Hey, it's Graham here again and today I want to teach you about learning to say no. This is a basic assertiveness skill that a lot of guys like myself who are recovering nice guys tend to struggle with. It's the whole being able to say no when other people request things of us that we don't really want to do.

Often we've had a lifetime where we've been taught that the nice thing to do is to say yes to people, to help people out, to be the nice guy, to give other people what they want, and sometimes we take it too far and we end up doing things for other people at our own expense.

You want to stop doing that, and the way to stop doing that is to start learning to say no. When people ask you to do things that you don't really want to do, rather than keeping up the nice guy act and saying "Yes, I'll do that for you" when you're really actually feeling kind of resentful towards yourself inside for doing that, then just start saying "No, I can't do that" or "No, I don't want to".

If they ask you why, all you have to say is "I don't want to". The more confidence we have, the less need we have to justify our ideas or our desires and our beliefs. So when somebody asks you to do something that you don't really want to do, you can just say, "No, I don't want to do that."

I remember a meeting that I had in the last company that I worked for where my manager came to me - and actually he wasn't my manager. He was a manager on another project, but it was a project related to one I was working on. And he came to me and asked when I would be available to do some work for him, some work that I really didn't want to do.

By contrast, I was currently working on a project where I felt I was getting some really great results, I was happy doing what I was doing and I felt like I was really contributing something that was very strongly needed to the company. So I really didn't want to drop what I was doing and instead start working on what he wanted me to do. When he asked me when I would be available, I said, "Well, you know, the current project I'm working on has enough work for me probably for the next year, and even then I reckon I'm going to be busy for another year at least. So, no, I really can't do what it is you're wanting me to do."

And he was taken aback and was like "What?" as if he's thinking, "You can't say no to me, I'm the manager." But I just stood my ground because I really didn't want to do what he wanted me to do. So I said "no".

As it turned out, he actually had a list of things that he needed done by various different people and one of the things on his list was directly related to the work that I was doing for the company.

When he worked further down the list, I said, "Look, I'm happy to do that for you because that's exactly what I'm currently working on and it's already in my plan to have that item that you need covered by the project that I'm currently working on. So that's going to happen. I'm just not available to do the other thing that you wanted."

By the end of it, he was like, "Oh well, that's okay, then." I wasn't just being plain belligerent; I was actually doing what I thought was in the company's best interests as well as what was in my best interests.

That's kind of what I'm talking about. You need to start learning to say what is in your best interests and aligning your best interests with the other people around you and the company that you work for or the organizations that you're involved in.

If what's in your best interest is not aligned with the best interests of the other people around you, then it's time to start saying "no", so that you can actually start being who you really need to be and doing what you want to do rather than being pushed and shoved around by other people all the time.

So get out there and start learning to say no. If you're really not used to doing this, then you might even want to just start taking arbitrary opportunities when people ask you to do things or ask you for things or invite you to things, and start saying no on an arbitrary basis just so you start kind of getting in the hang and start developing a sense for what you actually want to do compared to what people are asking you to do or telling you to do all the time.

Graham Stoney

Graham Stoney

I struggled for years with low self-esteem, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence before finding a solution that really worked. I created The Confident Man Program to help other men live the life of their dreams. I also offer 1-on-1 coaching via Skype so if you related to this article contact me about coaching.