying NO to a couple appointments as President of our town’s business association and as President of the ministerial alliance. It is refreshing having the time to do what is important and leaving the other stuff alone.

  • http://twitter.com/KarynBrownlee Karyn Brownlee

    Hi Mike! Thanks for the wonderful post today, and your insightful note about Jesus’ focus on his father’s work. Did you see the movie “The Book of Eli”? I was struck by the moment when Eli became aware of injustice occuring along his journey, but continued on, repeating to himself: “It’s not your concern. Stay on the path.” Many things in this world concern us. But not all of them – in fact, very few of them – are our God-assignments. Often, I must remind myself to stay on my assigned path, remembering that  I am not called to act as the Savior of the world. That role is delightfully and perfectly filled by Another.

    “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
    beforehand, that we should walk in them.” -Eph 2:10

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I did see that movie. I loved the ending. Profound. Thanks!

  • Francarona

    I agree with what you said about Jesus.  He is my perfect example for setting boundaries.

  • Joanne Miller

    At least once a year I revisit one of my favorite books, Gift From The Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  Just this morning I was reading about the importance of  having time alone and how often we feel guilty if we  say “no” because we simply need to rest and/or be alone. We tend to feel we need to occupy every single minute of the day being productive.  Sometimes we simply need to say no because we need time alone……..to regenerate. This is an incredible blog and I intend to pass it on to many others.  

  • http://patalexander.com Pat Alexander

    Mike, all great points. When I first began my consulting practice I was so worried about the money I said yes to everything. The 1st time I said no to a 2nd visit to a client one of my fellow consultants chewed me out because they needed help so bad.

    The owner needed help in being a better person and treating his employees with respect. There was nothing I could do to change his turnover rate and office culture. That was the day that I understood that I needed to choose the clients where I could be effective. I have strayed a couple of times and I always regret it.

    It is tough to work though such requests, but you learn how. I have become very good at letting a prospect know that I am not the right person for them and I always try to give them an idea of where to turn.

    Moving from the corporate world to being on your own is a challenge, but I know you have already reaped the benefits of your decision and I know you will get your legs under you and soar with the eagles.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is an adjustment, Pat, but I am having a blast. I can’t remember the last time I was learning so much!

      • http://patalexander.com Pat Alexander

        I agree that the ability to learn every day it wonderful. What I really find fulfilling is when a client wants to accomplish something, I don’t know how, but I figure out how and they are excited that they can achieve their task in a better way. Their joy and enthusiasm and my accomplishment fulfills me.

  • Alfred Afolabi

    Another good reason to learn to say ‘no’ is that we might not really be the right person to attend to the problem at hand even though people sometimes perceive leaders to be able solve any problem. And if one fails to deliver and resolve problems as expected, the disappointment coupled with the damage to ones reputation might be irreversible. So another important question is ‘Am I really the right person to speak to?’ or ‘Can I really solve this problem or I just want to give it a try?’. You might not realize how much favor you are doing the other person by saying ‘no’. 
    Secondly, it is always good to provide people with alternatives before saying ‘no’ to their request. This goes a long way in helping them understand that you truly care even though you said ‘no’. 

  • http://twitter.com/servministries SERV Ministries Intl

    Great thoughts.  This is especially difficult when your organization is experiencing momentum and growth as ours is.  I find it difficult to say no but also realize that laser focus yields great results.  Also time management falls into the stewardship category and we have a responsibility to handle it accordingly.  Thanks a lot for the post and for tying it back to Scripture.  Always enjoy reading your insights and have used many of them in our organization.

    Joe Garcia

  • http://twitter.com/JaredEwing Jared Ewing

    Thanks Michael!  I had to smile as I read this when I realized my toddler (who is in the “no” stage right now) may be on to something!!  Just kidding… I think….

    I’m still struggling in this area, but have seen how the power of “No” is improving that which is most important.  I used to like to keep my nose to the grindstone and work late, at home, etc.  Learning to say No to myself has made a tremendous difference.

  • Joe Lalonde

    I used to do really well at saying NO. Lately, I’ve fallen back into saying YES more often to things I want to say no to. I’m working on getting better at it again.

    • Joe Lalonde

      PS, it’s funny how a theme can reoccur in your life. I recently read a story about a man saying NO to working insane hours so he could spend more time with family. He didn’t receive his normal $2000 bonus and was told it was due to the hours he worked. The man thought about going picking the hours back up until he figured out how much that broke down in hourly compensation. Turns out it was worth about $3 an hour. He decided that his NO to work and YES to family cost $3 an hour.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Doing the math can be quite enlightening!

  • Pingback: Just say NO! | samluce.com()

  • Trustmarcia

    Great article . . . to me, saying “no”  represented weakness in my ability to help others.  The reality is, while I was helping people, very few were helping me in a reciprocal manner.  I was the known as giver to heal boo-boo’s or try to fix issues, and I suppose I felt useful in this role.

    Just yesterday, I had dinner with a new friend who wants me to be a part of her multi- level marketing organization.  The product is solid and has a sound reputation.  A snapshot of my world, I am a single Mom who works full time, is helping a friend develop a benefits strategy for their new company and is about to embark on a certification program . . . Time is not something I have an abundance of.
    When responding to my friend’s request, I stated that I valued her friendship and offer.  I posed a question back to her simply asking “How would I work this into an already busy world?”  Not no, but how?  How could I take on one more activity in which hours per week would be taken away from being a great Mom to my teenage daughter?  

    I will always value the act of helping others, but have found that making a list of my life’s priorities keeps me on track so that I may serve those I love, inclusive of God. 


