How to Know When to Say Yes or No (a 2-Step Process)

by Robin Sacks

· Decision Making,Clarity,Stress Less,Success Habits,Choices Matter
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In personal and professional development, people including myself are always talking about applying what you've learned. When you learn something new, and you don't do something with that knowledge, that knowledge isn't going to help you in any meaningful way.

But that doesn't mean that you have to apply everything you learn. As a matter of fact, developing your "do nothing with that information" filter plays an important role in your life.

The key is deciding what to apply and what to walk away from; what to say yes to and what to say no to.

Your first thoughts might be, "Well how do I know which is which? How do I know when to say yes and when to say no?"

If you start with those questions, it may seem confusing. However, if you stop for a moment and run it through a two-step process, the answer gets clear quickly.

Step 1 - Give Yourself Permission To Say No, That's Not Part Of My Puzzle, And Be Okay With It.

We tend to feel we should be saying 'yes' way more often than we really should. Give yourself permission to say 'no' more.

Pay attention to what feels right and what doesn't; what works for you or your personality type and what doesn't; what you are actually going to do and what you're not.

Sometimes we feel a bit pressured because something works for other people and we think we should do it, too. In other words, why wouldn't we say yes? If you learn something and immediately know that that's not for you or that you're definitely not going to do that because it's not a fit, it's okay to take that off the table. It's okay to say no.

This is about being honest with yourself. The reason something worked for someone else is because they DID it. If you're being honest with yourself, you already know whether or not you're going to put in the time and effort to do it, too. Stop kidding yourself. If you're going to do it, then do it. If not, stop talking about doing it and move on to something you will do.

Being honest with yourself will save you a lot of time and wasted energy.

People who are honest with themselves know what to say yes to and what to say no to. They know what fits and what doesn't. They know what will work for them and what won't. They know that something might work, but also know their personality enough to know that they will never sustain or be consistent with it. That's when it's okay to look for another avenue.

Step 2 - Take Advice From Your Future Self

Take out a piece of paper and a pen and write a description of you five years from now. What are you doing, thinking, wearing? What are you confident about? What do you say yes to and what do you say no to? What do you do really well? What do you enjoy doing? What do you not like doing (even if you do it really well)? How do you answer questions? How often do you ask questions to gain knowledge? What do you know then that you don't know yet?

While step one is about knowing who you are now, step two is about knowing who you want to be. Those two individuals do things differently!

The more familiar you get with your future self, the easier it is to make decisions as that person. When you get clear on your future self, your actions and decisions instantly become more confident, because you're not wondering what the current you is going to do or say. Instead, you ask yourself, "What does future me do now?"

Make decisions and choices that your future you will thank you for. Every single day, consult with 'future you' as a coach or mentor as you go through your daily choices and decisions. It's like having an advisor in your pocket at all times who can filter your current decisions through a future lens, always asking, "Will this get me where I'm going or not?" Those answers make it easier to say yes or no in the moment.

If you want to make daily decision making more simple, the easiest way to do that is to get clarity. Once you throw all the minutia off the table, what is left are just the facts. Once you have just the facts, it's hard to muddy the waters, and decision making becomes easier.

Use this 2-step process for all of your decisions today, and see how mixing clarity and honesty will save you a lot of time and will keep you moving forward with confidence.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.


Robin Sacks

Professionally, I'm a Confidence Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author.

Personally, I'm a mom, wife, and friend.

I live for bad puns and cozy mysteries.

Learn a lot more at

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