With the holidays approaching, I decided to pick up my copy of “The Power of a Positive “No” by William Ury. As Co-Founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, he has certainly got experience with having to say “No” in more than one sticky situation.

The sub-heading, “Save the Deal, Save the Relationship – and Still Say No” speaks volumes.

How many times, in your personal or business life, have you said “Yes” because you think you should, you have to or because you simply can’t figure out how to muster up a “No” without feeling bad, guilty or ‘making waves’?

Being a middle child – I know the role of “peace keeper” well.  Add being a mom and formerly being a wife and you can compound my knowledge of putting the needs of others first.  Do whatever it takes to keep people happy with you!  Keep people happy with each other.  Simply keep people happy!  But what about me????

So with the season of  “expectations” upon me, I decided to review this very wise and empowering book.  It’s like taking “NO” vitamins that help me say it and be ok with it.

The introduction is entitled “The Great Gift of No” and starts with a quote from Gandhi:

Amazon-PwrPositiveNo“A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greatr than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.”

Oh boy!  I do believe Gandhi must have a hidden camera in my life – or he had one into my future since he passed away before I was ever born.  I have SO said Yes innumerable times to please people or to avoid trouble!  And usually at the detriment of myself, my truth, my well-being or my business.  It is a habit I’m trying to stop.

Sometimes we want to say “NO!” in reaction to a situation that is emotional and upsetting.  Don’t say it till you can remove the emotion!  As Ury quotes Ambrose Bierce on p. 12 of the book, “Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” Or as one of my friend always  advises, “Give it 24 hours and see if you feel the same way.”

The paradoxical secret defined in the book is revealed on p. 19: You cannot truly say YES until you can truly say NO.

Wow!  Let that sink in.  It is so true!

Anyway, I’m doing a little review and working out my “no” muscle.  By saying “no” to certain things I am saying “yes” to me, to the best interests of my family, of my business of whatever…

I wish for you to be able to know when and how to say “No” to get to all the “Yes”s that really matter in your life.  Read this book… it could change your life.  Truly.

Here’s to your creative success and your ability to say “Yes” and “No” to all that will benefit you, empower you and make you feel good.  Because in the end – those are the things that matter.

– Tara

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