Say NO and Mean It!

Reading an article yesterday I felt compelled to write on the subject of saying no. No is a simple two letter word. There is nothing complex in it’s pronunciation or interpretation. No is the opposite of yes. No is a full sentence and does not need clarification or justification. No means simply no.

So why do some of us have difficulty saying no and meaning it? Whether it’s saying no to the PTA or your kids or your boss at work who seems to have singled you out for extra work and unpaid hours. When you say no it should mean no and not ‘well I might be able to’ or ‘you know that I really don’t want to’ or even ‘I hate letting people down and they will probably not like me if I say no’.

People soon get used to the ‘weak’ no and consequently will try and force your hand based on past experience however isn’t it time you stood up for yourself, for what you want and for what you mean? Yes it is!

If you have problems saying no to people then try this simple exercise below and soon you will be saying NO in an assertive way that everyone will understand and no-one will doubt!

1. Think about a couple of past situations where you wanted to say no to someone but failed. You may have started with no but ended up with ‘okay if you want’ (what about what you want?!!)
2. Go through these scenes in your mind and find the point where your ‘no’ became a ‘yes’. Notice how you felt, what you said, what the other person said etc.
3. Now go through these situations again but this time change the end result to a positive outcome. When you get to the point where you gave in before, see yourself now saying no and meaning it. As you visualize yourself doing this notice your body posture, the tone of your voice etc and how much more assertive you look and sound. Go through this a couple of times and notice everything that is different about this new you that says no and means it!
(a few suggestions here would be seeing yourself standing tall, relaxed, possibly smiling (though not manically) whilst saying something like ‘Thanks for the opportunity but I really can’t right now, so I am going to have to say no’. And LEAVE IT AT THAT! No does not need to be justified it simply means no, however you can be polite about it which is more likely to appease the other person. Say no with a smile (creates a feeling of warmth) and simply say ‘No thank you, I am fine/I really haven’t the time right now/it’s really not something I enjoy/I do not accept what you say’ etc. When you have said no simply see yourself walking away or changing the subject.)
4. Next write down all the ways that you can say ‘no’ nicely, firmly and mean it. Read them through and practice saying them with conviction. This does not mean shouting or raising the tone of your voice, if anything lower the tone of your voice just slightly as this sends out a clear message to others that you mean what you say! (I use this technique in class with students and it’s far more effective than shouting which merely lets others know you have lost control).
5. Now practice saying no to people who take advantage of you, in front of a mirror preferably. See yourself looking calm and in control, maintaining eye contact (vital!) and smiling before saying no. And then practice defending that no – ‘As I have just mentioned I do not have the time……but thank you again for asking’. etc! Make sure the outcome is the one you want!

When you run through this exercise you will notice you begin to feel more confident about your ability to say no and mean it! If you have a situation that you know requires a no then practice saying no before hand and remember always picture a POSITIVE outcome i.e. the one you want!

Everyone has the right to say no and some say it more or less everyday whilst others fear the consequences of their no. Sometimes it is appropriate to say no – if it’s to the attention seeking child to the annoying friend or to the guy down the road who keeps you chatting for too long about his health problems!

From today make a commitment to say no and stick to it! Say no and mean it!

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Confident Children And Imagination

My son was a very anxious boy this morning. He is playing in the school team this evening in a deciding match for the league title and he is scared!

As a mum it’s all to easy to say ‘don’t be ridiculous, you’re a great player’ and leave it at that, but if your child is really worried about something or lacking confidence then surely there is a better way to help them that just offering reassurance?

Well thankfully there is! Confidence is based on perception i.e. your child’s own idea of whether they feel they can do something well or not and like us all, confidence can be diminished through ‘bad’ experiences. And when I say ‘bad’ the experiences themselves may not necessarily be bad but the meanings we take from them may be.

So your son is anxious about a match or your daughter feels scared about doing her Show and Tell – how can you help them?

Two ways really and both very simple and incredibly powerful.

The first one is to get them to ‘rehearse’ what they are going to do in their mind and talk them through it with as much positivity as possible. Make them feel incredible and make sure that every detail is positive and that the outcome is a success.

Not only will this boost their confidence as you are doing the exercise but it also programs their mind to do what they have been ‘rehearsing’ too! So when they stand up in front of the class or get in front of that goal, their mind goes ‘ah right, I know what I need to know now’ and more often than not, they will get the results the practiced.

