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  • Writer's pictureSarah Haler

Embracing the power of saying "no" and avoiding burnout

Updated: May 10, 2023

Are you, like me, a couple of years into your freelance business juggling a demanding workload and sometimes feeling a little overwhelmed? If so, it's time to embrace the power of saying "no."

Classic blue background. Blonde woman in a pale blue t-shirt. Speech bubble with the words "It's ok to say no!"

Building a business isn't easy. I struggled with creating a brand identity, social media posting, overcoming my fear of networking, pitching to potential clients, and handling the financial side of the business. But I persevered and overcame my fears - mostly! Imposter syndrome still rears its ugly head from time to time making me doubt my skills and achievements but I try not to pay it any heed. I've worked hard to get to where I am and know that my accomplishments are the result of determination and continuous learning.

Now, here I am with a thriving business and a growing list of clients. I should be celebrating, but growth brings its own challenges. A friend pointed out that my greatest strength (my natural tendency to be helpful and flexible) is also my greatest weakness, as it can lead to me overcommitting and failing to set firm boundaries. Clearly, I need to avoid saying "yes" to every opportunity and request that comes my way, and remind myself that it's okay to say "no." In fact, it's vital for my well-being and business sustainability. By setting boundaries and managing my workload effectively, I'll be able to prevent burnout and ensure I can continue to provide high-quality service to my clients.

So, I need to assess my capacity realistically, carefully evaluating each request and considering the impact it will have on my existing workload, politely declining it or negotiating a more manageable deadline where necessary. I also need to remember to include those all-important buffer times for unexpected issues that arise (something I have occasionally failed to do!).

If this resonates with you, it's time to embrace the power of saying "no". Doing so doesn't make us less helpful; it ensures our long-term success and enables us to continue making a positive impact.

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