A Simple Practice #2 – The Power of No

The Power of No

In our October conference call, we explored Dissent vs. Lip-Service. All too frequently, we find ourselves in relationships or work environments where we believe it is not safe to say “no.” This can result in a halfhearted “yes” from ourselves and others.

Reflect on this question. If it is not safe to say “no,” does your “yes” have any meaning?

After our recent call, one person shared how he plans to begin to periodically exam his “yeses” to see how strong they still are for him. We think this is a great idea. Life happens and circumstances change. Maybe it is time for you to re-evaluate your commitments.

Question*: What is the “yes” you no longer mean?


Raise your awareness: Begin by noticing the “yeses” in your life – work, volunteering roles, and relationships. Notice your resistance when you have to show up or perform in any of these roles or tasks. What is your mind, body, and spirit telling you about these “yeses”? Notice if the words you use when telling others about this work, role, relationship inspire or drain energy from you.

Practice Options:

Scenario A.

Make a list of all the organizations and groups you are part of and the roles and tasks you fill. Rate the strength of these “yeses” on a scale of 1-5 (1 lowest level – 5 highest level). If you gave a role a score of 3 or less, explore and reflect on why you are continuing in this role. What if you gave yourself permission to say “no?” What might open up for you? Visualize it. Sink into how it feels to be released from it. Journal your thoughts and feelings.

Scenario B.

What is the “Yes” you no longer mean? Drawing from the Scenario A list, pick one role with a score of 3 or less and consider shifting from “yes” to “no.” If you are feeling a little brave, take a small risk. Tell the person or group that you are no longer able to continue in the role. You don’t have to explain yourself to them. Terminate the role immediately or set a date for termination within the next 30 days. Honor yourself. You are worth it.

Whether you picked Scenario A or both A and B, reflect on how you feel? What was important to you about this practice?

We invite you to record your reactions in your journal. If this practice inspires you, please share this invitation with others. If you would like to connect to others sharing A Simple Practice, share what you learned in the A Simple Practice Facebook group. Click here to ask to join the Facebook Group: A Simple Practice.

Want to know more? Join our monthly free virtual A Small Group conversations. This gives you an opportunity to experience these simple practices in a small group. All are welcome to these free conversations. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, November 19 is our next call. Normally, these calls are hosted the 4th Wednesday of the month @11:30am-12:45pm EDT Click here to learn more and register