  • http://richardwestley.com Richard Westley

    I was just talking to a friend this morning about learning to say NO and then opened your blog post!  Crazy!  Thanks for sharing the five reasons.  I’ve held onto a similar list for some time, but the real challenge is being disciplined to follow through.  

    One way I’ve mentally made the switch is deciding that the impact of saying NO to a request is a far less than saying NO to my family or the church I lead.  Because every time I say yes to a request means I’m actually saying NO to something else way more important and valuable.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Your last paragraph is gold. Thanks!

  • http://web.me.com/mikewmcvey/GNAZ/Welcome.html Mike McVey

    Saying “no” has seldom been a problem for me.  Unfortunately, as a pastor, saying “no” is fairly costly.  The people who ask expect a “yes” and do not know how to react when their plans go awry.  Rarely do they act appropriately. 

    I have never envied those who say “yes” to everything, which has led to my personal issue of when saying “yes” is the right thing. 

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    I need to say “no” to myself more than I do to other people!! LOL

  • Brent Trickett

    Excellent post. After two years of being frustrated with my job I realized that I was too nice. I would always say yes to people’s requests. I made a commitment to only say no for six months and couldn’t believe how freeing that was. I was getting great work done and focused on my own creativity.
    A saying I have to keep repeating is ” Your problem is not my emergency”. This is especially true when it comes to email requests.

  • http://twitter.com/lilbirdtold_me Samantha A. Wright

    saying no to something means saying yes to a healthier you…physically, emotionally and spiritually.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    Unfortunately, I had to hit rock bottom of burn out before I learned how to say no. My life fell apart and I was at a point where I could no longer say “yes”, even if I wanted to.

    Since being restored and refreshed, I have learned perspective and how to prioritize. I have a much easier time saying “no” to anything that isn’t healthy or productive.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    I find that saying “no” is sometimes like fighting guerilla warfare. When a request comes, I have to quickly filter it through my calling, purpose, and values. It’s like strategizing on the fly. I use “delayed gratification” tactics: I don’t give the person a commitment until a later time. That gives me time to think.
    I also hold firmly a belief about me as a Christ-follower: even though I am called to be a servant, I am not the indispensable instrument to meet a particular need. If I cannot meet that need, God can provide another instrument.

  • http://twitter.com/KarenJordan Karen Jordan

    Oh, goodness! I’ve struggled with this problem my whole life! Just when I think I have it under control … wham … I can’t say “no” again!  But I really like your last point: “We won’t be able to say “yes” to the really important things.” I’m gonna hang on to that one! Thanks again for sharing your wisdom.

  • Steve Wright

    This has been a problem for me too… My wife is always getting on me about accepting every request.  She has been telling me for years I have to learn to say NO.  So I started saying NO PROBLEM. 

  • http://twitter.com/lancecashion lance cashion

    I find that I fail people I’m trying to help by saying ‘yes’ to every request.  I am a ‘yes’ addict.  Sometimes, I get so inebriated on ‘yes’ that I binge on tasks for others for days.  I look up and realize that my priorities and duties have been neglected and replaced with the work of others. 

    Since I do not have an assistant either, I have had to be creative about avoiding saying ‘yes’ to everything.  I have constructed a communication barrier around me.  I use batching emails, auto-responders, voicemail, text-messaging and meeting protocols to provide a buffer between me and others.  I love connecting with people once I know what its about.  The chances of you getting me on the phone on a first call is zero.  I will return calls or put you with someone who can serve your need better than I can within 12hrs.  The ONLY person I will accept a call from 24/7 is my wife…. She usually texts me ;)

    Thanks for the reminder….

  • Anonymous

    Reminds me of another great article on “Saying No” (from Esquire): http://www.esquire.com/features/influence/say-no-0508

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Karagoulis/2316874 John Karagoulis

    I am glad I’m not the guy who wasted your time over lunch! How embarrassing to end up as fodder for a blog post. 

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    I too learned the hard way. As a ministry wife people often assume my time is part of my husbands package. I’ve learned to be upfront as soon as we begin a ministry. I start by explaining I don’t get involved right away in ministry until I have clear direction from God where and who he wants me to invest my time. I’ve had lots of requests for mentoring, which is a passion of mine, if I said yes to everyone who wanted to spend time with me I could spend several hours a day just mentoring women. I learned to prioritize through experience with overcommitment real fast!

  • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

    Michael, the song running through my head right now is Casting Crowns’ The Altar and the Door. The message is about how we all have these “encounters” where God speaks to us in a profound way. This time, we think, Things will be different. The Change is going to stick. This time.

    But Jesus, Mark Hall sings, help make sure I don’t lose my “follow through” between the Altar, and the door. This is more than just praising God on Sunday and swearing on Monday. This is resolving to build relationships that matter because you and your wife have “the talk” and then calling home later that evening because you have to work late.

    A really good friend of mine says we’re “5 dollared to death”. We’re really good at witholding ourselves from the major purchases, like a new car or a speed boat. But how much do we spend on even $1.50 coffees? There’s usually a pastry, right? And because it’s so cheap, you’ll offer to puck up the tab and let your buddy get the next one.

    Just as these small purchases add up, the little time sucks add up, and soon you’re stuck behind a promise and getting it done at the expense of something else. I admit I have a no problem, and it’s cost me. Now I’m convicted to give up something before taking on something new.

