Get Free Tips to Kick Ass in Business and Life

How To Back Out Gracefully: The Art Of Saying No After You’ve Said Yes

176

Can you relate?

You said yes to a major project with your full heart. You felt good. Excited. Ready to dive in. You believe in this thing and the other folks involved are thrilled to have you on board.

A bit of time goes by and your life takes a turn.

It’s all good, but things are different now. Less time, less bandwidth. The truth is you stress even thinking about this project and what it will take to pull it off.

But, you already said yes. You gave your word. People are counting on you (lots of them) and you pride yourself on being someone who honors commitments, no matter what.

Enter a stormy, emotional mix of guilt, inadequacy, panic, and fear. There’s the fear of looking weak, the fear of disappointing others, and the fear of damaging your reputation.

Do you suck it up and try harder, or, do you call it quits?

If you’ve ever struggled with saying no after you’ve already said yes, this MarieTV is for you.


Today’s Tweetable:
Honesty is the best solution for cleaning up a sticky situation.” @MarieForleo

How to Double Your Results and Work Less

After you’ve watched, I’d love to get your take.

Have you ever struggled with whether or not to back out of something important? How did you make your decision and what was the outcome?

For bonus points, let us know the silliest white lie you’ve ever told to get out of a commitment.

Do your best to be as specific as you can in your comment, as tens of thousands of beautiful souls visit these posts for inspiration and support. Your story may be the breakthrough someone else needs to create a business and life they love!

As always, thank you so much for watching, spreading the word, and sharing so brilliantly in the comments. I’m always in awe of the incredible support that springs forth from our community.

xoxox

Marie Forleo

Diggin' this content? Sign up for updates…It's FREE!

Read the comments or Add yours

Jessica

It’s so hard to back out, but it’s much better than flaking, especially when someone’s counting on you. The one time I had to back out of something I couldn’t do anymore, it actually turned into something amazing (a partnership between me and the other person) all because I was honest that my situation had changed and I didn’t have time to do *everything* the project required. Turned out to be one of my favorite projects ever. And it never would have happened that way had I flaked or kept trying to do it myself.

Reply

Lisa Robbin Young

I totally relate to your situation! I faced a really tough decision just recently and honesty made it possible to keep working with the person I had to say no to. They appreciated my honesty and when a new project came up, they asked and I was able to say yes – without bowing out. Turned out to be a perfect match for both of us! :-)

Reply

Kristen the Passion Plan Coach

Don’t you love when saying “no” actually makes a relationship better?? That’s something I plan to keep in mind! :)

Reply

Louise - Team Forleo

This is a beautiful point Kristen, and SO true!

Reply

Krayl Funch

Great reminder. Some how I must have gotten off the train at a stop a few months ago… Saying yes to everything only creates more stress on my schedule and rarely equals a financially win. After this video I’m buying my ticket back on the No Train, and focusing on being productive not busy.

Diana Henry Cachey

No train or bust. Halleluia! Praise the NO.

Emelia

Energetically, it makes sense. Honesty from a good place is positive energy. So feeding a situation with it makes it more likely for something to grow out of it.

Reply

Ms. Pillowz

My spirit animal strikes again with yet another wisdom-bomb. Energy is in all things and positive energy leads to good outcomes. Such a great point, Emelia!

Reply

Amanda Froelich

Well put, Emelia! Truth!

Reply

Jessica

Yes! This is such a great point, Emelia. And, really, wouldn’t we all rather hang out with people who are honest with us–and who let us be honest, too? :-)

Reply

Demetria Jackson | Business Coach for Professional Feminists

That’s awesome Jessica & Lisa! Honesty is so underrated these days so I feel like when it shows up it’s a welcomed breath of fresh air!

Reply

Jessica

Such a cool story, Lisa! Sometimes the project at hand just isn’t the right one and patience and honesty make all the difference.

Reply

Kristen the Passion Plan Coach

You’re right, Jessica, backing out feels REALLY hard, and I hate to let people down. (Recovering “People Pleaser” right here!) I’m glad your situation turned out so well, though, and it’s proof that honesty and openness can lead to better results than you even imagined!

Reply

Jessica

It is hard to feel like you’re letting someone down! But I know if the situation were reversed, I wouldn’t want someone else to feel burdened if they couldn’t handle the project anymore. So, sometimes that helps, especially in those times when I don’t want to back out, but do need to ask for an extension. (Learning I could ask for more time was *huge* for me–I still do it only maybe twice a year, but knowing that I can… huge! ;-))

Reply

Ms. Pillowz

Such a great story, Jessica! I love how your honesty opened the door to an even better opportunity for you. You’re right. Often we don’t want to back out, because we don’t want to appear flaky, inconvenience someone else, and sometimes with think we’re Wonder Woman, but by committing to too many things, we risk the danger of not doing a good job and possibly damaging a relationship and / or reputation. Kudos to you for being honest even when I’m sure it was hard. Great to know that it turned out in your favor. :-)

MP

Reply

Jessica

That’s a great point, Ms. Pillowz! It can do more harm to do a poor job when a simple, “Sorry, I’m not going to be able to complete this,” might have gone over better. I know looking at the people I’ve hired over the years, I’d always prefer someone say, “Can’t get this done” (preferably before the last minute! ;-)) to “It’s not my best work, because…”

Reply

Ms. Pillowz

Exactly! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment on my blog! Definitely great advice! :-)

Reply

Hanna Jun

This episode was a good reminder. Let’s not fear of saying NO!

Reply

Cynthia Ribas

Hi Marie (and company)!

I love your Tuesday bits of business wisdom, but none more than this “No Train!” Bravo!!! You really spoke to me with that one! As an attorney who runs her own solo practice, I am the Queen of Overcommitting. But now, my new favorite song will be … “People all over the world …”

Thank you!!!

All the best,
Cynthia

P.S. I have loved trains all my life since the first one I road at age 4. And I especially love the first class ticket imagery you use. I promise all my new “No’s” will be delivered with grace and compassion. :)

Reply

Diana Henry Cachey

I LOVE Jessica’s point about how honesty can better the relationship. I’ve been on the No Train since my first time in B-school, where I heard the phrase and got the permission to be honest. Permission. I’d a;ways thought you had to say yes. Ha! My husband was in the room when I watched Marie’s No Train video, and he said “you need to listen to those girls!” Sometimes saying yes, or No, in a dishonest way, stems from an old idea that we are conditioned to do… old ideas can hold you and the other person back as Jessica points out. Thanks for another reminder… get on the No train.

Reply

Lisa Robbin Young

I used to over commit mostly because I didn’t realize how much time it really took to do the things to which I was saying yes. I started to navigate that by adding 20-30% more time to my original time estimations. Then, I started to see where I was saying yes to what really didn’t move my life forward and mustered my courage to buy a ticket for the No train. I say yes to a lot lless now, which gives me plenty of room to do what really matters to me. When those times come up where I’ve got a conflict, I try to be preemptive and let people know what’s going on.

Reply

Demetria Jackson | Business Coach for Professional Feminists

Lisa, your comment really resonates with me. I also used to over commit because I didn’t realize how much time it took me to do things and then I would get frustrated with myself because I would compare myself with other people in the industry that seem to be productivity and “get-shit-done” machines.

Reply

Lisa Robbin Young

That was a big one for me too, Demetria. Comparisonitis. I realized that the reasong people got more stuff done was because they were focusing on getting more of the RIGHT stuff done. Totally changed my perspective on “Doing” versus “being” ;-)

Reply

Demetria Jackson | Business Coach for Professional Feminists

Preach on! Yes! Just… yes!

Reply

SandyG

Lisa, I hear you. I was in the over committing boat and jumped off. For me it took much more time because I’m the kind of person that likes things done right, with all my effort, and that’s fine for the people who receive my service of over delivering but I get burnt out.

Reply

Osha Key

Oh yes! It always takes a lot longer to complete the task than expected! I should use your advice about 20-30% more often :)

Reply

Boni Candelario I Career Strategy and Empowerment Coach

Great advice Lisa on adding 20-30% more time to current project and commitment obligations. I will add this to my life toolkit!

Reply

Demetria Jackson | Business Coach for Professional Feminists

Marie, I love that you gave me the go ahead to give myself permission to say no. It’s such as simple piece of advice but it’s so easy to get caught up in it all and forget that it’s okay to set boundaries.

Reply

Kristen the Passion Plan Coach

Oooh this is a tough one! I struggle with this often, actually. I’m still working on “getting on the NO train,” like Marie always says, so sometimes I’ll still react with a “yes!” and then realize I’ve way overcommitted. I’m definitely not a flake, so I almost always just find a way to get it all done. But that’s not the path to self-care (and it leads to some serious resentment!).