However be realistic. Don’ set them up for failure! You son will probably not score 10 goals even if he is up front and not in defence! The idea is to get them to focus on the skills needed to get the results they want and to program their minds for success and remember what the mind can see you will achieve – so if your child focuses on failure (which is probable if they are worried) they are more likely to fail. So get them to always focus on what they want from this moment on (and you too!)

To help them feel more positive towards doing this and the following exercise, mention how all the top sports personalities carry out this exercise and how it improves their game/race etc.

Another great way of boosting your kids confidence (which can be incorporated with the exercise above too) is know as the confidence switch. This is quite simply setting up a physical anchor which when ‘fired’ produces feelings of well being and confidence in your child. 

So how do you literally turn on a confidence switch? Well the first thing you need to do is decide what the switch will be (a good place is a knuckle on one hand, the back of the hand or even their nose) and ensure you keep this ‘switch’ and that the pressure used is the same too i.e. press the same place all the time and with enough pressure to register the touch but not too much that it’s obvious. Also once this is set up the switch needs to be something that you child themselves can access themselves if and when they need it. So discretion might be key.

Once you have decided where the ‘switch’ will be then you need to set it. So get your child to remember a time when they felt really great, perhaps when they scored a goal previously or when they were doing something they loved doing such as dancing, singing or simply a time when they felt really great – perhaps playing with friends or on the rollercoaster! 

Get them to close their eyes if they want to (it’s ok if they don’t want to) and get them (with a little help from you) to talk through the positive experience as if they were actually reliving it again. Ask them what they see, what they hear and ask them to really focus on how great they were feeling and as you know yourself, when you focus on happy memories those old feelings flood back don’t they? 

So when you see that your child has associated into those feel good feelings (it will be very obvious with a child when they are!) simply touch their ‘switch’ for roughly 10 seconds. Then stop.

Get them to go through the memory again maybe this time bring in more details or try another memory. Again get your child to really focus on all that they remember and when you see them accessing those happy feel good feelings again, anchor them by touching their knuckle again.

Do this a couple of times at any one go – don’t overdo it as your child will get fed up! Do it again with them the next day or the next to ensure that their confidence switch becomes more powerful.

However one of the best things about the confidence switch is that your child doesn’t even have to know what you are doing! You can get them to focus on happy memories whilst you anchor these feelings by touching their hand (in the same place and the same hand!)/knuckle/nose in such a way that they are unaware of what you are doing. 

Also every time they are feeling happy, confident or at ease with themselves you can simply top us this switch by touching their knuckle for a few seconds. 

You need to go this exercise around 4 – 8 times and then try out the switch. Get you child to focus and then flip the switch and ask (and watch out for signs) them what they noticed? Keep topping up this confidence switch – whenever you child is doing something they are enjoying, when they tell you about a fab goal they scored at school or how they did this incredible dance move – just switch that switch. The more you do this the better the result.

They will be delighted with their new weapon of  mass construction! So give this a go – it’s easy to do and will make your child feel so much more confident and in control. Furthermore, the more they use this switch the more likely the behaviour is to become a natural part of who they are. 

I will keep you posted on the result tonight!

Take care and speak soon!!!

But…..And

Next time you go into a conversation with someone with the intention of coming out with an agreement think about your ‘buts’ and ‘ands’.

When ever someone is presenting an argument or fighting their case they will ultimately use the word ‘but’ to signify something that they disagree with or are not happy with and it’s something we have learnt to expect over the years. As soon as I say ‘but’ to my son he switches of automatically or gets frustrated because he’s expecting a rejection or a negative response.

Just as the word ‘and’ suggests that there is something else to expect doesn’t it and you would be right wouldn’t you? So choose your words wisely whenever you are seeking an agreement from another party. If you wish to negate the other person’s argument avoid the ‘but’!

Consider the two statements below.

‘I feel very strongly about this issue and I appreciate how you feel too and that is why it’s important to get this right’

‘I feel very strongly about this issue but I don’t think that you do so how are we going to come to any agreement?’

Which statement is letting the other person know you ‘hear’ them and want to work towards a compromise? Which one is more likely to open up the other person to your ideas too?

Likewise consider how each of the statements below would impact on the receiver.