    God spoke to me that most of our problems with saying no stem from a fear of man. I don’t know if this will help someone, but I pray for those who battle with pleasing people to let go and let God.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment. Keep up the good work, Michael. If you let me take you for coffee, I’ll be sure not to drown you in whatever gunk you don’t need.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. These “small purchases” do add up. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Sherri

    Sometimes we need a deeper look here. Sometimes we say yes because of pride – we want to be seen as someone who can do anything, very capable, a fabulous resource, Sometimes though I think we don’t say no because we are seeking validation. Are we smart enough, important enough, valuable enough? What happens if we merely do our jobs to the best of our ability, with a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and respect for our colleagues? That’s expected, so we don’t often get the kudos from others like we do when we are always available and always going above and beyond. That is sometimes hard and can lead to feelings of inadequacy and worry.

    It also leads us to seek validation from the wrong places which always causes our priorities to get messed up. Then everything else suffers – our health, our families, our peace of mind, our entire lives. 

    As a Christian my first source of validation needs to come from God. If my priorities are pleasing to him, everything else will fall into place as it should. It is also much easier for me to say ‘no’ to other things when my sights are clearly on his direction for my life. Much easier said than done. I’m constantly relearning this. Still recovering now from burnout from last year. I really don’t ever want to be back here again. 

    Thank you for the post. It’s a great reminder at a time when I really need it. 

  • http://lifeallin.ent Jacob Musselman

    A theme developing in the comments states that with practice a person improves at saying no, both in how it’s said and better discernment about what to say no too.

    I’m wondering if we need to start practicing this sooner. For example, my family and I are starting a new chapter in our lives which often feels like starting from scratch, and in the beginning I’m tempted to say yes to anything that’s even remotely related to what I’m working on (friends, job, blog, etc.). Do you think we should be more selective in the beginning? Would that help with saying no when the demands really start coming later?

  • http://dubdynomite.com dubdynomite

    Part of your post raised a question that I would like to see you address, maybe in a subsequent post.

    You mentioned that the person you met with was not prepared for your meeting. In a case like this, if a person were to meet with someone seeking their wisdom and council, how could they prepare so that they get the most out of the meeting without wasting the other person’s time?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think the simple answer is that they should write down the outcome they hope to achieve. Then they should have a list of questions of topics they want to discuss—a simple agenda.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carina.brunson Carina A. Wyant Brunson

    I now many people that could use these suggestions, including myself. We tend to forget ourselves when we agree to do too many things for others. We lose out on time for us and our family. I know my mother spent a lot of time helping others and still does that she often forgets what is going on at home. When I was at home, she would make me and my brother part of it if at all possible… like serving at a wedding or making cookies or sandwiches for people. I know saying no does not always seem like the right thing to do, but if you become too accustomed to saying yes…. who knows what you will miss at home.

  • http://twitter.com/jonmholcomb Jonathan Holcomb

    This is such an important topic.  I think it is especially important for pastors.  I think Andy Stanley put it in “Choosing to Cheat”, “Every time you say ‘yes’ to someone or something, you are saying ‘no’ to your spouse and family.”  

    I love how Jim Collins also says that we need to start a “to don’t list” rather than just a “to do list”.  I think sometimes writing down what is really important will help us keep focussed what to do.  But having a “to don’t list” can also help keep us in line.

    Great post!

  • Bob

    God has me saying “no” a lot right now to focus me on some growth He wants me to do.  I wasn’t sure at first – thought I was burned out among other things but it became increasingly apparent that this was a leading.  At the same time I was led to a discipleship counselor who, after much prayer, we both agreed we were supposed to meet.  That’s been 8 months now and, as you can imagine, the opportunities have presented themselves – I’ve prayed on whether I should be accepting whatever it is – the answer to my prayer, at least up to now, has been “no” – so that’s been my answer.

    I understand what you’re writing about and, like others, like the last reason (#5) too – we have to seek His Will.  In my case, part of what He’s teaching me is to listen….to Him.

  • Jamie

    I am really impressed that you spend so much time responding to everyone in your comments. This is my first time on your blog and I read through most of the comments and your responses. While I understand the principle of saying “no” and drawing boundaries in our lives, I have seen many leaders in ministry who simply don’t have time for people. They are so busy with organizing and leading that they don’t prioritize connecting with the people that are supposed to be following them- someone less important will have to make time for them. When this trickles down into the culture of the organization, the common people feel devalued and unimportant when in actuality they are what making the leader what he/she is. Do you have any governing principles that help you use to balance the lines between creating boundaries and loving people the way that Jesus did? I understand that He didn’t come when Mary and Martha asked for him when Lazarus was sick, but he was also hungry and tired on a constant basis and He continued to minister rather than retreating. Is it just knowing yourself and knowing when and what you need to recharge? Surely, it must be just as important to learn to say “no” to ourselves sometimes as it is to say “no” to others.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think the challenge is to find the balance. However, the statistics seem to suggest that a huge percentage of leaders in ministry suffer from burnout. Once that happens, they are of no use to anyone. I think Jesus i the perfect example. He ministered to people, but he balanced that with times of solitude and prayer. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Patty

    I do feel guilty about saying no to the point I don’t answer my phone sometimes because I don’t want to, “break the bad news”.  Thank you for this writing.

  • Ian Morgan Cron

     Anne Lamott’s famous quote seems apt:   “No” is a complete sentence.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wonderful quote. I’ll have to remember that!

  • http://twitter.com/TresorDeBeaute Tresor De Beaute

    I use my spouse as a shield to say no. “Let me check with [spouse name]” :)

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I actually schedule my day off into my Outlook calendar.  That way when someone asks for time on my day off, I can honestly say, “No that day is already full.”  And it is, with wife, kids, friends, etc.  Works like a charm.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    For the last several years I have watched a close friend go through the process of gaining popularity, responsibility, the demand from others for more and the difficulty of saying no.