So Marie, I’m with you on this — I’m going to hop on the “NO” train from the beginning more often, and be really honest when I have to back out gracefully. Thanks for this video!

Reply

SandyG

I love that we can all get on the NO train together :)

Reply

Emelia

First, that dress is gorgeous, Marie.

Thankfully, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable in first class section of the No train. It’s easier with “work-work” than with personal requests from friends. I really have to keep it in check because I know I am blessed, well cursed, with the ability to lie fluidly. Not proud of it.

I don’t know about a silly excuse, but my worst excuse was when a friend (who had nothing better to do) wanted me to waste time with him. I didn’t have the energy for it so I told him I wasn’t home yet and by the time I got in it would be too late.

Came to find out he was already outside of my building and could clearly see my car parked on the street. Oops. Then I learned never tell a lie that is subject to verification. You’re so right. Honesty is best.

Reply

Demetria Jackson | Business Coach for Professional Feminists

I love that you shared this! There’s nothing like the awkward sting of a white lie to help us learn a lesson and be more honest with people.

Reply

Emelia

It’s funny because I learned to lie better. Hehe…but the energy of it doesn’t sit well with me so I grew out out of it. OK. I’m lying. More accurately, I’m still growing out of it. :)

Reply

Demetria Jackson | Business Coach for Professional Feminists

Haha! You and me both.

Reply

Tomeka

Thanks for sharing Emelia – too funny!

Mercedes

Emelia, I’m learning that too. I don’t know about you, but I have friends/family who don’t seem to understand that I am busy even though I don’t have a standard 9 to 5 job like them. They seem to think that my flexible schedule means an open schedule. I still have a hard time saying no so I have done some silly things, related to your parked car story. For example, I’ve gotten last-minute texts like, “I’m in your neighborhood, can I come over?” and I have literally dropped what I was doing, grabbed some work materials, left my house, driven away, and then texted back saying, “Oh sorry, I’m not at home!” What an inconvenience to myself!

Reply

Alison Beere

“They seem to think that my flexible schedule means an open schedule.”

Aarghh – yes!
And even when I say No to them it still steals my mojo, because my mind goes into a justification loop . My current lesson is to say No and move my mind on swiftly :D

Reply

Mercedes

Alison, yes! I have the same problem. Even after saying No, or after pulling a silly stunt like drawing my curtains and/or driving away, I spend at least an hour in the “justification loop”. Moving the “mind on swiftly” is exactly what I need to do too! Thanks for bringing that up!

Reply

Ms. Pillowz

I can’t divulge the location to the batcave just in case my friends are reading the comments, but it usually starts with, “What had happened was…” Needless to say, it isn’t working too well. Clearly this is a sign that I need to get on the No Train more often. lol Thanks for the tips!

MP

Reply

Osha Key

Haha, Ms. Pillowz, it’s funny that you say that, because every time someone says to me “What had happened was…”, my BS radar automatically goes off :D

Reply

Ms. Pillowz

Mine too… ;-) lol

Reply

Wendy Woods :: Personal Style Coach

I agree with the honesty as the best policy… I believe people can feel white lies and get upset by them.

I’ve been working hard to get on your “No train” Marie, but I have something coming up that I knew I would regret saying yes to as the date came closer. I’ve decided to keep my commitment because it was my own conscious decision not to follow my instincts.

Getting better at saying “No”, but still a long way to go!

Reply

Rachel

I do the same thing. It basically teaches yourself a lesson. If you say yes then you do it. Next time I am more careful!

Reply

Wendy Woods :: Personal Style Coach

Yes, I totally agree Rachel!

Reply

SandyG

Thanks marie for reminding me to buy a ticket on the NO train, I totally overcommit and get burnt out. Also, I cancel on the fun stuff to do work I overcommitted to, so great reminder.

I can’t tell white lies because what happens for real in my life sometimes can be so crazy it sounds like ginormous lies. The truth never hurts.

Reply

Demetria Jackson | Business Coach for Professional Feminists

“I cancel on the fun stuff to do work I overcommitted to” <—- this is definitely something that I do too. And it sucks!

Reply

SandyG

I’m glad I’m not the only one. Please let’s not flake on ourselves :) fun fun fun

Reply

Demetria Jackson | Business Coach for Professional Feminists

Deal! :)

Reply

Osha Key

You’re definitely not the only one, SandyG. I do that, and I believe many women do that too… I love what you say “Please let’s not flake on ourselves”. That’s a really good reminder! Thanks <3

Reply

Charles Voth

The craziest white lie I ever told was at my first job ever. My father had got me the job (trimming/shaping evergreen trees for a landscaping company) and I was not best pleased to be working in the hot sun with pine sap all over me. After the first day, I was told to take my clippers home and clean them. I returned them and said I would be moving the next day and couldn’t come to work but I’d pick them back up on the day after that. Yeah, like my father didn’t get a call.

Reply

Robin Hallett

So glad you are addressing this here Marie! In any situation WE are the most important part of the equation-hard to remember at times, especially when guilt is involved. I love the honest approach because it’s real, and truth creates safety and trust regardless of whether it’s difficult or not. Place a hand on your high heart as you say the words you need to say, and remember that you and your needs matter.

Reply

Leah

There’s a good arabic proverb that states : “Where were you No when I said Yes?” , truth is, it’s always better to say No in the first place then change your mind then vice-versas!

Reply

Jenny

I think that telling the truth ALWAYS has the best out come.
I did have an issue with over committing but i’m happy to say now, I can stay NO no problamo! Incredibly freeing!
The more you take the NO train the easier it gets

Reply

Chas

“Some people will not tolerate such emotional honesty in communication. They would rather defend their dishonesty on the grounds that it might hurt others. Therefore, having rationalized their phoniness into nobility, they settle for superficial relationships.” ~Author Unknown

Reply

Bianca

Loved the material covered in today’s Q&A. Wondering where I can find the article mentioned in the video…
Thanks,
Bianca

Reply

Louise - Team Forleo

Bianca,
I’ve just added the link in above for the post/article about “How To Double your Results and Work Less” so there’s a fast way to jump in!

Reply

Matthew Cameron

What was that? A GUY?! Who is the fella who is on your amazing team?

Makes it “feel” like I’m not the only guy watching and learning from you :)

B-School class of 2014

Reply

Louise - Team Forleo

Matthew – our incredible MarieTV crew has some amazing men. You are ABSOLUTELY not alone (and there are more and more men in our community, we get emails every day… hopefully they will get braver about posting comments too).

Reply

Ashley Cooper

Marie, this couldn’t have come at a better time! I have gotten really good at getting on the no train…but had a particular situation today that had me reconsider a commitment. I had to let someone down because I really felt that I just couldn’t pull it off without twisting myself into a pretzel and being 50 places at once… Saying no had me hopin on the guilt train im not going to lie. Thanks for the reminder that there is always a way to back out gracefully. xxx

Reply

Amanda

Am I missing the link to “How to double your results and work less”? And is there a way to search your site for stuff like this? Thanks as always for such great advice!

Reply

Louise - Team Forleo

Amanda,
The link is now above! Enjoy the post.

Reply

Jan

What a great question and message. Smiled all the way through watching – probably because I could see myself in the situation. That said, I want to respond by telling the story of when I learned to get on the ‘No’ train. A friend had asked myself and another friend to help her set up her art show in NYC. The artist friend is very persuasive, well-known (everyone wanted to be her friend) and intimidating, so my other friend and I reluctantly said yes. Then a week before the show I backed out, expecting back(out)lash. Instead she was thankful that I took care of myself. My other friend then felt even more pressure, went to NYC, and was stressed out for weeks. The other friend and I talk about that situation whenever we find ourselves in similar situations. Jan

Reply

Osha Key

Thanks for sharing, Jan. I think when you respect yourself (by taking the time for self-care, for example), then others will respect you too.

Reply

Lili Viola

What a timely video! I just wrapped up a 3 day weekend workshop at my studio featuring out of town guest teachers. It was a huge success and well worth the workload. However heading into the next business day I was drained and succumbed to a 24 hour bug. I had no choice but to cancel my teaching schedule to recover and also to prevent exposing my clients to my virus. Honesty paid off as my clients were understanding. But the real lesson for me was to have the forethought to plan ahead and give myself a day of rest well beforehand in irder to not have to cancel.

Great advice Marie!

Reply

Lisa | The High Priestess of the Woo

Get out of my head, Marie!!

