How to use the life changing word No

How to use the life changing word No might spin you off into an internal dialogue. You worry that you’ll never work again or that those opportunities will disappear. I get it. I have been that freelance creative saying yes to everything, in the fear that it will all disappear. But just like saying yes to all the donuts, at some point it is going to make you feel ill. Knowing how to say no can actually help you.

How to say no


No doesn’t have to be a negative word if you say it in the right way. It also doesn’t have to be the end of work as we know it or never working with that person again.

Download the podcast to listen to all the positive ways to use the word no, and how it can actually help your career and goals.

Why do you say yes

We often say yes from a gut response rather than thinking about whether we really want to do something. Often this is because we feel like we are on the spot and can’t let the opportunity go. Or else we say yes to be a people pleaser and not offend the other person. What if I was to tell you that there is another way?

You can say yes but delay your answer for 24 hours by asking to check your diary, or saying “Can I get back to you tomorrow?” Usually people are understanding and this gives you some breathing space to decide whether this really is the right thing to say yes to. Think about why you want to say yes. Is it for money, recognition, to work with people you love or a combination of the three?

How to say no

If it isn’t something that you want to do then knowing how to say no nicely can really help. Listen to the podcast to find out how.

Always keep in mind your reasons for saying yes or no. Think about the bigger goals that you want to achieve. Is it because you want to work with those people, or that they can help you make a contact for your dream job or client? Sometimes we have to play the long game. By plotting out the things that you would like to achieve this year and in the next 4 years, can really help you to make better long term decisions.

You might not know what you want to do in the next year or the next 4 years, but you probably have a good idea of what you don’t want to do. Start with that and think about the choices that you are making today. Do they make you happy, are you earning enough or working with people that you love? If not, what would you like to change.

Making decisions

We think that the decisions we make are final in the moment, but that is never the case. You always have a choice, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Think about the things that bring you joy, the way that you want to spend your days and the people that you want to share it with. Those should be your starting points.

I have turned down work in the past because I didn’t like the people I would have to work with. Did it leave my bank account a little empty? Sure it did. But it would have made me miserable to take the work and show up each day. Mental health is something that you should add to your yes list. Make sure you are heading in the happy direction.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t focus on your income as well, but it is important to think about your energy levels and time as well as the money. Sometimes the money isn’t as great as you think. Make sure you have added up all of the real hours is takes you to do the job. Think about the commuting, the editing of photos or workshops you run, all of this is part of that wage you are going to take home.

Next steps

Sometimes it is hard to figure it all out on your own, or else you need someone to support you while you make big changes. I get it, I have been there myself and know how important it is to have a cheerleading team by your side. Mentoring can really help as well. I have a few slots a year and I have some spaces at the moment, but they fill up fast. If you are interested, click below and it will take you to all the details.

Find out about mentoring