    I saw the times where saying “yes” too often squeezed out time with family and friends.   And I saw it diminishe his overall effectiveness – he still did really well with the things at the top of his priority list; but, it became so easy for things to fall through the cracks and for lesser priorities to be left to suffer.  Fortunately, I now see growth in the ability to say no.

    Watching my friend (and walking through some trials with him) has taught me a lot.  I am not great at saying no…but, I am working at it.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      The story of your friend sounds way too familiar.  There are too many people that could describe.  We all have to get better at this…

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        I think this is one of those things that you never completely arrive at.  Instead, it is a daily process that consistent attention must be given to.  And, definitely, something to get better at.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          I think you’re right…

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree. We do need to get better at saying no. In your case and my case, not saying no enough, will eventually lead to burnout…something we need to avoid.

    Great post.

  • http://www.mosaicmiamichurch.com Shari Sutherland

    Such a vital skill needed for people in ministry! Very often ministry people, can feel they have to be available to everyone needs or they arent devoted. Jesus did say no, and was very clear about it. When we are saying no, to one person,often times we are saying yes to another  group.For instance, preparing our message instead of meeting with someone. Priority mamangement is key!

  • http://www.mosaicmiamichurch.org Rev Kev

    Great post, time management, and prioritizing is everything!

  • http://www.nancyjcommunications.weebly.com Nancy

    I experienced this last week. It was necessary to say no to a 1 week outreach youth event.  I so desired to be a part of this. I was asked 3 or 4 times and each time I said no, on the inside my hearts desire was to say yes. I realized that by saying no, I was saying yes to something I am in the middle of that will benefit many people. But still……So hard

  • Maril Hazlett

    Best wishes finding an assistant :) the right person is out there. Don’t give up. It will work out how it is supposed to.

    I am utterly ruthless with “no,” and often way too persnickety with time management. Sometimes that’s a problem, and it shuts off opportunities for random magical happenings – bright shiny moments of Wow. On the other hand, sometimes this strictness opens up spaces for those moments to happen, too, because I haven’t let myself be overwhelmed by other people.

    I hope you find a happy medium.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Most people would do well to try ruthless for a week or two. It could be a game-changer.

  • http://www.dennismccaskill.com Dennis McCaskill

    I learnt to say No while being a youth pastor. Everything the pastor didnt have time for got landed on me. I ran out of time for my family and myself. So NO became the in word for me. Best thing I ever learnt. Great post Michael.

  • http://sevensentences.com Geoff Talbot

    Could I be your assistant? Kidding.

    This is a great blog Michael. I think you do people a favor when they want to connect on a deeply relational level (based on their need) with someone they don’t actually know (although they think they know you because they read your blog).

    Essentially, it is inappropriate to spill your guts to a stranger (on most occasions) and far better to share your struggles with genuine friends. There in lies the problem for a lot of people I guess…

    The lack of genuine friendship forces people to look for connection elsewhere.


    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree, Geoff. People did to make sure there online acquaintances don’t become a substitute for real, offline friends.

  • http://communicatecreativity.com Rebecca Burgener

    I wasn’t good at saying no when people called asking for rides to the store, doctor appointments, etc. It was making me crazy. As soon as I thought I would stay home all day with my children, I would get a phone call. It was also making my husband crazy, and our budget crazy as I never had time to cook dinner.

    God solved the problem for us. We’re a one care family now, and I’m loving it!

    • http://communicatecreativity.com Rebecca Burgener

      One car family, not one care.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Karagoulis/2316874 John Karagoulis

    Actually, I’ll take a minute to expand on my previous comment. I don’t know why, but I feel compelled to give a contrary opinion due to the strong positive response to the post. I’d be willing to bet that this person did not intend to waste your time—people generally don’t do this deliberately (except in the case of a filibuster). They may have had a game plan in mind when they set out to meet with you, but possibly due to lack of confidence, or poor communication skills, they failed to execute.

    I find when I’m in the presence of someone I consider more important than myself I tend to be reserved and let them do the talking because I’m afraid of “wasting their time” or saying something stupid. This happens less now that I’m a little bit older and wiser and confident in my abilities, but nevertheless I can point to experiences where I’ve felt inhibited or self-conscious in meetings with “big-wigs.” A leader, recognizing that their mere presence could be intimidating and inhibit the free flow of constructive communication, could exercise the habit of proactivity to focus the person on the task at hand—getting to the root of what they wanted to talk about.

    After reading this post, I’ll think twice before introducing myself if we happen to be at a conference, or seeking your input on a question of importance. I don’t think that’s the response you’re going for though. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. I appreciate your honesty. The problem was that he talked continuously. I probably didn’t get two sentences in. Regardless, I understand what you mean. I definitely don’t think he intended to waste my time.

  • Rosanne Bowman1

    I have always had a huge problem saying no, or saying no and then feeling guilty.  It’s really helped me to really break my days down into time segments because I tend to overestimate how much I can get done. I started by taking each day and break my main tasks down to how long they would really take.  If I  look at a true picture of the extra time I have available on any given day, usually my “no” is a no-brainer!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.stallings1 Jon Stallings

    I have worked hard to learn the benefits of saying no. I must choose wisely where I invest my time.

    Another great example from Jesus can be found in Luke 4:42-43 = At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking
    for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from
    leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, great example, Jon.