This is exactly my issue as I sit here this morning, having agreed that I’m going to close the energy leaks in my life. Thank you for reminding me that the truth is always appropriate and honors my soul and theirs.

Thank you Marie and everyone else for this big ass nudge!

Reply

Peggy Nolan

I did say no, in a big way. I’m a 2014 B-School graduate and I quit my online coaching business because it’s not the right business for me. I’m making a course correction and adjusting my sail. I have never been more clear than I am right now. Thank you Marie!

“Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something you love is called passion.” http://wp.me/phtDB-18s

Reply

Osha Key

Congratulations on your brave decision, Peggy!

Reply

Jessica

I’m always honest and explain my reasoning – both why I said yes at first and why I am backing out. I’ve rarely burnt a bridge this way, and where I have, it probably means the project wouldn’t have gone well anyway.

Right now I’m making a huge pivot in my business and I’m going to have to say ‘no’ to a whole bunch of projects! It will be a very interesting process and I can’t wait to see what comes out of it. I’m becoming a rebel entrepreneur!

Reply

Rebecca Johnson

It took me months to finally tell someone that I couldn’t continue a commitment. It was hard but liberating. I also learned how much they valued me when they asked me to do a side project at my leisure that actually was more of who I am. I am fitting in when I can, the pressure is off and we have continued to be friends. When I think about all the anguish I went through before telling them…but I learned so much about myself and the process.

Reply

UH

I had a similar experience to Jessica’s. When I told a client that my initial estimate about how long a certain project was going to take had been totally wrong, he actually thanked me for telling him early in the project. In a phone conversation he told me he loved to work with me because I was so reliable. So counter-intuitively, telling him I was not going to make the deadline made him perceive me as a reliable person.

What has helped me most, beside adding some extra time to all my estimates, is that I keep a very good and current overview of all the commitments I have already made – both private and business. This makes it very easy to say no to anything new coming my way that is not super-important to me.

Reply

Clare Galloway

:-) Hehehehehe- yes. I love being on the No Train: I really love how it feels to say no, I am doing this…. and know that my time and work I’m doing have value to me.

I get inundated with folks who think that artists sit around drinking absinthe all day or something, and have nothing better to do than go translate/ assist/ advise/ do menial jobs, when actually we’re working our asses off doing flippin’ e v e r y t h i n g… and then some!

I realised doing B-School that actually it was totally my thing; that I was allowing myself to default with yes, and regret it later. Urgh.

It had an immense positive effect on my whole work-life balance, when I was able to say, actually, no. Most often, I find there is a natural harmonious state to this: I can just about always turn it around into a win-win situation, where I recommend someone who can do this task even better, and the person asking goes away even happier :-D

In regards to my worst excuse used to back-out of a commitment: my habit of making myself actually ill, in order to avoid doing something I don’t really want to do. More of a burn-out than physically making myself spontaneously ill, but I do still find it difficult to not say yes, when technically I can actually do a thing- I find it hard to put my time first, but am on a learning curve!

I notice that, when I simply explain clearly that I am up-to-my-ears, and late on several projects, this keeps it in perspective for the other person- instead of my racking my brains for a significant particular excuse. I love being able to state the truth: keeps it all so straightforward!

Reply

Heather

LOVE the “No” train skit! I’m on it! This will forever be imprinted in my mind…Your tips along with entertainment are always a quality gig that make a difference!

Reply

Louise - Team Forleo

Thank you Heather, that means the world to us!

Reply

Clare Fitzgerald

My biggest blunder with not getting on the no train was saying yes to work with another business owner to help with an event.

I should never have said yes because I truly wasn’t ready to do it both emotionally and personally.

I ended up doing an average job and really disappointed myself and let them down too. I have found it pretty hard to forgive myself ever since as it was so not like me to do something like this.

That situation taught me that if your intuition really says no then listen to it and give yourself permission to say no without losing face.

So now I work hard on doing what I’m drawn to do next to build my business, and save the more personally tricky things for when I’ve had a few wins in other areas and am feeling more confident to give it a try.

Reply

justine

just this morning I was telling my 3 yr old son that he shouldn’t lie,

he said: ¿why?

because if you lie you create another problem instead of solving one, and sooner or later, you will have to deal with the truth anyway!

:)

Reply

Caroline @ Made Vibrant

Yes! I was just in this situation recently when I got back from a long personal trip and overextended myself (probably because I was feeling guilty for taking a few weeks off.) However, I soon realized that I was not going to be able to do a great job if I was spreading myself so thin. That’s when I hopped on the NO train, and it really made such a difference. I respectfully and gracefully pulled out of all my commitments that were still in the concept phase (no money had exchanged hands) and gave myself permission to say no to all subsequent inquiries until I had a chance to slowly move things one by one off my plate. I have to admit, the idea of telling a little white lie definitely crossed my mind, but as you said, honesty was the best way to go. Thankfully, the people I’ve attracted as clients to my business are incredibly understanding and honest people themselves, so they totally understood the overextended position I put myself in.

Saying NO or stepping down is never easy when we’re all incredibly driven people, but in the end listening to your instincts about what you can and can’t handle is the best way to go. Love the video, Marie. Thanks!

Reply

Sarah

A friend recently helped me realize that my knee-jerk reaction anytime I am asked to help with ANYTHING is “YES!” Like Marie, she suggested that I make an effort to change that impulse to something more along the lines of “Wow, that sounds great, let me take a look at my calendar and I’ll get back to you,” which buys me a little time to really step out of the excitement of the moment and determine whether this is something I can really commit to.

Great advice!

Reply

Maria

So true. I like the ‘let me think about it’ approach best. People collecting for good causes! Yes it’s good to give to charity but you have to draw a line somewhere and you can’t put in to all of them. They try to make you feel so guilty if you say no! I’ve even offended one work colleague by not putting in because I didn’t believe in the cause.

Reply

Patty Ann

Honesty never changes its story.
Organization in one’s life is the key.
“I’ll get back to you” is great for checking in with yourself before committing.
I never– I say NEVER commit to a project unless I can deliver.

Reply

Solmadrid Vazquez

I definitely agree that honesty is the answer. I appreciate it from my friends and acquaintances as well. If they can’t make it, for whatever reason, I would much rather have them say, “Hey Sol, I know we made plans for tonight, but I accidentally overbooked myself. I was supposed to do…(insert activity).” Then I would of course tell them it’s no problem, enjoy their time, and we’ll meet up some other time. Easy peasy, one two threesy.

Reply

Leonard Wilson

Thank you Marie (you look stunning in your dress by the way). You have perfect timing. I needed this message. As a teacher, I am looking to earn some extra income during the summer and part-time when school starts back. I am afraid I have committed myself to too many extra jobs. One of these part-time jobs is involved in tutoring, but the pay is below par and the hours are inconvenient. I hate to back out, but now I know how to. And I know how to say no to avoid these situations in the future. Thanks for the “How to Double Your Results…” article. I need more tips on productivity and structure. As usual, you rock!

Reply

Jenny

Seriously, are you tapping my phone? :)

JUST what I needed & very helpful, thanks!

Reply

Kristin - Team Forleo

Glad this was so timely for you, Jenny :)

Reply

Jackie Bledsoe

Great post and timely post! I’ve had to do this a couple times, and both were VERY hard. One was as recent as last week. What I’ve learned is I’m a “yes man.” Meaning it is very very hard to say “no.”

So, I loved your “No train!” :)

I’m not sure if links are cool here or not, but yesterday I shared my story of being a “yes man” and how it’s actually hurting my relationships. I won’t post the link here, but the title of the post is “How being a ‘yes man’ can damage your relationships.”

If anyone wants to read it you can Google it and should show up on the first page…it was a guest post on Adam Smith’s blog.

Reply

Katharine

Personal template for most of my life – commit and then back out, personally and professionally. I don’t know if my friends labeled me this, but I called myself “No Show K” all the time. I had to do some soul-searching and healing to find out that my drive to over-commit had everything to do with placing my identity in people, places and things! A great friend taught me that “No,” is a complete sentence – and I live by that now. Honesty has led to freedom to be who I am and only commit to those things in which I am personally invested or for which am willing to make some conscious sacrifice. Life is just a lot simpler now.

