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How to say no without guilt


I was sitting at my desk sipping a cup of coffee minding my business (literally) when the telephone rang. I answered it and it was one of those great calls I love to receive. It was Cindy Krischer Goodman, a reporter for the Miami Herald, asking me about one of the Days I had recently published. My good friend Pat Morgan had shared the Day with Cindy and she has put it on her blog, The Work Life Balancing Act. I read Cindy’s blog because she has great tips and ideas on how to stay sane!

For those of you visiting from Cindy’s blog, welcome. I have posted the article Cindy mentioned on her blog both for you and my regular visitors.

Live the Day,


How To Say No Without Guilt

Saying no comes hard to a lot of people. There are lots of reasons why people have a difficult time saying no. They don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, they feel pressured or obligated, or they don’t think saying no is an option. There are ways to say a positive no without feeling guilty about it.

The truth is people respect those that have clear and strong boundaries. Over committing is a sign of weak boundaries and low self esteem. If you allow people to take advantage of you, they will. You have the right and responsibility to protect your time and your energy. If you are not sure if you want to commit to a request, tell the person you need time to think about it. Doing this allows you to check your other commitments and think about how the new task will fit in. If it doesn’t, get back with the person and let them know you won’t be able to commit.

Keep in mind that every time you commit to doing something you don’t want to do, you are giving up the time and energy to do what is important to you. After a period of over committing, you will become resentful and unhappy, and it will show. Instead, be honest and up front. Don’t say yes when you want to say no. This way you will limit the commitments that you make and you will be able to keep them without being overwhelmed and bitter. You are allowed to determine how you will spend your time.


It is difficult to say no when you are in the habit of saying yes. To get use to the concept, practice saying no as often as possible. If you decide that you really want to say yes you can always change your mind.

You don’t have to feel guilty about saying no. When you set strong boundaries you will actually get more respect, for both you and your time.

Coaching Question

Are you ready to protect your time and energy?

Live the Day

Today, just for fun, see how many times you can say no. Notice how it feels to take control of your time and energy.


“The Power of a Positive No,” by William Ury, PhD


“Have the courage to say no.” W. Clement Stone

“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” John C. Maxwell

“Saying yes and no clearly builds confidence and rids us of the misconception that we are powerless.” Philip E. Humbert

What to do if your boss is a jerk!


One of the most popular articles I have ever written is “What to do if your boss is a jerk?” I wrote it years ago and it still pops up on other sites from time to time as well as in newsletters and blogs. Hmmm, makes me wonder what is going on out in the work world. You can view the article at Career Know How.

Recently I received an email from a person who has a difficult boss. He wrote:

I had a confrontation with my boss today and let her have it. She is always condescending towards her employees and never pays attention to what she is saying, especially when there are other employees around. I had made a minor mistake in something today and embarrassed me in front of 2 other employees by telling me how bad it was and why didn’t I have someone check my work before I shipped something out. Mind you, I’m the Director of Operations, webmaster, bookkeeper, illustrator, THE JACK OF ALL TRADES, the guy that gets it all done. I have a huge amount of pressure to get the things done right. Your article came a little to late as I had already went off on her. But I stood up for myself in the way she has been speaking to me all these years. I don’t know if she is going to change, but know this, I’m looking for a new job. I think today was the day I realized how bad she really is.

This was my response:

“Nope your boss is not going to change. Usually when in a situation like you are in two things happen. You will have to twist yourself into the shape of a pretzel to make it work or your leave. Sounds like you are preparing to leave. Keep in mind that when you are interviewing you don’t want to say anything bad about your boss, just that you are wanting to seek new opportunities and learn new things. Be positive about the situation. Also I don’t know what the repercussions of your actions will be. Be prepared for that. You might think about sitting down with your boss and apologizing, I know that sucks, for your reaction and explain how you have been feeling. Use terms like “when you do this it makes me feel like….” It might just make things better in the meantime.”

The most important thing to keep in mind if your boss is difficult for you to get along with is that more than likely that isn’t going to change. In eleven years of coaching only once have I seen a challenging relationship with a boss change into a fair one. Usually when someone is in a situation with a difficult boss they end up leaving. Staying is an option, but it is a difficult one. On a few occasions I have seen it where the person gets fired. Remember the boss has the power and can and might fire you especially if the situation gets out of hand like described in the email I received.

I also advised in my article, “If you feel like the boss has done something illegal, you can always see a lawyer and find out what your rights are. You might also talk to someone in your Human Resource Department or the Equal Employment Opportunity person in your company. “

The best thing to do in this situation is taking care of yourself, your health and peace of mind.


