The disease to please

11 March 2015

Duke Robinson, the author of Too Nice for Your Own Good, says that “Saying yes when you need to say no causes burnout. You do yourself and the person making the request a disservice by saying yes all of the time.” Thinking that you are a bad person for saying no is a symptom of what he calls “the disease to please“. He is absolutely right of course and I am quite sure that you can think of many situations where you have said yes but really, you should say no!


A colleague or client writes to you and says “I need this task/report to be completed by XXX (date)” – you know you really can’t do it, but what do most people do? Say yes and bust a gut to do it, work ridiculous hours in order to complete the report/task on time but at a standard lower than you would normally deliver. Why don’t you just state when you can achieve it, if they want your best quality work?

Someone asks you to chip in for a collection in the office for a colleague’s birthday. You have barely said three words to him/her in the whole time you’ve worked there so what do you do? Most people say yes and pop in a few pounds but you could just say “Oh, I’ve never really had a conversation with XXXX. I think I’ll just wish him/her a happy birthday in person.”

So, why is it so hard to say No? Learning the power of saying “no” when you need to is really important. It’s OK to say it but that’s not to say it’s easy by any means, but it’s the only way to stay focused on the important things in your life. Saying yes to everything may result in the loss of ability to say yes to the best things.

Say no more often and take back the control over your schedule and your life.

[Very much a ‘do as I say and not as I do‘ blog, I know….]

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