Reply

Vanessa Paton

Hi Marie & fans.
This is such perfect timing….I am learning to speak my truth, from my heart. (evolutionoftheheart.com)
For me it’s about honoring myself. When I say ‘yes’ to others when it’s really a ‘No’ it closes the door to my heart.
Love ya
Vaness

Reply

Jodi

Good video! As others have posted, the “No Train” and “how to back out” advice was helpful, but I especially appreciated the fact that you started by encouraging the questioner/viewers to take an honest look at whether this is a pattern. I’m not saying this is true for the person who wrote the question, but it is for some of us. For many the problem is not taking good enough care of oneself, but for some the problem is not challenging oneself enough – looking for the life coach (or best friend or whomever) to say “Poor baby, of course you should give up on that because it doesn’t feel good right now to follow through. You should take care of yourself!” Sometimes pushing through the pain is the best way to take care because it shows us that we can, and builds capacity to be/do more.

I also like the great advice to stop with white lies. I can’t think of any entertaining ones to share, but I’m sure I have used some garden variety white lies, and that needs to stop right here. Thanks, Marie!

Reply

Laurel Anderson

Yes, those little white lies have a way of growing with more to cover them and more to cover them, then whoops! You are caught!
The thing about honesty is that is heartfelt and people can’t get too mad if you are coming from the heart.
I like the part about saying the commitment DESERVES the time and quality that you are not able to give because of a changed situation. This shows sincerity in wanting the best for those who you’ve committed to, again, another example of sincerity when backing out of a commitment.
We all have changing situations as well, if a family member died and you had to move back to help the family anyone would understand that changed situation, so a new job or other major life change is an understandable reason to change a commitment.
I just want to thank Marie for introducing me to the NO train a year ago, it has made a big difference in my life.
It also makes a difference in other people’s lives because if you are resentful of having to stick to a commitment you made and then blame the other person for asking, then that doesn’t help anyone!

Reply

Daphne Cohn

I think pretty carefully before I say “Yes” to something because I really don’t like to back out of a commitment (especially in business). I’ve been on the receiving end of that in business and it’s been challenging. So what I do is
1) research the person asking for my commitment (if I don’t already know them well)
2) have a one-on-one with them where i get to know them on a more personal basis
3) trust my gut

Even when something seems like a good deal but my gut says, “No” I say, “No.”

Reply

Kristin - Team Forleo

Daphne, that’s so smart — “when my gut says no, I say no.” Way to trust your instincts!

Reply

Sheree

I find one of the best ways to see whether you should back out or not, is to first get clear on your Core Desired Feelings {Danielle LaPorte “The Desire Map}. I know Marie is down with her info. It’s been a great way to have clarity regularly. One of my CDFs is Empowered. I was prepared to say no to a pushy client recently because, plain and simple, when I evaluated if pursuing the situation would leave me feeling empowered, the answer was no! I actually felt empowered by my courage and confidence to say “no”. {Sweet!}

I also love the line, “It’s a soul thing.” There ain’t too much anyone can say to that. The key is to be genuine. If it’s not “a soul thing,” well than don’t say that it is. ;)

Great episode MF gang.

Sheree

Reply

Samantha

This video couldn’t come soon enough! I swear angelic tunes played when I saw the topic for today! My biggest criticism from the people closest to me is that I say “yes” too much and consistently overcommit! My problem: I get excited about all of these projects that come my way and then I am totally drained halfway through leaving me no time to write (I’m a poet) or work on my writing business. After that, I get resentful and angry at myself for not jumping on the “no” train. Just this past weekend I was asked to do one more thing and I did just what Marie said, I told them I would think about it instead of jumping up and down and saying yes. About 20 minutes later, I came out of a “yes” fog and realized that it was something I didn’t want to do at all! I’m officially on the “No” train! ALL ABOARD!!!!!! Woo Woo!!!

Thank you, Marie!

Samantha

Reply

Llyane @FrenchOnSkype

Overcommitting?
Yes – all the time.
What I do about it: because a project usually takes longer than I think it would, I manage it daily and, if I have to back out of other commitments, I will know well in advance so that I don’t jeopardize either of the projects I’m working on. I learned long time ago that I work best under pressure, so keeping it tight is best for my productivity, that is why I always take new projects with the comment: “I will give my best shot. If there is a delay, you’ll know well in advance.”

White lies… the silliest – can’t remember. There was one time when it sounded that I used a white lie, but it was actually the truth. Going through one of my many, many…. many courses, I had to write a homework and my pup ate it. Remember back in the school days when that was one of the lies you’d think would save you and your mom said that you shouldn’t use it again? Well, in my case – it was the truth. And I felt like I should lie (who’d believe that??), but telling the truth gave the entire class (and the teacher) a good laugh :)

Love,
Llyane

Reply

Lynn Shuck

Many years ago, I had a client who really needed more than my services. I was there to help him with physical pain. He needed a lot of emotional and psychological support as well. With each growing demand, I felt less comfortable, but when I tried to tell him he needed other help for his other issues, he told me all his abandonment issues, how no one sticks by him, etc. (Yeah, I could see the manipulation even then.)
I asked a mentor whether I should be done with him or is this a lesson in learning to maintain my boundaries while continuing the work. My mentor asked me one simple question: Which one of those options is harder for me to do? Being done with him and feeling as though I let him down (even though I had already resolved the physical pain) was clearly the harder choice for me. To which my mentor responded, “There is your growth gift.”
Every time I have trouble deciding whether to agree/follow through or just say no, I ask myself what is the “growth gift” in this situation. This people pleaser is learning that saying no is hard to do, but SO healthy for me.

Reply

Barbara Louise

this is just too serendipitous for me, Marie. You must be reading minds OR, simply, I’m not alone in this world. thank you So, SO much!
signed, “tendency to overcommit + panic + melt down + still learning to balance it all – honestly.”

Reply

diana elizabeth - lifestyle + photography

I honor my commitments and live by the scripture, “Let your yes be yes, and your no, no.” It has made me keep commitments even when I know I shouldn’t have, and that’s an issue I’m working on. I am such an over committer that for a while I actually would get happy when people would cancel on me – how terrible is that?

Recently I had excitedly committed to a large project, the money was appealing. However, I realized it would take more time than I thought, I’d have to hire assistance, and the process to finally launch was much longer than I thought. A sponsored trip came up, and I would require hiring out help to get the project completed. While I had many reasons to bail on the project, the fact was, I needed to tell her truthfully why I couldn’t go forward. I was beating myself up over wasting so many people’s time over meetings, but realized if I didn’t tell the truth, I’d only be producing bad content and would waste even more time and continue to be stressed out on how I could possibly get it done. I decided that being completely honest and explaining my position was the best thing to do, and honesty is always well received. Thankfully they understood and no bridges were burned.

Fabulous advice Marie!!! Thanks for the reminder that we don’t have to jump to a ‘Yes’ answer right away.

Diana

Reply

Moonstone Mary

Had a similar situation when I was working part time, then unemployed. I was Treasurer of our HOA. Then I got a full time job and struggled for about 9 months. Finally at year end, I gracefully declined to continue in the post. Everyone was not only very understanding but expressed deep appreciation for the years I’d served as Treasurer. It was such a hard thing for me to do but seemed so simple and natural to others.

BTW Marie, loved the backout note – very well written.

Reply

julie

kids in my case are the very reason i CANNOT commit to much and when i do, sometimes i just have to flake out. i am a work-from-home mom with a 2 yr old. i send her to a sitter 2 days a week, but it’s still so hard to get it all done in those 2 days (or between tea time, snuggle time, meal time, etc…) SOON! both of my boos will be in school and i will be more like my old self. until then! i pull “the mom card” (but it isnt ACTUALLY a lie).

Reply

Dana Dwinell

I can totally relate to the “flop sweat”, heart pounding physical manifestations of being waaaaaaaaaaay over committed and the panic that results from FEAR of not being able to do your expected awesome, amazing job. But there are two issues- one the realization that the panic is FEAR of not looking good professionally, vs the FEAR of letting someone/something down. In another life, another career, when my eyes started going wild a co-worker would put his hands on my shoulders and look me in the eye and say “Nothin’ to it, but to do it”. Meaning, get over yourself and put one foot in front of the other, just one foot at a time. The OTHER instance, is being on the receiving end of someone de-committing to a project that I had asked them to run with. This person caught me totally off guard, put me and the organization (fund raiser) in jeopardy, and even though it has been nearly 20 years, I have not gotten over that this person let me down. SO do I want to be that person for someone else? I. DON’T. THINK. SO. If I found myself in the over-committed situation, I would just be honest and tell the person I was hired by that my situation has changed, and that I will continue to do the best that I can in this new scenario ( because I care and because I don’t want to put them in a bad situation) – just so they know… OR, they can CHOOSE to replace me. Their choice. Now not on me, its on them. I have given myself “permission” to be less than perfect, and let client know the real deal.

