Saying No and Sticking to It

Saying “yes” to too many opportunities, too many projects, and too many people is a blueprint for failure. Especially when we just want to say “no” and then it all too often turns into a “yes.”

Even as leaders, our challenge maybe an employee pleads or a customer argues and persuades — chipping away at our resolution.  Finally, the “no” becomes “maybe” and maybe becomes “yes.” Before we realize it; we surrender agreeing to something we wish we hadn’t.

Or even more likely — maybe you chip away at your own resolution until you give-in doing something you didn’t want to do but you eventually couldn’t say no to yourself.

What is the Best Way to Say No

In the publication, “Don’t versus Can’t”:  Refusal Strategies for Psychological Empowerment, a research study presented the easiest way to resist temptation and achieve your long-term goals is to choose the right word. This research is one of the first that investigates the impact of linguists on enhancing or impeding  goal-directed behavior.

Stop saying “I can’t” and start saying “I don’t.”

Imagine for a moment, your largest customer wants you to offer a substantial discount on all future orders.  Despite a very competitive market; the possibility of losing this customer could result in a significant financial loss to your business — you really must say “no.”

Avoid saying, “we can’t drop the price any lower.”  Instead, reframe and say “we don’t discount” — and notice the impact.

Often when you hear the word “can’t” — you start to think about persuasive ways to get around the circumstances. That’s why so many people fail to achieve their professional and personal goals.

But when you say “I don’t” — you are less likely to give in to temptation or pressure.  “I don’t” sounds powerful, affirmative and means “non-negotiable” — especially with yourself.

How will you harness the power of “I don’t?”   What results will you produce?

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  • Tom Donofrio / June 12, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you for this!! There are times when I revert to a yes too many times. Today though, I did say I don’t. It did have an impact as to the perspective customer still wanted my info on what other repairs that I do.

    • Peg Calvario / June 15, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Congratulations Tom on your success! Changing our words is applicable to any situation and produces the results we really want.

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