  • http://twitter.com/LScottMeyer Scott Meyer

    I completely agree with your post about learning to say “no.” Why don’t we get together for lunch and I can tell you all the reasons I agree. What do you say? :-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Ah, no. ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxinebigby.cunningham Maxine Bigby Cunningham

    I was nodding my head as I read your blog.  I am now getting better at saying “No”, so that I can say Yes to  what really matters to me and that which keeps me healthy.  It helps me to pause before responding to others’ requests for my time and energy.  I no longer feel guilty. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/burlw Burl Walker

    Saying “No” is something that keeps me sane. Ever since I was a teenager, I won’t book back to back engagements. Sometimes that means that I have this stuff called freetime that most people don’t understand, but I do enjoy it! Sorry you had a waste of time meeting. An idea for a future post or series might be to discuss the most engaging questions you have been asked.

  • http://twitter.com/dhydrated Dan Hyde

    I have a feeling it is harder for ppl to say no who are addicted to self promotion on Twitter.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You might be right.

  • James McLaren

    I’m not bad at it these days: I had this message a decade ago from a man called John Bell, who wrote a book with the resonant title The Courage to say No.

    With regard to your five pointers, reason number one is wrong. What matters is not that other people’s priorities take precedence over your priorities, but that other people’s priorities take precedence over God’s priorities for you – which is an order of magnitude different. God might – in certain cases – want you to give up family time for a mere acquaintance. A lot of the time he won’t – but then even Jesus occasionally got jolted from saying “no” (remember the Syro-Phoenician woman?)

    You have a reasonable guideline, but to make it work right requires a degree of discernment.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am assuming that my priorities are the one’s God has given me. Thanks.

  • http://beunfallen.wordpress.com/ Brian

    Great article! I can totally relate: As a freelance graphic designer and a youth pastor, I have learned this lesson the hard way. As a Christian, I want to be able to “bless” everyone as much as I can, whether it’s my clients or a member of our ministry. But I started to realize that every moment spent doing that stuff is a moment spent away from my wife and kids. If I am taking time away from them, it had better be worth it. This rule has helped me get to a better price for my designs where I am able to support my family and still be fair to the client. And I have been able to be involved in the life of my students without getting burnt out and losing my family. Thanks for this article!

  • Deborah3498

    I, like you had a hard time saying no.  At the place where  I am employed if there was anything that needed to be done I was called.  I did not say no.  It was becoming apparant to me that there was no time for me.  No rest, no relaxation.  I did not mind helping out, but it became a full time need.  I reached a point last year where I had to take a long hard look at my life – what were my priorities in my job and in my life.  When I started saying no to some things people were shocked, but this shock has turned into respect. I have learned that it is important to set boundaries in one’s life.  If we remember that God should always comes first, everything else will fall into place.

  • http://www.elyfarms.com Elyfarms

    In college, I never said no to being involved in groups and organizations.  No doubt about it, I had very little structure in my life.  I didn’t allow myself time to work out, study enought, sleep enought, or even eat healthy.  All in all, not saying “no” to joining groups and getting involved led to an unhealthy lifestyle.  I am three years out of college, working full time and managing a business, and I continue to work on having a balanced life.  To do this, I have to learn to say no, and also when it is important to say yes.

  • Car

    “If we don’t get better at saying “no”: Other peoples’ priorities will take precedence over ours.

    Mere acquaintances—people we barely know!—will crowd out time with family and close friends.”
    …Soo true!

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    So true. I’ve struggled with this myself but have become much, much better about it. Time is a precious, limited resource and we have to manage it well. I believe that we need to be intentionally proactive so that we are using it (time) to pursue the things God has uniquely called us to pursue. Being able to say NO helps us stay on the right course.

  • http://twitter.com/MattBeard Matt Beard

    I learned this lesson a few years ago at church. It was time to get the list together of responsibilities. My name was on the list 10 times and I was the one getting the list together. I marked my name off of every one until it was down to the tasks I felt especially equipped for (which was two) and presented the list with empty spots to be filled. I always think back to that when I wonder if I should say “No” or not. Isn’t it funny how much flack you will catch for saying “No”?

  • http://www.garyminor.com Gary Minor

    I like to say “yes”, as well.


    When I was president of the Tennessee
    chapter of the National Speaker’s Association, I used to get 2-3 requests per week,
    from people who wanted me to tell them how to get into the “speaking business”.


    I found out who was serious, when I gave
    them an assignment to complete before they contacted me again.  I asked them to buy a copy of a book (on the speaking
    business), read it then call me when they were ready to discuss it. About 1 in 20
    called me back……


    So, you want to get together at Meridee’s
    for a couple of hours and discuss how to say something besides “yes” or “no”? J


    Stay cool; it is hot out there.


    Make it a Great Day!

    Gary Minor                                                      

    21st Century
    Leadership Institute



    find my blog at http://www.garyminor.wordpress.com

  • http://financialplanningapprentice.com Robinson Mertilus

    You can write a book on this and I am sure there are books out there on this topic. Setting up boundaries and protecting/managing your time is vitally important. Thanks for the post.

  • http://www.walkwiththewise.wordpress.com Gail

    You can catch a lot of flack for saying no but eventually the “no bullies” stop hounding you if you stop reacting to them,

    I have learnt, particularly in church, that if you do “everything” you deny others the opportunity for them to serve and use their ministry giftings. By saying no, you can be creating the opportunity someone else is waiting for.

  • http://www.walkwiththewise.wordpress.com Gail

    My default changed from “yes” to “no” a number of years ago and so I know it DOES gets easier over time, with practise. Those around you learn not to get offended with your no’s and you worry less about their reaction.
    The key is to know your own priorities, what you’re already commited to saying yes to constantly like family, friends, rest, God, then when you say no to things off the priority list, you know you’re also saying yes to your right priorities.
    In the transition phase, it helps to have an alternative to a flat no like “let me think about it and get back to you” or “I’ll need to check my calendar before I commit.”
    Remember – if someone doesn’t respect your no, they won’t respect your yes.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Your last sentence is gold!