Reply

Osha Key

I personally feel very bad about backing out. This is something I can’t stand in other people, therefore I usually do anything it takes to fulfill the commitment I made.

But that’s exactly why I don’t commit to the things I don’t feel like doing.. And if my opinion changes, I’d struggle and procrastinate a bit, but would still complete the task in the end.. It earns people’s respect though, so it’s worth it!

Reply

Amber

This may sound funny, but I LOVE when someone tells me “no.” An honest “no” is a major trust builder in my book. When I have a friend or colleague that I know will say “no” when they need to, I have much more confidence in making the ask. I know that they respect themselves and me enough to let me know when something is or isn’t going to work out. And I don’t take it personally. I have learned through receiving some simple but beautiful “no’s” that honesty is a true gift, even when it seems like you might be letting someone down.

Reply

Kristin - Team Forleo

That’s a really amazing way of looking at it, Amber. I love it.

Reply

Diane

Thanks, Marie, for another great tip, especially the email template! So authentic and honest!

Fondly,
Diane
B-School 2014

Reply

Monique Chabot

Thank you for this video. Be honest with oneself is not always easy but it is always paying off. What I didn’t realize in the past was that saying white lies was the perfect way for guilt to built up, to decrease self-confidence and to sabotage my effort to create authentic relationships. What I suggest when we have the idea of telling a white lie is to ask our Self the following question before to act: WHAT DID I FEAR? The answer might surprise us but will help to become more aware of our needs. Accordingly to respect others by telling them the truth since everybody is deeply yearning for truth.

Reply

Lisa Avedon

I just said ‘NO!” recently.
After verbally accepting a project, there was a delay in my client sending me their spec outline. It was far beyond the scope that we had agreed upon. I’ve learned to trust my gut, and my gut was saying “NO!” to this project. I’ve learned that there are signs that difficult clients exhibit, and they were displaying quite a few. (Inconsistency, lack of communication, etc.)
I called them and focused the discussion purely on their scope of needs.
I said ‘no’ in a very professional manner, and we concluded the call on good terms.
Thanks for a great topic, Marie! So relevant!!
Lisa

Reply

Martha Louise Hunter

Go Lisa!!!!! That’s really great.

Reply

GL

Keeping it honest is always the best policy. I know this very well with all the many white lies I’ve told over my time on this earth.
A rude awaking to this was a time when I gave that random made up excuse to get out of a meeting with a client and then was caught at a restaurant with friends by this same client, that day. Boy was it embarrassing to see him after the wopper I told him. Lost the client instantly and felt less of myself after that. Ouch! What a fool I became, when all I had to do is tell the truth. I didn’t even like the guy, but the business could have made good money for me and my company. And it hurt my reputation quite a bit. How I felt about myself hurt even more.
Honesty what a great concept. Simple and yet the easiest of all to implement if we so chose. So why do we habitually go against this rule? Habit I guess?
I am more honest these days and find I don’t worry about the immediate discomfort and just explain my circumstances and find I commit to more important things and less the things of least worth. But I don’t forget that kindness to the feelings of others is necessary and understanding we can’t always please everyone. Honest up front and personal pays better in the short and long term.
Another great video well timed… On MarieTV. Thanks again each week.
GL

Reply

Bethany

When you’re on the other side of this situation and counting on someone’s commitment to your project, the last thing you want is for that person to not be honest with you and not be able to do their best work– which is why you asked them in the first place! I’d rather they bow out before getting into the middle of it and then have to quit! Honesty is always the best policy– it shows respect to other people as well as yourself! ;)

Reply

katie

so times I’m honest and real that I’ll just say, “I would, except that I don’t want to.”

Honestly is always always always best….by grandma always says a lie has no legs so it take additional lies to support it.

Reply

Ellen M. Gregg

“A lie has no legs so it takes additional lies to support it.” <- Your grandma is hugely insightful, and hugely right.

I know someone who could make a living as professional liars. Watching them "work" their unproclaimed career is like watching a juggler with one really big ball and a bunch of little balls. I don't know how he keeps track of all those balls.

Reply

Ellen M. Gregg

Also, clearly I need an editor:
*as a professional liar
*watching him work his

Reply

Kristin - Team Forleo

Your grandma is so wise, Katie!

Reply

Carrie :: Happy Fish Tarot

I am a huge fan of saying ‘no’ without making up a white lie. I used to tell white lies a lot. (“I forgot I already had other plans,” or “My mom is in town unexpectedly.”) I would always end up with guilt eating away at me. It’s true what they say: the truth will set you free. All aboard the NO train! :)

Reply

Jeannine

First, I need to know who is the designer of your dress – FAB!!!
Absolutely agree – and it goes both ways – I would so much rather have someone tell me ‘no’ than be flaky, evasive, etc

Reply

Elsa Isaac

Hi Jeannine!

Marie’s dress in this episode is by Clover Canyon.

xx,
Elsa

Reply

Ellen M. Gregg

Ohhh my goodness. I used to be the Yes Queen: The Queen of Yes. It took an intensive women’s seminar and the steel-magnolia style love of my dearest friends to break me of the habit before it broke me.

The silliest white lie I ever told: There were so many in order to maintain my position as the Princesses of I-Can-Do-It-All and I’ll-Never-Let-You-Down, but the silliest of them all had to be, “The weather forecaster said there might be a tornado.” It was the silliest because I live in New Hampshire, which rarely has tornados, and at the time, there wasn’t a blessed cloud in the summer sky. (And for the record, the rest of the day remained blessedly cloudless.) :-)

Reply

Liz

Can I use that one? Only, perhaps a tsunami might be more appropriate where I live. I don’t think we’ve ever had one, but maybe with climate change?

Reply

Shan Thomas

OMG!! It’s like you read my mind!! I have been working on this huge project and it’s a nightmare! They don’t know what they want, they don’t like anything I submit and…they have paid NOTHING with an open invoice of $3k! I thought this was a DREAM project but it’s turning out to be a lot of sleepless nights as I want to please my client!! I just emailed my publicist last night and asked for her help in drafting an appropriate “I QUIT” email! Thank you – as you just saved me some $$$ and a lot of headaches! :)

Reply

Kristin - Team Forleo

Oh Shan, I’m so sorry to hear about the situation you’re in, but SO glad this week’s MarieTV is going to help you get your sanity back!

Reply

Shan Thomas

Exactly!! She read my mind today :)

Reply

Bunni

Oh my!! Where do I get a ticket for the “No” train!!

Reply

Lien Davies

Hey Marie, thanks for this great video! I totally agree with you. With a busy work schedule and two young kids, I have no energy to deal with unnecessary stress so honesty is my best policy.

Reply

laramealor.com

Honesty is the only way! If they don’t understand and are upset with backing out, there is nothing you can do about it and at lest your were honest. But I do believe in not being a back out Queen!
http://www.laramealor.com/12-unconventional-ways-keep-family-healthy-vacation/

Reply

April

This was awesome funny! Thank you O ;)
I remember when I was working as a CMT at a spa in center city ,and said no to a client who did not have healthy boundaries, leaving the luxurious hotel by choosing to respect my morals and boundaries felt liberating and like I was doing the right thing, and the universe was beautiful and rewarded me for doing that , with beautiful friends and blessings!

It’s good to say yes to no sometimes ! Especially when it means honoring your boundaries, and being truthful and true to your morals..
Thank you!, that was great ! O:)

Reply

Melissa

Yes! Yes! Yes! As a recovering people pleaser this resonates with me so deeply. I recently realized that saying yes to everything led to me flaking out/ phoning in everything and did more harm than good.

Reply

Martha Louise Hunter

Trudat. I feel ya, GF

Reply

Elyse Sparkes

The timing on this episode could not have been more PERFECT. I needed to say No to something I already said Yes to today and was struggling with how to say it. Used this template and felt such a relief! (I’m still waiting to hear how they respond, but I feel 100% better knowing that I effectively communicated my position).

Thanks SO MUCH Marie!

xoxo elyse

Reply

Marie

This came to me at just the right time, thank you so much, Marie!

