How to say NO … even when there’s a ton of pressure to say YES

Have you ever said YES to someone, and then immediately regretted it?

Like giving that YES stripped away a part of your soul that you can never recover again?

I may sound a tad dramatic, but some YES’s do have serious consequences.

Like when you’re fifteen years old, in love for the very first time, and your boyfriend is pressuring you to have sex …before you feel ready. And you say “okay”even though every cell in your body is urging you to wait.

Red Lipped GirlPhoto Credit: Ashley Harrigan

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Or like when you’re thirty-five years old, and your soon-to-be husband says, “Having kids really isn’t a priority for me.”And you say, “Oh, yes. I totally agree. Our lives our full enough as it is without kids in the picture.”Even though your heart is crying out, “That’s not true. I want to be a mom.”

Saying YES when you want to say NO is like swallowing a little sip of poison. Or in some cases, a big sip.


Photo Credit: marsmet524

Self-defense skills for girls

And that’s goes for your professional and public life, too. Not just your personal world.

As a media coach, I’ve heard dozens of horror stories from clients and workshop participants who got booked in the media, signed a promotional contract or landed a book deal, and then got asked to do things that made their heart sink and skin crawl. (Like pose half-naked on a book cover, for example.)

Whether you’re a business owner, public speaker or author, it is vital that you learn how to say NO, even when there is an incredible amount of pressure to say YES.

It’s very simple to do.

You just say (without shrinking or puffing up or taking a “tone.”):

No, Im not comfortable doing that.

And if they push back, take a calming breath and feel your feet on the ground, solid and still. Then, in a neutral tone keeping your eyes, face and body soft and relaxed, say:

Actually, this isnt open for negotiation. And heres another possibility that I came up with [and then describe an alternative solution].

Green-Eyed GirlPhoto Credit: Ozgun Erdem

Positive body image tips for girls

That’s it.

You’re holding to your principles while offering an elegant solution that serves everyone.

Don’t back down.

Speak your mind. Stand your ground. Sing your song™.

Girl W/ GuitarPhoto Credit: Luis Hernandez

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Show people that you are not someone who is easily swayed or pressured. Someone who is to be respected and honored.

Need a little encouragement?

Check out these powerful public figures who have said NO even when there was intense pressure to say YES:

: Bestselling author and TV actress Mindy Kaling has said NO (repeatedly) when red carpet stylists try to drape her curvy body in gigantic muumuu-style dresses. She wants to wear form-fitting gowns that show off her body, not hide it!

Mindy KalingPhoto Credit: Cass Anaya

Mindy Kaling Positive self-esteem for girls

: America’s bestselling poet, Mary Oliver, almost always says NO to media appearances + interviews. Her reason? She finds them unnecessary. She prefers her poetry to speak for itself. (One of her most famous poems is called Wild Geese.)

SirenPhoto Credit: Kisses Are Better Than Wisdom

Mary Oliver wild geese poem

: The 40 CEOs profiled in this book each had to make touch calls in the face of tremendous pressure —often with billions of dollars on the line. In each scenario, their call was a career-making decision.

Saying NO isn’t always easy, but in the long run, it’s always easier than living with the pain of a YES that you shouldn’t have given.


What’s the hardest NO you’ve ever had to give?

Parents and teens …while we’re on the subject of saying NO, here’s something to know:

I’ve just released a new book called Girl On Fire: A Teen Girls Guide To Surviving Real Life. It’s a guide to verbal + physical self-defense, especially for teenage girls … a topic that is close to my heart.

Girl On Fire

Self-Esteem & Self Defense Guide for Girls

You can read a free chapter + buy the book here. Get a copy for yourself, or for a girl that you know and love. Enjoy.


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Hi, I'm Susan

Hi, I'm Susan

I’m a media coach, martial artist + marketing strategist who helps you communicate your values, mission + message during media interviews to multiply your revenue while building your brand + business. I believe that you don’t need to brag, beg or whore yourself to get the publicity you want. Nor do you need to be an axe murderer, a shamed sports star, or be involved in a sex scandal. There is another way…

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