  • Angela White

    AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I know. I mean, I KNOW!!! I really do know. But, I’m one of those caring, compassionate people that is called to… well… people! (Yes, I realize we’re ALL called to people, but you get my point.) When the request falls in line with what I KNOW I’m called to do (speaking/singing/worship leading/writing) I nearly always say yes. BUT, what about the never-ending lunches/coffees/mylifeisfallingaparthelpme/whatevers? And instead of saying a concrete “no,” it’s often easier to say “I’m not sure when, but that would be great if it works out.” OR, “Hopefully we can do that soon.” I’m in the middle of the book you handed out at Women of Faith All Access, Mentoring Like Jesus. It talks about that. But I’m not to the point where I can say a concrete no to the non-productive ones and yes to the ones I know I’m supposed to do. Lots of prayer been going on over here for a while now. LOTS of prayer.

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  • http://jesusbiz.com Jesse Lane

    There’s no doubt, saying “no” is one of the most important skills for a leader. It’s certainly not easy, but required to accomplish what God has called us to. Our to-don’t lists should always be much longer than our to-do lists.I think my personality as a “people-pleaser” makes this a weakness for me and something I’ve got to practice.Thanks for the reminder and the 5 reasons. #goodstuff

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  • Tyler

    I agree that saying no is at times a necessity, but it can breed an environment of “no”. SOmetimes yes and no are not the only 2 answers that you have to give and there are a plethora of other in between answers that can be given like, “I can but probably not until next week”or in the case of your example, “could you send me a short email of your problem and I will look it over and see what advice I would give”. 

    I think we get too caught up in the black and white world of “yes & no” and need to live more in the world of the gray.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve struggled with making time for something that is important to me, and possibly a calling. My career (read “source of income”) is demanding but not spiritually or emotionally rewarding. In fact, it is depleting me. I’m learning to put boundaries around work so that I can say “yes” to the steps I need to take to move forward in a new direction. I love your scriptural reminder that saying “no” is sometimes the Christian “yes”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2IVPYX2O6A5GFDK7RVLDWNTXF4 Crystal

    I believe i don’t say “no” as often as i should but my best friend told me i hardly say anything else even if i change my mind later. I asked a few christian colleagues said otherwise so i believe  i need to say no more & know how to say yes to my best friend (need to give that a thought).

    I think i’ll say no more often because i sometimes say yes & then end up feeling used & taken for granted.

    I’m no writer but i’ve found a lot of insights for daily Christian living from your blog & i’m grateful.

  • Ken Lang

    Thanks so much for the post – I have difficulty saying “No” as well. Being a pastor, I’m supposed to make time for anyone and everyone no matter how insignificant the issue. It’s not uncommon to have someone right before service say, “I need to talk with you for just 5 minutes!” hoping that I will delay the service to talk with them. I am practicing the art of saying no! Thanks for the thought about the number of times Christ said “No!”. Keep up the good work!

    Maybe sometime when I’m in Nashville, we could do lunch! :) (just kidding – go ahead and say, “Fat chance!” :) Blessings!

    Ken Lang

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Fat chance. ;-) I couldn’t resist.

  • SoulSimpleOne

    This is such an important topic for humans. I have a saying with some of my close friends where we will actually ask “Do you need me to give me a permission slip to say NO?”. It is silly way of communicating to one another that we value their NO as much as we value their YES…and we will even give them permission! I personally call this practicing the discipline of detachment. When we detach from our need to be needed, we can often see more clearly if we are supposed to participate or let someone else go in our place. This is an extremely freeing practice I learned in my late thirties!

  • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

    Your #5 reason is the foundational concept of William Ury’s “The Power of a Positive No.”  (My blog review/response — “Oh, No!” — http://tinyurl.com/mvc3ce

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    This last one was the clincher for me. Every time I say “no” to something that is not important, I am saying “yes” to something that is.

    And the reverse is true as well, every time you say yes to something that isn’t great, you say no to something that is great.

    Thanks for an excellent rreminder!

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  • http://twitter.com/RyanPatrickWOA Ryan Patrick

    So I guess lunch is off then, huh?

  • Lkfischer

    I would love to meet Michael Hyatt some day.  But if he said yes to all these friendly meetings. he would not be able to deliver such great material.  I heard Andy Stanley speak on this topic once.  He delivers great material because he has said no  and devoted time to preparation. 

  • Amy

    I’m pursuing my writing – after 20 years of putting it aside while I said yes to other things.  My kids are all grown and 2 have families of their own.  I have to say no a lot, and every time I feel as though I’m callous and selfish because I need to maintain a distance from grandparenting/babysitting/being too close to the consuming work of growing a young family in order to do what I know God is wanting me to do.  I’m not interested in “success” – I’m seeking to be obedient. 

    When a young family sets limits on who will care for their children, it feels like a demand to those in that very very very small circle of the “trusted”.  I can understand the caution, I just constantly struggle to do what is “best”, when what is “good” has a more physical and desperate face… and I really LOVE those faces.

  • Ana

    How do you say ‘No’ without offending people?
    I said ‘No’ to people in the past and they barely talk to me now.

  • Deborah

    Thanks for sharing, Michael.  I respect people that have the courage to say, “No” because it gives me the courage to say, “No” to things that don’t keep me focused on my goals.  I used to spend a lot of time and money meeting with people and going to networking events that turned out to be a waste of time and money.  It felt really selfish and mean at first, but I have become much more focused and strategic in who I meet and connect with.  I don’t “feel” as busy and I am making better connections by being more selective with my “Yes.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/McFads Michael McFadden

    This is something we’ve talked a lot about at DCC (http://denverchurch.org).   You have to say “Yes” to something before you can say “no”.  Once you’ve identified the important things you are going to say “yes” to then it makes it easier (in theory) to say “no”.  So next time you’re posed with a question, ask if it aligns with what you’ve said “yes” to.Say “yes” to something so you can say “no” to the distractions.