I worked for a man at an Italian Mediterranean restaurant just outside of Philadelphia for seven years, and we were super close, like brother and sister/father daughter/best friends kind of close. We had a mildly rocky parting about two and a half years ago when my life came to a really complicated stress point and I decided to pack up and move to NYC. His restaurant closed six months after I moved, and I did feel a bit guilty about it (even though I did as much as I could to prepare him and the staff for my departure). Our relationship was a little strained after that, but ultimately he understood my position and was supportive of my decisions.
I met with him and his family for brunch while I was in town over this past winter holiday and we discussed the possibility of opening another restaurant in a better location, but he was estimating a 2015/2016 start date- plenty of time for me to prepare, learn, decide, move. Two months later he called to tell me he had access to a wonderful restaurant at an amazing location and he wanted me in, which would require my moving back within the following 4-6 weeks and really jumping in to make this project a reality. This didn’t sit well with me, it was just too soon. I’m in a relatively new relationship with someone I truly admire, I had just applied to couple of different colleges (for the first time, at 25!), I had a safe and stable living environment, and a relatively good job here in the industry I would like to pursue (I work in a high end health club and would like to go into the field of dietetics).
Food and family has always been such a great passion in my life. Although the thought of going back, being closer to my family (I have a younger brother and sister there who I am absolutely in love with and homesick for all the time), and working side-by-side with some of my closest friends sounded thrilling; it just did not seem like the best move for my personal growth and development. The lack of information, the haphazard slapping together of plans, the resistance to answer some of my pressing questions, and the proof of his (lack of) evolution was just enough for me to back out of this. The thought of it consumed my every waking moment (which were many, as it tended to keep me up at night). I actually used a tool I learned here on MarieTV- when I was thinking about it and talking about it with my confidants, I felt the “closing in” feeling in my chest, not an expansion. I was able to set up a phone call with him and used my vocabulary as effectively as possible to gracefully decline. He was very understanding, and once again, very supportive of my decision. I wish him all of the best.

Weeks later we haven’t spoken and my cousin told me this morning that she bumped into him at Home Depot. The thoughts came up again that maybe I didn’t make the right decision, maybe I should go back and help him, be around for my siblings… I said a little subconscious prayer asking for validation of my decision while I was getting ready for work today, then checked the time on my phone– it was 2:22 (this may be more Gabby B. material, but it’s all connected). I took a little photo and then unlocked my phone, to see the email from MarieTV about how to back out gracefully. Validation received! Thank you so much!

Reply

Felicia Wiggins

LMFAO!!!! @ No…Net…ohhh nooo…HEEELLLL NOOO!

Reply

Liz

I love the ‘radical’ notion of honesty. I agree – it’s hard to go wrong if you tell the truth.
However, I’ve found that people won’t always accept your truth because they have their own overriding agenda.
‘No, thanks, I’d rather not come out with the group on the weekend.’ [= I'm not saying I don't like you all, I just want some alone time.]
‘Oh, come on, it’ll be great.’ [= you're rejecting us, that's not kind]
‘Yes, I’m sure it will, but I have things I want to do by myself on Saturday.’ [=I'm not saying I don't like you all, I just want some alone time.]
‘You have to come. We need you to come. We arranged it specially for you.’ [= You're being selfish and self-centred. Our group needs are more important than your individual needs.]

And so on, until the only way to get them off your back is to say yes, then suddenly get the ‘illness’ or a last-minute work crisis that they’ll accept.

How do others cope with this kind of externally imposed commitment?

Reply

Martha Louise Hunter

Oh man – I LOVE that!! Kudos to you !!!

Reply

Martha Louise Hunter

Okay that was really stupid. That was my response to the guy Fred’s comment below you … Didn’t hit post I guess. Here’s what I meant to say: your friends give me anxiety. Just ignore their comments – just blow these people off because their needy girlfriend schtick isn’t about you, it’s about them. Do what’s right for you & take the No Train on the guilt trip

Reply

Suzanne

Oh, Liz. I used to get cornered like this, and said “yes” more times than I like to admit, for exactly the same reason (The Go Along to Get Along Syndrome, I call it). But I finally just got tired of being manipulated and bullied, having my life wasted and being cajoled into doing things I did not want to do because of someone else’s agenda. So when I said “no” & one of these people started the usual wheedling/manipulating, I just said, bluntly, “Excuse me, but I’m really feeling manipulated/bullied here. I’m sorry, but I’m not [doing whatever it is] and I would really appreciate your respecting my decision.”

Associated with this manipulative behaviour, of course, is the “why” ploy: they start quizzing you on the specifics of why you’re saying no. If you make the mistake (and we all do at times) of trying to be polite and explain your decision, they’ll start arguing with you, taking each of your reasons and attempting to discount or dismiss it. So I don’t get sucked into THAT swamp any more, either. I now just say: “I’m sorry, my decision is final. This is just something I have to say ‘no’ to.” Remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Refusing to be bullied or manipulated into doing something you don’t want to do doesn’t make you selfish, rude or a bad person. It makes you someone who has healthy boundaries & who respects herself & her time, and expects others to do so as well.

Reply

Liz

Yes! The ‘why’ ploy!
Years ago I sold time-share for a living (my only experience with direct sales) and we were always told that we should find out what the customers’ barriers to purchase were, and talk them out of them. If they just said ‘No’, there was nothing to work with, but if they said, ”I can’t afford it’, that gave us a perfect excuse to sign them up for a payment plan. If they said, ‘I prefer camping holidays’, it enabled us to explain the superiority of our resorts over silly little tents with gas stoves.
But actually, I prefer holidays under canvas, so I got out of timeshare sales (though I was not bad at it).
Now I need to practise what I know to be the right thing to do – ‘Never complain, never explain.’
You’re so right – it’s about respect for myself.
Thanks : )

Reply

Emily Boese

Thank you so much for this episode- this is very timely for me!
I have just begun working for myself as a full-time naturopath in New Zealand. I have been working hard and doing well, but have realized that the amount of days that I’m spending in clinic is too many- I am worn out and feeling too isolated working by myself all the time.
An amazing opportunity has come up to work with my favourite natural medicine company, and though I wanted to apply for the job, I felt like I would be letting down my co-worker who opened the clinic that I work in, and who I sometimes do a bit of practice management work for.
Anyways, I convinced myself to just suck it up and discuss it with her- and I was totally honest. She was so supportive that it was really a great message for me to hear- just because I commit to something doesn’t mean I (and those around me) can’t be flexible.
Things change, and that’s ok. Killing yourself doing something that isn’t working and isn’t feeling right- just because you said you would- is not the way to live.
I still need practice learning how not to over-commit, but each experience gives me the opportunity to figure out what my boundaries are.
Thanks so much for all the advice and insight. Marie TV and the newsletters have helped me hugely through these past 6 months in my first business venture!
Cheers,
Emily

Reply

Fred Connors

A few years ago I was asked to speak at a local Chamber of Commerce event and I agreed. On the day of the event I was not feeling well and decided to cancel. Before making the call I felt I committed so I should follow through, even though I would not be at my best. I arrived, expecting to be one of many entrepreneur speakers only to realize I was the Keynote speaker at the Annual Business Awards dinner. Had I not followed through it would have been a huge problem for the organizers and a dent in my reputation. It was not made clear to me my role so that was also a problem. I turned a 5 minute presentation into a 45 minute keynote to my local business community, sharing stories of my failures and struggles, triumphs and accomplishments, childhood lessons and everything I learned along the way. It was one of the best presentations I had ever delivered even though I was on at the beginning on my game. I was by the time I was done and so happy I did not bail out at the last minute.

Reply

Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit

I totally needed to hear this today.

3 1/2 years ago, I started my blog. 2 years ago, I quit my full-time job to work on the blog exclusively. About 6 months ago, I developed this insatiable hunger for doing everything BUT my blog. I’ve spent days developing plans for handmade card businesses, live workshop series, cookie delivery businesses, food trucks… I even signed up for yoga teacher training. A little soul searching has told me that this hunger for doing everything but focusing on my blog was coming from a place of fear – fear that I don’t have what it takes to totally rock my online biz (which I know is total BS!)

Keeping my fear in mind, I knew that I needed to back out of a lot of the commitments I’d made with other people and get back to focusing on my core business… but I wasn’t sure what “story” I was going to pull together to make it happen. Thank you SO much for this video today. I watched it in the morning, then spent an hour calling and writing to all the peeps that were waiting on me to get moving with the various commitments. I was honest with them – told them that my business needed me and that I couldn’t apply myself to what we had planned. It felt good to be upfront and even better knowing that I’m giving myself permission to apply my awesome self 100% to my business and get crackin’!

Reply

Lina

This sounds familiar…not to practice saying ‘no’ at work ,no sweat lol!

