I’d like you to really consider if, in fact, you are a person of your word. I say this because, as of late I’ve been observing more and more that conversations ending with; “Consider it done.” “Yes, absolutely I’ll send that you.” “You can count on me.” “I will be there.” “I’ll call you then.” I could go on … and yet, in actuality don’t necessarily translate into action. In other words, there’s no intended committed action toward what was being said.
Here’s my theory; We seem to have a really hard time saying, no. I’ll bet that you actually knew before you said it that you weren’t really planning on delivering on what you said yes to in the first place.
Here’s the irony of that – We say yes when we really mean no so as not to disappoint another. What happens is the opposite. You’re actually making yourself look worse, and disappointing another. You may never realize this as the other person may never call you out on your word. You’re then left thinking; “Great, no response from the other person – I’m home free.”
This fascinates me. It always has. This isn’t new and yet I’ve noticed this, as I mentioned to be more prevalent.
The compulsion to say yes when really you mean no does you a real disservice for a number of reasons; For one, you’re not building trust. You lose credibility. We won’t believe anything that you say if you don’t deliver on your actions. Unless of course you let us know ahead a time that you’re not able to deliver. If nothings said, then the next time you speak, it’s just ‘noise’ to us.
Another reason not to say yes when you’re planning on not delivering is that the person you say yes too believes you. They aren’t making any assumptions. They’re hoping that yes means yes. It also means that you could really be holding things up for that person. They’re counting on you.
What’s funny is that by you not wanting to disappoint another, or perhaps wanting to show that you’re the ‘man or woman’ of the day, the saviour, the one with connections, etc., which, is ultimately based on ego, backfires miserably.
Ultimately, we come from a place of either wanting to be helpful, as we’d like others to help us when in need, or it’s a fear that you don’t want to be rejected or abandoned if you say no to someone.
Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor in social work, has spent two decades studying shame, empathy and vulnerability. Brown says that we often don’t set boundaries, we let people do things that are not okay and then we’re resentful. We tend to imagine that setting a boundary means being rude or pushy. But setting boundaries doesn’t mean you’re being cold-hearted.
Brown goes on to explain that; “One of the most shocking findings of my work was the idea that the most compassionate people I had interviewed over the last 13 years set the most boundaries.”
At the end of the day it really comes down to owning your ‘no.’ To have both the confidence and understanding that you’re not always going to please everyone, because you won’t.
Rather than compromise your good word in order to appease another, tell it like it is. Set your word to action (or not). And yet know that when you say you’re going to do something … we believe you. We. Really. Believe. You.
Try it out today. Think before you speak. Speak once you have an answer that you can live by. If things change, well then speak your truth.
It really is that simple.