  • http://twitter.com/drrandywillis Randy Willis

    Good advice … as long as we’re not simply weeding out people we think will only waste our time (i.e., the unimportant, marginalized people). Jesus said yes to all kinds of people we would have said no to.

    Jesus’ “assistants” once got in trouble with the boss for protecting him from some children they thought would only waste Jesus’ time (not to mention the tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes, etc. Jesus made time for, and seemed to seek out).

    When determining what to say no say, our decision should be based more on what will honor God and advance God’s mission than what will further our careers/agendas.

    (Preaching to self!)

  • Anonymous

    When my wife and I started to home school our kids my mother let us know that we must say no to “good” things so that we would have time for the “great” things.

    Very much like good being the enemy of great.

    Very good – and timely – reminder!

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    Wow! Had I asked for an audience I would have come prepared and you would have known why. Maybe he got star struck? After all, you’re pretty well known to put it mildly.  I hate saying no, but am getting better at it. God wants me to write and blog. I can’t do either and spend time with family if I continually say yes. Jesus rested in the garden. We should rest, too.

  • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

    Saying “no” is likely one of the toughest things we do in life. After all, we all want to people to like us and we’re afraid that saying “no” will hurt people’s feelings. But, as you so aptly stated, when you say “yes” to everything, you’re going to run yourself ragged for the people that really matter in your life and you’ll be good to no one, including yourself.

    I wrote a guest blog post awhile back about this very topic – #5 was my biggest point too. As I put it, you need to say “no” so you can say “yes” to the things that really matter. I think if people remember that, it will become easier to do it. 

    Great reminder and sage advice here!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Kind of reminiscent of Jethro’s advice to his son-in-law Moses as well. “You’ll wear out yourself and these people….”

    It was a whole lot easier when he was just shepherding sheep and not a whole nation. Again I think of your situation where you’ve grown your blog and its influence in a very short amount of time (thus the feeling we all are your best buddies so let’s just sit down and have a long chat).

  • http://bladeronner.com Ron Dawson

    Great post Michael. Steve Jobs is famous for saying that he and Apple are more proud of the things they’ve said “no” to than the ones they’ve said yes too. Now, they are worth more than Microsoft and Intel combined. Not bad for a company that was on the verge of obscurity just a little over a decade ago.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep. I love their example.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ctpotts Chris Potts

    Great post — thanks for the reminder that saying “no” is often times the best thing to do (as difficult as it may be)…

  • Oladoyin

    I have been a victim of such and  I am learning to say NO!

  • Cucumberlady36

    I am really pretty good at saying no.Lots of times family and acquaintances that barely communicate with me all year long or even years in a row,like to request a vacation spot in my home for the summer or like to tell me they are coming.I don’t need to make sure i am around those dates so i tell everyone i don’t know if i will be around.And i don’t make myself available.After a while most people realise my home is not a hotel.If they are immediate family it is a bit different.I used to take all my vacation time receiving people and going above and beyond to make THEM happy but roles have changed.Also wedding invitations i got three this year.One from a long time acquaintance that has not contacted me in 5 years.I declined.She even wanted me to be a bridesmaid!!!!! Another from a coworker whose son is getting married that i don’t even know,i declined.The third from a new coworker of say 6 months.I declined.And made space for a high school reunion that same month.Yes you will know when to say yes.Say no and don’t feel guilty about it.

  • Shaenacrespo

    I definitely think the key is remaining flexible. There are seasons of life where no is the best word you’ll ever learn. During these times, no will keep you focused and free to fulfill your calling.
    But, creating a habit of being a no-first person can be a slippery slope that leads to missing out on awesome unexpected blessings or challenges.
    Flexibility is key.

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  • Guest

    Saying no is uncomfortable at first! But with time people get used to it.

    When we say no, usually a negative emotion is triggered. That’s because it is UNCOMFORTABLE  experience. But with practice, negative temptations that are associated with saying no completely fade away. 

    By the way, I got reminded of an article I written a while ago on the same topic:

    Let me know what you think, Michael!

    Chris D.

  • http://doubletimetoday.com Chris Diamond

    Saying no is uncomfortable at first! But with time people get used to it.

    When we say no, usually a negative emotion is triggered. That’s because
    it is UNCOMFORTABLE  experience. But with practice, negative temptations
    that are associated with saying no completely fade away. 

    By the way, I got reminded of an article I written a while ago on the same topic:

    Let me know what you think, Michael!

    Chris D.


  • http://www.irunurun.com Travis Dommert

    You touch on one of the hottest topics in our work…the dynamic balance of stress and recovery.  Great learnings from the HBR article, The Making of the Corporate Athlete.  

    Athletes intuitively understand that you can’t stress the same muscles to the max every day without rest and recovery in between.  In fact, many pros don’t perform at their peak for more than a few hours per week.  Stress & recovery are the two halves of the power cycle.

    Yet in business, we all try to max out every day…and our peak performance is the only thing that gets measured…thus, reinforcing the stress half of the cycle.  By getting intentional with the recovery half of the cycle, we can add capacity to our lives, perform better, and stay engaged longer.  

    We are really encouraging our clients to put measures in place around recovery and hold their people accountable for it…which means they have to say “no” to some other things.