Reply

Martha Louise Hunter

I guess I tell LWL’s sometimes … It’s normal I guess but it makes me feel SO guilty — like the person knows I’m lying beforw it even comes outta my mouth. Years ago I was in a big, important volunteer organization. I had been the head writer on their magazine for 2 years & when they asked me to be the editor like they were doing me a favor & that being offered the job was a huge honor , that’s when I said to myself … Sorry but I’ve got my own demanding biz & two small kids $ you people want me to do this for FREE??? Know what I mean? I dropped out of the organization & spent more time with my kids

Reply

Elizabeth

Boy…can I relate!
I’m in the middle of trying to figure out this exact thing with my current job. It started out part time but has taken over a whole lot more of my time and 20hrs/wk is now more like 32-40hrs/wk. Worse than wondering if I can or cannot quit is coming to terms with how great the team is and wondering if my inadequacy is actually holding everyone else back. I do what I can but there never seems to be enough time to do it all or do it right.

Reply

Elizabeth

Meanwhile the projects I really want to work on are sitting on the back burner and every time I think about them I feel the resentment rise.

Reply

Suzanne

BTW, I love to see the term “bandwidth” just disappear from everyone’s vocabulary unless you work for a cable company. It might have been nominally amusing the first time I saw it out of its natural (technical) habitat. Now? It’s just another over-used cute-ism that is LONG past its best-by date.

Reply

Jocelyn

I can’t believe it! This is the answer to my situation right now. I am definitely buying the ticket to NO train… no matter how much it will cost. My freedom and sanity is more important than ever. Thanks Marie for keeping me posted. Thank you all.

Reply

Diana

Great video Marie!

One specific tip that has helped me deal with overcommitting is to ask, “If I was 80 years old and looked back at my life, would I be super excited to share this event/offer/invitation with my family because it added value and color to my life or not? If my energy dips, even if the offer is juicy, I say NO!”

PS: And if anyone on here has to have an uncomfortable conversation with someone, I have a free resource: 4-steps on exactly what to say (another script you can customize to your particular situation).

Snag it here: http://dianadorell.com/the-4-step-process-to-having-an-uncomfortable-but-necessary-conversation-with-anyone/

Reply

Judi

The NO train! I love it and totally agree. Saying NO! has become a major productivity hack of mine. Also, over-committment is so dangerous b/c it can totally hurt your personal brand / reputation. So my rule of thumb is always (and inspired by YOU!) … if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell NO!

XO
Holla!

Reply

Jennifer Blanchard

I am the Queen of Overcommitment. I always have a million balls in the air and am constantly getting burned out or falling into “getting nothing done” syndrome because I have too much in my plate. What’s helped me to start overcoming this hurdle are the following things:

1) The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte–this book changed my life in so many ways I can’t even begin to describe it all. But where it’s helped me most is with my problem of taking on too much. This year I committed myself to the Desire Map process and that means only having three big projects/intentions for the year and letting everything else go. It’s been tough but I’ve been a lot happier and more focused because of it.

2) Focusing on My Core Desired Feelings–another things Danielle talks about in the Desire Map are Core Desired Feelings. Mine are: Grateful, Badass and Magical. I am using these three feelings as guiding posts for my life now. I try to ask myself before I make every choice–will this choice make me feel Grateful, Badass or Magical. It has to make me feel at least one of those things (though feeling two or more is a clear winner for me). If it does I will do it and if it doesn’t I say no and pass. It’s not a perfect system and I don’t always follow it. But when I am following it I find I am the most joyful that way.

3) Only Taking On Projects I Love–I used to take on projects in the past for money or status, and that is what has always caused me it have it either back out or do a half-assed job. Now I try to only do projects that I love or that bring some aspect of what I love to my life. Again, not a perfect system but I have been doing a lot more work I love this year, and I’m so grateful for it.

When I have had to back out of a project, my process has been to speak from my heart and to focus on my “why.”

Last August, for example, I met a client who wanted to hire me as their full time marketing person. It was a startup company so they couldn’t pay me at first and wanted to barter til they could, and I saw potential for me to make a lot of money in the future with them. So I said yes and signed on, even though I knew in my heart I had no interest in spending the next year of my life doing marketing work for their company. I ended up making no money, and the barter we made was killing me because it was a lopsided agreement, and I was doing most of the work. Then in October, everything in my life changed. My business mentor was murdered and it shook me to the core. Suddenly nothing I was doing mattered anymore, except the stuff my heart wanted to be doing.

I ended up backing out of the remainder of the barter. I had held up more than my end, and was finally willing to admit that my heart wasn’t in marketing. It was by far the hardest email I’ve had to write. And especially because I have so much respect for the company and people I was working with. I just spoke from my heart and let them know that in August when I committed to the barter my life was in a different place and now things had totally shifted. I spoke about my “why” in life and for my business and explained what I am meant to do in this world. They weren’t happy about me quitting them, but they understood and we still have a good working relationship today.

Reply

Katie

LOVED this Marie. Pause and don’t be afraid to say no. However I just said YES to a talk, next month, because I listened to ‘start before you feel ready’ – You got to know the difference between what you should do and what you should not do. Love, Katie

Reply

Louise - Team Forleo

Katie – This is a great distinction, you really do have to listen to your inner knowing to tell the difference. There’s a great MarieTV from our first season where Marie talks about the difference between fear and intuition. While it’s slightly different, the exercise about exploring if it makes you feel expanded or contracted is an AMAZING tool that would work here as well!
http://www.marieforleo.com/2011/08/fear-intuition-difference/

Reply

Corina Vanana Valcan

Thank you Marie, you are realy loved and if I would be there it might be nice to cooperate with you. Who knows, the future doesn`t mean much.

Reply

Tatiana Escalada

Love it! Honesty is the best policy and it makes you feels much better, plus please can read those fake excuses from miles away :-)

Reply

Kristy Rackham

OH This happened to me a month ago. I was super excited to be asked to do some PR to launch an Ayurvedic Spa and the opportunity was amazing. A few weeks in, after slogging my guts out doing long hours, looking after my other clients, my kids, running the family, doing a few nursing shifts, I got news that my son has a rare genetic disease. I had to stop everything to look after him.

To ease out of my commitments in the best possible way I gave my client every possible tool I could think of so that he could continue with the spa without me. I was honest, sincere, helpful, gave him all my templates, my media list, some press releases to go on with. I slugged it out for an extra week which was incredibly stressful and taxing on my health, preparing things for him so he would be inconvenienced as little as possible.

Even with all this, being as professional as possible without sacrificing my family, he is now blaming me for his business failing and refuses to pay my previous invoices for work I did months ago. After I left, he made choices that had nothing to do with me. I gave him everything he needed to keep going but he chose to play victim.

What I learned is that sometimes you have to just do your best, walk away knowing you tried your hardest and stuck it out with integrity as long as possible. At the end of the day, what happens after that is not your problem… All we can do is our best and act within our integrity.

Reply

Anita Albert-Watson

Awesome as usual, Marie! One additional thing I would suggest to Kelly is offering an alternative so that the job could be completed on time, with the same great results. That way, she is not leaving the client in a lurch but offering a solution, while bowing out! Something like, “I’m sorry I’m unable to do this, but I know someone who is available and would do a stellar job! You can reach her at…..”

If we have over-committed to something and need to renege, the least we can do is offer a comparable solution! That way it’s a win-win and no bridges are burned :)

Reply

Mary Lu

Oh Marie, this post couldn’t have been more TIMELY!!! Earlier this week I resigned from a position I have only held two months. I was having major guilt over not being able to give them a two week notice. I worked 24 years in my previous job! My new job that I begin on Wednesday is one where I can grow, will be better for my family…but your blog really helped me realize that I don’t bail out on commitments, and I was honest about why I could only give a week’s notice.

Thank you, thank you for your video blogs. Not only are they insightful but they are entertaining. Really enjoy them! Keep up the dancing over the pond!

Reply

Anne Roos

The solution is not about knowing when to back out of commitments. The solution is to know when to avoid making a commitment in the first place. It’s all about listening to your gut feelings.

I am a gigging musician, and my mantra is, “Never take a job you think you’ll regret.” If something just nags at me about a gig, I’ve learned to pass on it. The oddest thing is that I later learn that I dodged a bullet in some way. Our intuition is so very keen about these things.

Getting real about my intuition is how I avoid needing to bail out of commitments I make. I’m learning not to make those commitments in the first place :-)

Reply

Sandra Pawula

I so agree with this sentiment: “Honesty is the best solution for cleaning up a sticky situation.” I used to work like crazy to keep any commitment I made. But, that just burned me out because I over-committed.

Now, I see that most people are quite flexible and open if you approach them from a place of authenticity. That doesn’t mean you need to be overly-confessional, but it pays to be honest from a place of integrity. This has also taught me to think it all through more clearly before I leap.

Reply

Franka Baly

Hilarious episode! Can totally relate. Definitely got on the No train to cure myself of overcommitting.

