Star's Corner

Star’s Corner: Minimize Stress… Say Yes to Saying No!

Juggling life and a demanding career can be stressful, but learning how to say NO is imperative to making it all work.

I have one word for you, ladies… NO. Say it with me… NO. You can do it! NO. Now, say it again… NO! And, again. And, again. And, again. See how easy that was? NO? That’s right; it’s not easy to say NO. But, it’s important that you do because… it’s a matter of life and stress!

From CEOs, senators and entrepreneurs to doctors, lawyers and military personnel, we’ve risen through the ranks to accomplish, achieve and live the lives we choose. Our days are jam packed with lists of things to do, places to be and responsibilities of great magnitude.

We are superwomen… No, we are not!

We cannot keep putting everyone else ahead of ourselves; we must stand strong and speak out for ourselves. So, why do we have such a problem saying NO? It’s simple. We want to do it all. But, ladies, no one can.

While I was a practicing attorney, I was working 60-70 hours a week. As a Senior Assistant District Attorney, I was responsible for case loads of immense volume and importance that, literally, would decide another person’s life and liberty. I sacrificed seeing friends and family, I developed bad habits that would take years to correct and I even sacrificed my health, while trying to do it all. It took some time, but I learned to say no.

Like most women, my life is filled to the max. As you know, I travel almost continually, visiting Local Chapters, speaking out supporting heart health for the American Heart Association as National Volunteer, designing my QVC Status…by Star Jones line and working on my various business ventures — all while remaining very dedicated to my positions at NAPW as National Spokesperson and Chief Development Officer. Believe me when I tell you that I juggle all of this because I learned the skill of saying no.

I know when I need to say NO. I know when I need some “me time” to de-stress.

Yes, I know when to say no and you must, too. It’s truly amazing when you feel that sense of relief as the stress of saying yes to something you cannot possibly do at the moment is lifted from your psyche. I implore all of you to read my suggestions below on how to say no.

Know When to Say No
Maybe it’s your day off and you need some free time for yourself. However, your best friend really needs to see you. Trust me when I tell you that she will not disown you if you say no. Explain why you need the day for yourself. If she’s truly your friend, she’ll understand; and you can schedule for a different day. Or, take the morning for yourself and meet her later. Problem solved; and no stress for you.

Reach Out
Your day is overloaded with work. Your kids need to be picked up, dropped off and picked up again. Your boss needs you in a meeting. It may be hard to say no in these types of situations, so get some assistance. Reach out to a co-worker and see if she can help with a project. Ask someone you trust if they can drive your children where they need to go. You’ll be surprised as to how much others are willing to do for you in times of need – all you have to do is ask. And, at some future date, you can reciprocate.

Ask Yourself 3 Questions
One of my mentors taught me a great technique to relieve the stress of trying to do too much, which has become my favorite way to manage being inundated with questions, emails and requests — I ask myself three questions:

  1. Does this require a response?
  2. Does this require a response from me?
  3. Does this require a response from me right now?

Nine times out of ten, I can simply exhale, and let it wait until I have a minute to consider, evaluate and assess. I recommend you try this stress-relieving technique today. It really works! And, then if you have to say no, you’ll say it calmly.

Stop Trying to Make Everyone Happy
We cannot be all things to all people. And, we never will. Take a moment to process that statement. It will make your life easier, relieve stress and make it more conducive for you to say no when necessary. Keep in mind, you can always say no with the caveat that you might be able to help at another time or on another day when your schedule is free. This also softens the blow to the other person and shows that you have respect for their need for assistance, while not completely rejecting them in the process. And, should you have to give a complete no, then it’s up to the other person to understand. Remember, no works both ways.

Yes, it takes courage to say no. It also takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, to rise above adversity, to advocate for women’s rights, to start your own business. Now it’s time for you to assert yourself on your own behalf and free yourself from unnecessary stress by having the courage to say no. It takes time and practice. Yes, you can do it! And, you must because… it’s a matter of life and stress!

Here’s to the courage to say yes to saying NO!

What tips do you have for saying no? Share your comments below.


Megan Bozzuto