Stop Saying YES to Everything!

Last Update: July 01, 2016

For over 30 years I owned and operated my own dance studio business. The rewards and satisfaction from teaching were wonderful! In fact, after all these years, I am still friends with many of my former students, some of which are now bringing their children to the dance studio for classes.

But there is another side to the business and that is ALL the stuff that everyone wants you to do. Can you perform for this event, or can you choreograph 2 musicals this year plus choreograph an entire 'Requiem' for our Civic Chorus? Oh....and can you also choreograph Color Guard routines for our high school marching band? And my child needs private lessons because she is entering a competition next month! WHAT?!!

I was not only the business owner, but was the ONLY teacher besides my assistants and my daughter (who took over my business in 2004). People sometimes think that we are SUPER HUMAN and can DO IT ALL! Oh....and by the way, I had 4 little children of my own that also required some 'mommy & me' time :-)

My thinking was that people thought that I had an EASY job and all I did was go in the studio and teach for 5-6 hours a day. Little did they realize that it takes another 6 hours+ to create/choreograph for classes each day plus more hours for all the EXTRA things that people asked me to do! There is ONLY 24 hours in a day, if I am correct ;-)

Did I get compensated for all the extras? I received very little compensation, but got plenty of recognition within my community and surrounding areas.

Don't get me wrong.......recognition is wonderful! It feels good to be liked by everyone, complimented and possibly even get more students from it. But.......I did not need any more students. I was already at the maximum that I could handle 200+ students. For one person....that was plenty, don't you agree?

Here's the thing: Saying YES to everything really can create burnout, frustration, stress, and unhappiness.

As a business owner, it really was my right to decline, and I knew I would benefit far more from taking a break than working until dawn. But I wasn’t at all surprised when the instinctive replies came out of my mouth, ‘Yes, of course, thanks for asking. I'd love to help you out'. Then I would go home and ask myself why oh why did I say YES again!!

I have always been a people pleaser. I was so anxious to be liked that I would do or say almost anything to seek approval and avoid confrontation. In the past that was exactly how I always did things. I am not sure where it came from. My mother was a stay a home mom, and my father was in real estate & politics. Who knows! What I did know was that I had to change my way of thinking.

Over the years, I LEARNED to SAY NO!! Once I began saying NO, I became healthier, more self-confident and FREE to do ALL the things that I wanted to do and not tied down doing all the things everyone else WANTED ME TO DO!

Here is what I learned:

Saying NO does NOT mean that you are a BAD PERSON.

Realize that YOU are of GREAT VALUE.

Decide if it is REALLY WORTH IT.


Learning to say no has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Not only has it challenged me to overcome my fear of rejection, it has helped me to feel in control.

I don’t feel trapped, resentful, or guilty anymore. Instead, I feel empowered and FREE!

If you want that same feeling of freedom and empowerment, then take control, challenge yourself, and learn to SAY NO.

Enjoy this fabulous weekend everyone!!



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paulgoodwin Premium
Hi D and I know what you mean but like Jim Carry I still am a yes man!!!
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Steve1958 Premium
Great advice...I am one of the worst people I know at saying NO but am getting better at it!
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mergie1 Premium
I can relate totally. Have a dance studio here, and even though you are teaching six hours a day, people don't realize just how much extra time you need to put in after hours with choreography, admin, extra lessons and finding new music. I will take your advice to heart and try to learn to say no more often, for my own sanity.
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dianegailit Premium
It is SO hard to say no! But for our health and sanity, it really is best to take on ONLY what we can do. I now know that saying NO is really what is best for my well being. We can only do what we can do, ya know? Have a great weekend :-)
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Lbath5 Premium
What a great article! I too have a hard time saying no without feeling guilty. Learning to say no has been a freeing experience for me too. Have a great weekend.
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dianegailit Premium
Feels good and very freeing to just say NO :-)
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Lbath5 Premium
Sure does.
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Calmkoala Premium
So true, thanks for this. I learned this the hard way with small children and my own business too, very tough! :)
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dianegailit Premium
Very tough! I was always a Super Mom trying to do everything for everybody.....I did it all the while my children were growing up. It took a very long time to finally realize that it was ok to say NO! :-)
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SadieChan Premium
Thanks Diane and have a great weekend!
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dianegailit Premium
You're welcome and you have a great weekend, too!
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AlexEvans Premium
Hi Diane an excellent post, there is nothing that speaks louder than someone sharing their experiences,this is something that many of us have had to learn at some stage and like you we are the better for it.
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dianegailit Premium
Absolutely! Sometimes it takes awhile to realize that it is ok to say NO, but once you do....it is so freeing :-)
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MNorton Premium
Hi Diane,
I've been in that boat a time or two. Sometimes it's hard to say no, but we have to in order to keep our sanity!! People will take advantage of you when they know you will always give in and say yes. The only thing you should be saying yes to now is, having a good weekend!!
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dianegailit Premium
Totally agree! That is exactly how I feel today :-) Have a great weekend, Mary :-)
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bill808 Premium
Something I have to learn.
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dianegailit Premium
Just say NO :-) It can be difficult at first, but gets much easier after awhile!
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ValerieJoy Premium
I agree totally with you Diane. I was a 'yes' person for many years but when I learnt to say 'no' I found it wasn't difficult at all. I believe that I was respected whatever my response.
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dianegailit Premium
I agree, Valerie! Once you start saying NO, it is no longer difficult :-) And.....it was really never difficult in the first place. It was all just in our heads ;-)
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Ultimateless Premium
I prefer people to tell me the truth, I have more respect when someone says no rather than yes and then doesn't do it!
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dianegailit Premium
Oh...I agree! I hate it when someone says they will do something and then never follows through! Honesty is always the best policy :-)
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OldMCSEGuy Premium
You are a real business owner.
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dianegailit Premium
Yes, I am :-)
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MPollock Premium
Great post, and you and I have the same yes problem with customers. I wonder what they will say when we retire and move on.
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dianegailit Premium
They will have to find someone else to take advantage of......;-)
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MPollock Premium
Ya and at that time we can sit back and laugh a little more, instead of giving it away.
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Dreamer56 Premium
Sorry Diane there is no way to argue with you about this. I found myself doing the yes thing repeatedly early in my construction business. I thought well I'm here. I came close to yessing myself to the poor house
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dianegailit Premium
And that is not a good thing. I really never had that problem, but I did do too many extra unnecessary things that took up my time and energy. I know longer deal with all the 'stuff'. I can say NO very easily these days :-)
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MyraBeth Premium
Thanks for sharing your story and your message.

When I first started home-schooling my children, the experienced home-school moms gave me advise, which I never forgot:

Do NOT burn yourself out! You will then be useless to your children and yourself.

Yes, it is important to say NO!
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dianegailit Premium
Burnout is REAL and can happen to the best of us. We just can't let others control our lives. Saying NO is the best thing that I have learned in my career. I have no problem anymore with saying NO :-)
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Cynthiah1 Premium
It took me awhile to say no to extra shifts as a nurse. I had to though and was so much happier!
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dianegailit Premium
Oh...that is very difficult! And nursing can be very stressful as well. Saying NO was a great thing for you and for your health :-)
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MisterWailor Premium
Nice post, thanks for sharing. Knowing when to say NO is a sign of maturity.
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dianegailit Premium
Yes it is!
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cosmicradio Premium
OK, between you and Steve I've got: Question everything, and just say no. Got it! :)
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dianegailit Premium
I agree!!
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stevecox Premium
This is super Diane ! Thank you and have a great weekend also!
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dianegailit Premium
You're welcome and you have a great weekend, Steve :-)
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