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  • Writer's pictureBrian R. Schobel, CPA

Boundaries 101: The Gentle Art of Saying No


In our eagerness to be agreeable, many of us struggle with the simple but powerful word "No." Yet, saying no is more than just rejecting a request; it’s about setting healthy boundaries that honor our time, energy, and emotional well-being.

1. The Value of Your Time: Time is your most valuable asset, and once spent, you can't get it back. Every "yes" to something unimportant is a "no" to something that truly matters.

2. Guilt-Free No: The fear of disappointing others often comes at the cost of disappointing ourselves. Saying no doesn't make you a bad person; it makes you a self-aware one.

3. Script Your No: Feeling awkward about saying no? Prepare a script in advance. It doesn't have to be elaborate—a simple, "I can’t commit to this, but thank you for thinking of me," is courteous and to the point.

4. Start Small: Practice with low-stakes situations, like declining an extra helping of dessert or opting out of an event you have no interest in. These mini-exercises will build your confidence.

In the words of Steve Jobs, "Focusing is about saying no." Mastering the art of saying no isn’t about being unkind or selfish; it’s about recognizing what truly deserves your focus and energy.

So, the next time you're tempted to say yes out of obligation or fear, remember that it's not just okay to say no—it's crucial.


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