  • http://twitter.com/plantedinchrist Brandon Weldy

    This has been something that has ALWAYS been a struggle for me. I never wanted to hurt other people’s feelings. As a Christian I am supposed to help people right?? I took a class in college though that helped me see the importance of saying “no.”  The teacher pointed out, as you did in your blog, that there were times even Jesus said no. It has been difficult but over the last few years I have gotten much better about saying yes to only the important things. There is just too much to lose if I don’t keep my people pleasing under control.

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  • Suegibson

    I love the word “snarky!”  I read your blog because of course, I need to apply it to myself!  and I thank you sincerely :)  I am sure I will feel less snarky if I get comfortable saying no and not explaining why I am saying no.  We really are the only ones that ultimately teach others how to treat us ~  I have been learning that the hard way.  Learn to say no folks.  Not to be snarky, but instead to not feel snarky after saying yes!  Cheers!

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  • http://linkedin.com/in/esthersim Esther Sim

    Thanks for your article.  I really like #5.

  • Anonymous

    Nice post, thanks!
    I am so much better than I used to be — maybe it comes with age and more confidence. Also knowing what is important and what isn’t helps a lot. Once you get comfortable saying it  – it feels pretty damn good. :) Have a Happy Thanksgiving and don’t eat the dried out turkey if you don’t want to — just say NO!, thank you. 

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  • Used

    my neighbor is a master at getting me to do “favors” I am not comfortable doing: “Could you endorse my wife’s products in a video, we will give you a free dinner, it will only take a few minutes?”, when we HAVEN’T EVEN USED THE PRODUCTS!…what am I gonna say, when he has guilted me into doing other “favors” in the past.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I get in that situation often. I just say, “I have a personal policy of not endorsing anything I haven’t used myself.” I also remind myself that no one can make me feel guilty. I own my emotions and I can chose a different one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Moira-Smith/100001374390188 Moira Smith

    Just say No thank you. I cried. Ilike jesus Who said let your yes mean yes and no mean no everything elses from the wicked ones. I love you Captain America Avengers Still the home Brave and free. I like The mighty Avengers Captain America mighty thor. I like all the superheros JlA. We miss you superman and captain america. Good luck waht you do. I got your movie i watc everytime. It was nice talking to you challege.

  • Donnaniemi

    I am almost 56 years old and I have given up any hope that I will ever be able to say NO to someone and not feel guilty or to ultimately change my mind and do whatever they want me to do, knowing the whole time that I am not doing what is in my best interest! I tend to surround myself with people who take full advantage of this weakness, my fault!

  • Levi Szekeres

    I need an assistant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Padiwan2 Joie Fulton

    So help me, when I say no to my family, I’m made to feel guilty and wrong. They want to hear more YES from me. I just wish they understood things from my perspective and were more encouraging.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7XFJXNFXYP5EB63IBTKEX3LLWE red bird

    Ok really needed to read this..
    I groom dogs for aliving and i am constantly getting asked to do service for people that
    “can’t afford to pay, or pay full price” well, WTH?   I can’t go anywhere and beg for help.
    Dogs are not necessities. I would watch somebodys kid if they were going ino the hospital
    for something, but not their dog. I am not zoned to do it, I don’t like to do it, the road is close and if the blasted thing get out it could get hit, and its always people that need a dog like they need a hole in their head. NO!  IF you can’t afford to board, groom, feed, or vet your dog. Don’t have one.
    Its always elderly, mentally impared, or oddball people that seem to be drawn to me, and its going to stop. I feel like they are sucking the life blood out of me. And I am done, being a soft target for these people to use.

  • Barry Clink


    I would like to start saying “Yes” to those whom you say “No”. That is the business I am in. Please check out my blog at http://www.yourchaplain.wordpress.com  This is the first phase of starting a Mobile Ministry. I would gladly and humble accept any referral from any of your “No’s”.

    Very humbly,


  • K Lynch339

    I am horrible at saying no, and have been taken advantage–more ways than one–because of it. It is gross and I hate it. I’d like to know why. I have guesses, but want it fixed.

    • Jim Martin

      K, as Michael points out in his post, many of us have difficulty saying no.  I can look back to a time in life where I think I said yes to most everything.  Not good.

      I would encourage you to think about the situations in which you typically say yes and then regret it.  Next, think through the answer that you will give these people the next time you are asked.  Say it aloud long before you are faced with the situation.

      Like Michael, it finally occurred to me (the hard way) that my saying yes was actually saying no to some things that are very important to me.

  • Davidr8686

    “Every time I say “no” to something that is not important, I am saying “yes” to something that is.”

    This is good stuff…

  • Liz

    I find this to be a blessing. It’s the first time I actually pinpointed that I have a problem with saying no, and I find this something I’d like to try. Thank you for your insights!

  • Leslie Smith

    I glad I read the article I needed this right now. I’m a work in progress as well.

  • Pingback: Why should you master the art of saying NO! - Avagmah Online School()

  • Eddie brown

    I say no almost every day

  • crack

    Your words inspired me to think before saying yes when I know in my heart that I am letting friends, family and myself down in all actuality. I am 53 years old and remembering always having trouble saying no afraid of hurting their feelings. I know I have let family members down many times by not being able to say no. When this happens I feel guilty for not saying no to and doing what I know should be important. I hope this makes sense. For some reason God directed me to Google this and am so thankful He did!

  • http://juliakristina.com/ Julia Kristina Counselling

    Thanks for this Michael. NO is a really powerful and important word. Not only for us to be able to say to others for to have the grace to allow others the freedom to say it to us.

    As a therapist I work a lot with clients to help them find their NO and be okay with letting others find theirs. It’s really powerful, and actually really liberating. I wrote about this a little bit as well:


    Thanks again,

    Julia Kristina