Reply

Jennifer Valley

I’m on the no train. I always ask as many details possible as I can before I agree to start a project. It helps you gauge if you’re ready for the project. If it doesn’t fit into my schedule I simply decline politely stating it doesn’t fit in with other commitments I’ve made and extend an invitation to help in the future.

Reply

sheri Forell

!No Train! I use to tell my sales reps they needed to take my “No training seminar” because sales people have the hardness time saying no. I guess it is because they think it is the worst word for them to hear when really, a no helps you not waste time with a non client and move on to getting the yes client.

and when a sales rep over commits it doesn’t just affect them but their staff.

Reply

Wanda

It my bridge position I was taught early to calculate how much you’re worth an hour. And then when you know how much you’re worth an hour helps to assist you with what is a best use of your time! In the personal side of things I was always the “go to girl” out of my generous nature. However, having kids has assisted me to be able to let others know mindfully upfront what I can and can not do. The one’s who are there for you purely, get it and will understand and the others who are just in it for themselves well assist you to do a friend cleanse! But the guilt thing is the part I’m still working on personally! :-)

Reply

Rachel

Great script and advice. Thanks for sharing and helping so many out.

Have had to recently back out of something due to the property management and owners nickle and diming us and trying to pinch every resource they can from us while being demanding about the work. They expected my friend to move into a trailer to manage the property, but wouldn’t paint over a kitchen that was once roach infested. ewww. They expected her to move into it like that and paint it herself. They have not held up their end of the bargain. In those situations one is tempted to tell them THE truth: “Your business ethics are bad, your treatment of others is just as bad, and we’re not going forward with this due to your actions thus far.” BUT, can’t really tell someone that. So my friend told them that her mother has recently became sicker, which is true, and she needs to stay home with her to help her out. She may not need to stay home, but she may need too. So it’s true and better to stay home, just in case. She apologized for any inconvenience and let them know if they needed any more help they would have to pay her an hourly fee since she would not be benefiting from a rent free spot. My husband and I told her that we couldn’t work for them anymore because that would bump him into a tax bracket that would cost us to much, which is also true. So sometimes there are other ways to get out of a situation through using true excuses because the real one would just cause a fight.

Reply

Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady

I’ve had to back out of a few commitments – but usually those were ones where the inviters were NOT clear on what the commitment required. They’d ask me to get involved in a project, etc. – the next thing I know, it turns into some major time suck.

Since then, I’ve had to learn to ASK for outright clarity on what the “offer” or “partnership” required. Once I know what is expected, I can then make a conscious decision.

Reply

hans

Hi Marie,

Yes it’s so dumb but very effective on the other hand.
Sometimes people are like toddlers who need to be taught in a dumb way before there grey cells get it. Well done Marie, keep it up!
Greetings, Hans

Reply

Lacey

Oh my gosh!! Your timing is IMPECCABLE!

I’m literally writing an email to one of our wholesale accounts right now to renegotiate our agreement. What we’ve agreed to is no longer working for my biz and I’m feeling taken advantage of.

Thank you soo much for this! Your template is exactly what I needed today of all days :)

Reply

Stewart Kelly

Thanks for taking on how to deal with an awkward situation with so much humor Marie.
Yes, honesty really is the best policy. Not only is your conscience clear, you won’t be burdened with having to remember what you said if you did lie.
Loved the tip about taking time to really consider what the time and resource demands will be before committing to a project.

Reply

Naomi Catalina

This video was really helpful for me today. I ended up just getting through my committed task as I listened. Good idea for a topic!

Reply

Suzanne Reilley

I’ve gotten pretty skilled in saying no (and continue the hone the practice). My favorite go-to saying is “Thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass.” But it’s getting a little overused! Anyone have thoughts on new phrases to use in business and in my personal life?

Also Marie, when you say “let me think about it and I’ll get back to you in a few days,” what do you say to the person after a few days has passed? I personally prefer to have a clear break and have the task off my plate.

Reply

Reno

I can totally relate to this!

I’ve recently had to get focused, honour my truth, and make a lot of changes in my life in order to make the dream work. It was extremely uncomfortable, but it needed to happen, and that meant getting authentic and vulnerable about what I was experiencing and how it was going to effect those I had committed to. This shift included letting go of a project that was 7 months in the making, and getting real about making room for the things I really wanted and needed in life. What I learned is that when I came from an honest place, my truth was well-received, and if it wasn’t, I still felt better inside knowing that I was honest.

Reply

claudia

No NO and NO FROM PARIS

Reply

Christine

I totally agree that honesty is the best solution. I hate when people lie. I would rather hear the truth, whatever it it than a lie. Sooner or later you will find out that it was a lie anyway and you will stop trusting that person. Honesty is my policy and I really appreciate when people are honest with me.

Reply

Ali

Oh yes, I have dealt with this quite a bit! I feel like I am over-committing myself all too often, and have only recently really hopped on the “No” train. I am in the early phase of starting my business (I’m a 2014 B-School grad, woohoo!) so I have the urge to say yes to everything that is coming my way right now, since I’m starting to generate a lot of attention. Practicing saying no has been really helpful lately so that I have enough time for me still!

I do my best to follow my intuition, and usually I’m pretty spot on in reading that the opportunity isn’t really worth my time or the person wanting to collaborate in some way isn’t the right fit for working with.

Thanks for another great video, Marie! xo

Reply

Maria Lorena Della Togna

Marie, I love what you do and all the energy that you give us. I follow you for a while and have helped me to move on with my new project.

Thanks for reminding me to say no, sometimes I forget. Definitely I have to do firts the priorities things in my life and stop filling me with things that blur me.

Hugs,
Maria Lorena

Reply

Hayley

I don’t over commit. But, did agree to do some work for someone who is very accomplished, well-known and well-connected…but, incredibly rude and abusive and unappreciative.

Everything I tried with them – they would attack and question. I did not slack on my job and I knew my stuff. But, they were still belligerent and rude even though, I had done 2 very successful projects for them before that required A LOT of work and liaising…and, tried to respond with understanding and even apologizing when I had done nothing wrong.

How do you be honest when the reason is: “You’re just so rude and abusive that I don’t want to work for you anymore.” ???

thanks for your help!

Reply

Brooke

Love this Marie! Thank you
I used to always overcommit myself as I felt I was letting the other person down if I said no. However, I would then pull out at a later date, leaving them stranded, or I’d follow through on my commitment, but only do a sub-standard job.
Now my standard response is “Let me think it over and I’ll confirm with you by (a certain date)”
I also keep in mind your quote “If it isn’t a hell yes, it’s a no” and between these two, I find when I make a commitment, it’s to something I actually want to do.

Reply

Jennifer

Thanks so much Marie. So helpful, and so true! Recently had to back out of a committment for church altar service! I felt put on the spot and committed without thinking about it. Then realized that the day to serve conflicted with a course I am taking for which I received a scholarship. No, I do not do this as a habit. Most of the time, I will just fulfill it even if it is at great cost. But it didn’t make sense the more I thought about it, so I made the phone call, and still have an email to send to the person who asked :O. It was helpful to hear your perspective on how to gracefully this. So appreciate your work and tips on creating a business and love to love.

Reply

Jessy

Dumbest white lie I ever told to get out of something: my grandpa’s health is failing (he lived another 12 years).

I did it to get out of going to the prom because the truth was I couldn’t afford/find a dress. Also, I was freaking out because I didn’t really know the guy and he was “older,” and I just plain didn’t feel comfortable getting in a car with him and spending a whole evening with him.

Reply

Irine

Hello thank you the video! It sort of gives me an idea on how to approach my situation now. The comments i have read here are really encouraging too, however the reason why i am writing this comment is because my situation is a little bit different.

I’m in this association and we have to organize these events from time to time. The problem is not being over burdened with the work load but i recently found out that certain things might have clashed with my beliefs and morals and i don’t feel comfortable with that. Actually to be honest, i kind of already knew that it will clash with my beliefs but at that point of time, i was okay with it because i wanted to see how it goes and i really did have a passion for it. However, i regret it now but i have been with this association for about 5 months now and our next event is in 6 months so we’re halfway through the preparation of the event. Everyone knows me now and they have high expectations of me and they all have really help me alot but im so stressed thinking about this.

Earlier, i tried backing out but my close friend convinced me to stay on. I don’t really know how to be firm sometimes and i’m quite swingy with my decision.

Can anyone give me advice on what i should really do? Should I really just call it quits now? (Im so scared they might hate me plus we see each other around alot and im reaaaaally awk) or should i suck it up for another 6 more months and then call it quits?

sry for the extremely long post….

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: