Why is Saying No so hard?

No. So simple, two letters, almost impossible to say at times. Seven years ago, I had just opened up my own salon. I was so worried that by telling a client, “no, I don’t have time to squeeze you in,” somehow I would risk losing everyone and would have to close the business before it’s one year anniversary. So I didn’t. I mean I freaking said yes to everyone for a solid two years. It became a joke, but one of those where everyone nervously laughs and is uncomfortable. At this point I only had two kids and my manchild, but soon after things would change. My family grew by one more tiny human, my business blew up and I was living my best life…until I wasn’t. All a sudden I found myself feeling out of breath, run down, emotional. I maintained another two years like that. Looking back I’m not sure how. But much like all volitile substances, too much pressure can cause devastating results. The day came, I call it my breakdown day. The camel’s back had been repeatedly loaded up on until it was nearing its breaking point. My first client was thirty minutes early and knocked some supplies over, spilling most. My second, thirty minutes, third, forty five minutes, fourth, a whopping two hours early because her lunch plans had cancelled. Then a woman and her daughter dropped by for hair cuts because, get this, they couldn’t get a response from me on social media that day. I should have said no. That was the straw. It was more than I was capable of handling, but I didn’t. In a way I’m glad I didn’t, it was a turning point. I calmly went outside a minute, and had my very first and hopefully last panic attack. Gasping for air behind my car, I was so angry with myself. I pulled myself together, went inside, sat down, and said,” okay let’s do this, but in the future, if you could please not just show up without an appointment, I would appreciate it. I will say I have time when I don’t because I aim to please, resulting in me hyper ventilating in the parking lot.” They just stared at me. After a long pause the mom said, “you could have said no.” If only she understood at that moment I could not. I wanted to, but couldn’t. I’m thankful for that day. I started saying no. I started sticking with my appointment schedule. I stopped squeezing in last minuters. I took control, you know what I found? I found, that the ones who expected the most from me, actually appreciated me the least. What an epiphany. I was a successful mom, wife, business owner, and I said no when I needed to. Beautiful concept. It literally took me losing my shit to get there, but I haven’t looked back since and I’m a stronger person for it.

Society puts a lot of pressure on us, everyone, but especially business owners. “The customer is always right” and “you’re in the service industry” mentality is unhealthy and will chew you up and spit you out. It is ok to say NO. Set boundaries, and stick to them. It gets easier every day and eventually everyone catches on and plans accordingly. Remember, no one will look out for you, like you can. No one knows your limits like you do. Don’t ignore that little vocano inside, it will errupt one day!

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