Do you recognise this pattern? I noticed it in me over the last couple of weeks. A protective pattern that avoids the imagined dangers of having to say no to something later, by saying no to it early — and missing out on good stuff as a result. Read and see what resonates for you.
Where are you saying ‘no’ early, through fear of a possible ‘no’ later?
Where are you not even beginning to engage, in case it’s not for you, which would mean there would be that ‘no’ later? Perhaps if that happened you’re imagining it would be accompanied by guilt that you wasted your or their time.
Here’s where I saw this recently, in case it helps you spot it too. And what’s available when we stop being afraid of the ‘later no’.
So my kids have gone to the local snow dome for a number of years. First in preparation for a school ski trip, and then more recently to learn snowboarding.
I’d spotted these member prices before and seen the fact there was membership available. I saw all the benefits of joining but didn’t look into it. I assumed it would be too expensive and not worth having.
I had an early no.
I didn’t want to waste my time looking into it when ‘I knew’ (!) it would be too much and not beneficial for the amount we’d go.
Then, one day, for some reason, I clicked to look at the membership pricing. And blow me down, it wasn’t nearly as much as I’d imagined. And the benefits were brilliant. I saw how I’d have easily made back the cost of the membership with the reductions in lessons, plus all the other benefits on top, and the ongoing reduced-price lift pass time after that.
“Well b*#ger!” I said to myself.
I rang up to see if they’d be up for backdating it if we used the credit to pay for slope time. But no. Worth a try! And so – slightly gutted – I got memberships for both kids. We’re going on our first-ever ski holiday next Feb and I know we’ll make back the membership price on lift passes before then.
I could see how my ‘early no’ was through an imagined problem with the price. Perhaps a mini avoidance of disappointment that I’d see the price and not be able to afford it. Certainly an idea of ‘wasting my time to even explore’ based on what I imagined the cost and benefits would be.
When in fact, pressing pause on that ‘early no’ and staying open and exploring instead, would have reaped buckets of rewards.
Does this resonate with you?
I saw it again in the shops at the weekend. A beauty assistant came over and asked if we wanted to try the brand-new serum. ‘No thanks’ was my instant reply.
In hindsight, I saw that this ‘early no’ was in the avoidance of an uncomfortable ‘later no’.
There was instantaneous, fleeting, imagined discomfort at having to say no later, if I didn’t want the product. What if I looked mean or rude or ungrateful? What if she was upset and thought I’d wasted her time? What if I wasted my time? And so, in the avoidance of that, I said an early no.
There was an idea that if we engage in conversation about this new serum, and then it’s deemed too expensive, or not right for my skin needs, then I’ll be in the supposedly awkward position of then having to say no to someone I’ve just got to know, who I’ve built a relationship with (albeit for just 2 minutes at the beauty counter!). That I might disappoint her with my no. That I might feel bad for saying that no. That I’ll have wasted her and my time by having the conversation and then ending in a no.
Wow! So much avoidant behaviour!
However, in spite of my early no, the lady very deftly saw the eye cream I’d picked up and said that their new serum was a better option than that. It has the latest ‘something or other’ in it. And £10 off for its launch.
Hmmm, well, now I’ve heard a bit more…that sounds like a good deal.
And so it became a yes and I’m now the proud owner of this new ‘something or other’ special eye serum! (Tell me if you notice a difference next time we meet 😉)
And so once again, that ‘early no’ had the potential to derail a cool opportunity. And all solely in the avoidance of an *imagined* awkward, guilt-ridden or time-wasting ‘later no’.
To be fair – even if both of these situations had become a ‘later no’ that would in fact have been totally ok too.
I’ve had experiences of getting into calls with potential coaches or guides for me that have become a ‘later no’. I’ve been on calls with people who are interested in working with me but who’ve then had a ‘later no’.
And it’s all good!
We love it when someone has a clear no, and tells us their clear no.
We also love it when someone has a clear yes.
We love it in ourselves when we have clear yes’s and no’s.
But instead we habitually live in this avoidant space of ‘early no’s’ – created through imagined fears of disappointment, guilt, embarrassment, time-wasting, and maybe more.
How clear are you on your yes’s and no’s? Where are you willing to open yourself up to possibilities, knowing that a ‘later no’ is totally available and allowed and that it says nothing about who you are?
Where are you willing to open yourself up to possibilities and discover more than you imagined was available?
Look and see, and start saying yes to life when it’s a yes. Start saying yes to life when it’s even just a maybe. And no to life when it’s a no. That’s all there is to it.
Where have you recently said an ‘early no’ that you’d actually like to open up to and explore? Would you like to explore it with me?