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In her book “The Power of Saying No,” Vanessa Patrick, a distinguished Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean for Research at the Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, explores the art of saying no and its transformative effects on our lives. With her expertise in psychology, marketing, and management, Patrick offers a unique perspective on the importance of setting boundaries and rejecting commitments that don’t match our values and goals.

Key Insights:
1. Saying “no” can be challenging because it goes against our natural inclination to help and be cooperative. We fear damaging relationships and our reputation by declining requests. However, it’s important to remember that saying no is necessary for our own well-being and productivity.
2. Instead of using weak phrases like “I can’t,” employ empowered refusal by saying “I don’t.” This conveys determination and control, leaving no room for negotiation. By clearly expressing your boundaries, you assert yourself and maintain respect.
3. Develop the ART of empowered refusal: Awareness, Rules not Decisions, and Totality of Self. Self-awareness is crucial to understanding your values, priorities, and preferences, enabling effective decision-making. Establish personal policies that guide your actions and strengthen your ability to say no confidently. Additionally, ensure your verbal and non-verbal communication align by using empowered language and accompanying gestures.
4. Categorize requests using a cost-benefit framework. Assess the costs, such as time and energy, versus the benefits to the requester. Prioritize low-cost requests that align with your purpose and offer high benefits to others. Say no to high-cost, low-benefit asks to protect your time and focus on meaningful endeavors.
5. When facing persistent askers, identify their tactics: face-to-face requests, choosing their preferred location, and demanding immediate responses. Recognize these behaviors and make it a personal policy to never give an immediate answer. Use technology as a buffer, leveraging email or text messages to restate your refusal. Remember that it’s your responsibility to protect your time and pursue your goals.
By mastering the art of saying no, you can effectively manage your time, energy, and ambition, leading to positive and meaningful changes in your life.
Re-reported from the article originally published in Next Big Idea Club

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