How Learning To Say "No" Can Boost Performance - by Kate Allgood

We have all been there. When we would rather not do something, but we feel the need to please the person asking, and before we know it the words, "I am happy to help" are coming out of our mouths. However, the truth is that sometimes we really don’t have time to do it or could spend our time doing more productive things. 

This is not to say we don’t ever say yes and always say no, but too often people are putting too much on their plate and it is taking away from their own goals, dreams, business or aspirations all because they want to please others or are worried about what others might think if they do say no. 

One of the reasons being able to say no is so important is because it greatly impacts our confidence, trust and belief. Saying no is about boundaries. It is about knowing your boundaries, keeping to them and respecting yourself to stand by yourself even when you feel uncomfortable doing so. This is very empowering, and greatly aids in developing our self trust, which in turn impacts our confidence and belief in ourself. 

The funny thing is that when you stick to your boundaries, other people begin to respect you as well, and understand your boundaries and are not as bothered by you saying no as you think they might be. You might be thinking how boundaries and saying no is important for performance. Well, performance and the ability to be successful, in any arena, requires a great depth of focus, time, energy, and a bit of selfishness. If you are giving your energy and time to others that are distracting you from what you need to do, you are sabotaging yourself and your success. 

It is important to give to ourselves, so that we may later be able to give to others, but first you must do what you need to do, and with time figure out a way to be able to say yes every once in a while. 

I know all too well the uncomfortable feeling that comes along with saying no. It is not pleasant and can sometimes scare me into saying yes, although I know it will add too much to my plate or I won't be able to give what I would like. However, the bottom line is that we can’t create more energy or time. Sometimes that means saying no to give myself down time; time to recuperate and relax. 

When I was going through my double Masters program there were a number of times I had to say no to going out with friends on a Saturday night because I knew it would be a late night and would impact my Sunday, which is a day I needed for school and doing my work. I remained focused and once I was done with school I was able to say yes and have some fun with my friends. 

Figure out what you want, what you need to get it and how much you can handle on your plate at one time. Then go out and create a schedule that works. If that means saying "no" to things that are not on your schedule, then do it. Your dreams and goals are worth it and your friends will understand.  

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Kate Allgood - Sports Performance Psychologist

Kate Allgood, founder of Quantum Performance, is a sports psychology coach and the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Get Into the Zone: The Essential Guide to High Performance Through Mental Training. She has a BS in psychology from Brock University and a dual masters in general and sport psychology, with a concentration in family psychology, from Capella University. Allgood has been excelling at hockey since she was 6-years-old, was pegged as a potential candidate for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and was even recognized as one of the best female athletes in Canada where she was born. Kateʼs approach as a sports psychology coach comes from a combination of her experience as an elite athlete and different techniques that utilize her certifications in Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), TAIS Testing, and sports hypnosis. Allgoodʼs passion is helping athletesenhance their mental skills and focus to achieve peak performances. Clients have included professional, semi-professional, high school, collegiate athletes, fitness enthusiasts, as well as Navy Seals.