“Think before you act; think twice before you speak.”

~ Thomas Browne

Sometimes we get caught saying YES to something, simply because we don’t take the time to think before responding. This can be especially true when people initiate the surprise attack when asking for help. Sure, it feels good to be helpful, but when we give away our time, energy, and expertise too quickly, that YES can turn into, ‘What was I thinking?’

As I continue to explore the finer points of saying NO during my ‘helping hiatus’, here’s some advice I often tell my audiences, that I need to remind myself of … and that’s exactly HOW to say NO!

Watch the short video below, or read the transcript that follows, and give yourself time and space to assess your yes.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here, continuing the conversation around what I am calling my Helping Hiatus. And this week, I want to give you all a strategy for saying no with conviction. Some of you have mentioned how hard it is for you to say no. So here’s the thing. The people who ask for help will usually go after the ones they know will say yes. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It means that you’re a hard worker. It means that you are a team player and all of those things.

However, sometimes we say yes under duress, and that’s not always good for success. Say that six times fast. So when somebody asks you for your time outside of your job description or even within your job description, but not within your time frame, all you need to do is look them in the eye with a smile on your face and say, “That sounds like a great idea,” or, “That sounds really interesting,” leading with an affirmative.

Then, you say, “I’ll get back to you in 24 hours,” or this afternoon, or in 12 hours… You pick the time frame. That step away from the ask is crucial because that’s your opportunity to pause and collect your thoughts, and determine whether this is something that you can take on right now.

One of two things will happen. You’ll walk away, think about it, and determine, “Yes, this is something that I can do,” “Yes, this is something that I can fit into my schedule now,” “Yes, this is something that I’m excited about.” If it’s extracurricular, you can check your schedule, you can talk to your family about the time commitment, and then you can say yes with a clear conscience. Nothing better than that.

Second scenario, you’ll walk away and realize, “Wow, this is not in my job description,” “It’s not something I’m particularly interested in,” “It’s not something I have time for right now.” Then you can say “no” or “not right now,” with a clear conscience. (Watch this video for more on that tactic)

You don’t have to say yes just because you’ve been asked. I say this often to my audiences, ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.’ Just because you have in the past, doesn’t mean you have to repeat it again, especially if you are somebody that has the habit of saying yes when it’s not yours to say yes to.

So there you go. Step away from the situation by saying, “That sounds like a great idea,” or “Wow, that sounds interesting. I’ll get back to you in 24 hours.” Try it. I know that it can be hard, but that space is what you absolutely need to determine whether the ask is something that you can take on right now.

Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg, reminding you that in order to Ignite High Performance, it is about protecting the time, energy, resources, and expertise that you have, so you can push your own agenda forward. It’s not selfish to say no. Until next time.

I’m booking 2024 speaking engagements across North America RIGHT NOW – keynotes, workshops, even 1:1 coaching… If you’d like to chat about how to bring me in to your organization to help your team eliminate burnout, increase engagement, and ignite high performance, pop me an email at hello@michellecederberg.com. I’d love to chat.

In fact… I’ve got a NEW KEYNOTE and you can learn about it here: MichelleSPEAKS_2024

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1) Hey, I’m super excited to share a great product that I can’t wait for you all to see. It’s my new Success-Energy Equation mouse pad. Remember the equation? Some of you have seen it. Links to purchase are below. SO FUN!

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Michelle Cederberg, Health and Productivity Expert, MKin, BA Psyc, CEP, CPCC
Hall of Fame Speaker, CSP, Certified Coach & Best-Selling Author



Using science-based strategies to eliminate burnout, increase engagement, and ignite high performance


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