‘I know I ask you to work late some nights but that’s why you got the job in the first place and why you’re still here’

‘I know I ask you to work late and I really appreciate all your efforts but without your valuable contribution we may fail to hit our target’

At the first but (in the first statement) the person is waiting for the negative and they get it so it really doesn’t matter what you say after that as the person has already got the ‘but’ and switched off!

However in the second statement the ‘but’ is qualified by a positive statement (your valuable contribution) and as a result is a more persuasive argument.

The ‘and’ works in the second statement too as it suggests something other than the expected ‘but’ and it allows us to add in a supporting and positive (persuasive) statement too before ending on the ‘but’, which takes the persuasion up another notch.

So yes you can use the ‘but’ but ensure you follow it up with a positive and persuasive argument and use the ‘and’ to negate their argument in a more positive and inclusive way.

It’s Time For BED

Belief, Expectation and Desire are the three most important ingredients to personal change and each one plays a valuable role in your future outcomes.

Belief is one of the most powerful tools available to any human being today, whether that be you, a doctor, a cancer patient, someone wanting to lose weight or an individual who wants to kick the drink habit. Belief has been well documented in it’s amazing powers of healing, it’s also helped top athletes reach for the skies and it can help you to overcome obstacles in your life and be the best you can.

So what is belief? Well a belief is simply knowing that something is true and if you think about it, you either believe in something or you don’t. You either believe in God or you don’t. A belief is something that you believe 100%. Beliefs run who we are at an unconscious level and unfortunately many of us go through life with no idea that our beliefs about ourself and the world we live in dictate pretty much how we live our life.

If you were brought up being told that the world was a scary place then you are more than likely going to grow up in a scary world, avoiding certain places, people and situations whilst an individual who was taught that the world is a wonderful place is far more likely to get more out of life and explore more opportunities because they feel safer and more open to the beauty of the world they live in.

So your beliefs shape who you are and how you feel however beliefs are not rigid and can be changed (forget all that nonsense about a leopard never changing it’s spots!). Most if not all of us were brought up believing in Father Christmas and no-one could convince us he wasn’t real at some point but now? Well come on! So beliefs can be changed.

However if you want to believe in yourself more or be the employee of the month, then you need to know that there is a possibility that you could succeed, because if there is no chance of changing or getting that award, then why bother trying in the first place? So Expectation is also crucial to success. Believing that you can succeed is one thing but expecting to win is another. Why?

Well if you know that you are a valuable member of the team at work and constantly hit your personal targets then you probably will expect to win employee of the month at some point wouldn’t you? And expecting to win is great because that will motivate you to succeed right? However expectation can also create problems if unrealistic targets are set.

If you believe that weight loss hypnosis will work for you (belief) and you expect to reach your ideal weight then you probably will, however if you expect to lose 3kg in one week then you may be in for a downfall. Expectation is certainly a motivating factor in achieving results but set them too high or be too unrealistic and you have a greater change of failure which could have a knock on (the Six Nations is on at the moment!) effect on your belief in your ability to succeed.

Which leaves us with desire. If you want to lose weight and you believe you can but hey, I’m quite comfortable with who I am at the moment, then there’s not much change that you will lose weight is there? Because in order to achieve you need to want it! You need to be able to almost touch it, hear it, taste and smell sweet success in order to produce that drive, that determination to succeed.

Desire is powerful and not just the physical or sexual desire either! If you want to succeed, you want to be the best in the field, then you are going to give your all in order to get there. Desire has kept many people alive in what seems to be hopeless situations, the sheer desire to see loved ones again, even when the expectation of survival is low, has a phenomenal impact on motivation and desire can overcome so many physical, psychological and emotional barriers.

So you have always wanted to be a doctor, ever since you mended your doll’s leg when you were five (desire) and you have managed to get to medical school with hard work and determination because you believed that you could do it and now you expect to be one of the the leading surgeons in the country (you can almost feel the motivation, determination and drive to succeed already cant you?) well guess what? You have more probability of succeeding than someone who has higher grades than you have but only went to medical school to please their parents and to be honest, isn’t sure if they are really good enough to become a doctor anyway!

A powerful way to increase your belief, expectation and desire is to practice regular visualization. Seeing yourself successful, visualizing yourself winning, getting a feel for how great you are going to feel is an incredibly powerful way to increase desire, build beliefs and raise expectations.

So if you want to improve, succeed, accomplish or just lose weight then remember – get to BED! Or rather build Belief, Expectation and Desire and get visualizing today.