How I come up with the ideas for the Day


I often get asked how I come up with ideas for the Day. The answer is simple, life. What I write about is what I experience and notice out in the world. I read an article by an author that said she always had her writers glasses on! In other words she always viewed the world as a writer, looking for interesting ideas to write about. Because I publish a daily newsletter (for almost ten years now) I am always on the lookout for ideas and topics. Actually it makes me more aware of the world around me and aware of what is going on, both inside and outside of me.

Trust me I am not above using friends and family in a Day. I have often been in conversation with a friend when something they say will spark an idea. I must get a look in my eye or something because more than once I have had a friend say to me, “This is not a Day.” I always honor that although I am not always happy about it. :-)

This week I wrote a Day (The Ultimate Goal May 10, 2007) that is a great example of how I use my personal experience to write the day. I had an encounter with a young girl that shared with me her Ultimate Goal and how she was working towards achieving it. She was pretty much on target and had the process down for a seven year old. As I was talking to her I said to myself, “This is a day.”

I also carry a pocket notebook with me wherever I go to record such events and topics. I usually only write down a few words, a sentence at the most to remind me of the concept or event.

One of my clients is starting a newsletter and he shared with me his concern about coming up with topics. What I find is that coming up with the topics isn’t difficult at all, life will supply them.

Live the Day,


It is really a secret if everyone knows it?


I recently received an ezine from Robert Genn who is an artist promoting an artistic community. His ezine was in answer to a reader who asked him what he thought about the movie The Secret. Like so many Robert is critical of the Secret. According to Mr. Genn, “The public penchant for “miracle thinking” seems to ebb and wane, and right now we’re having a bonanza. This has been caused in part by the present volume of lightweight stuff that gets passed around.” The lightweight stuff he is referring to is based on a classic book written in the early 1900’s by a man named Wallace Wattles. The book is The Science of Getting Rich.

My advice on The Secret is take what you can use and leave the rest. For some it may be just what they were looking for and for others it won’t be. I would like to think it is better to spend our time focusing on how we can make our own lives better than judging others for trying to make a difference.


More of Coach Lee out in the world


Well I am out in the world again without leaving my desk. Four of my articles have been featured on Holistic Junction. The four articles are:

This is very exciting. Except of course that there is that picture again. I am so glad I am seeing the photographer tomorrow and updating my pic. Expect to see a new look soon.


How Can I Get Rid of This?


You won’t want to miss Live the Day with Coach Lee radio show this Sunday at 8:30 am on 710 KNUS. I will be interviewing Liz Davenport. Liz is the author of “Order from Chaos: A 6-Step Plan for Organizing Yourself, Your Office and Your Life” and I must say one of the funniest people I have ever interviewed. Liz is also a naturally unorganized person, as I am, and has found ways to keep her life clutter free and manageable. She is the organizer for the rest of us.

I had a major shift when speaking with Liz and she shared her keep secret for keeping clutter to a minimum. I wrote about it in a recent Day (shared below) and I tell you it continues to make a big difference in my life!

So listen in and get rid of that clutter.


How Can I Get Rid Of This?

I recently learned an organizing skill that has changed my life. During my radio interview with Liz Davenport, author of Order from Chaos, Liz mentioned an organizing secret that was revolutionary for me. Anything that can help me stay organized is a blessing. It is one of my biggest challenges. I was thrilled when Liz shared her concept with me.

Liz shared that, when she is filing, she will pick up a piece of paper and say, “How can I get rid of this?” This may not sound like a big deal, but it is a major shift from what most of us do. Most of us, including me, pick up a piece of paper and say one of two things, “What should I do with this?” or “Where should I file this?” Usually I don’t have an answer for either of those questions, so the piece of paper moves to the other side of the desk. After going through this process with all the papers in the pile, I have effectively moved the pile from one side of the desk to the other. By asking the question Liz suggested, I actually can do something with the paper. I might scan it and save it electronically or just throw it out. According to Liz only 5% of what we save ever gets looked at again.

I now look at the stacks of paper and wonder how to get rid of them. Amazingly enough I have managed to de-clutter my office in record time just by applying this question.


Get out of the mindset that you have to keep everything. There is very little you actually need to keep. If you do throw something out and you need it later, there are usually ways to retrieve it. Clutter keeps you confused and overwhelmed. Getting rid of the stacks of paper makes life less stressful.

Coaching Question

How can you get rid of the stacks of paper on your desk?

Live the Day

Have a clutter removal day. Set time aside during the day, and go through your stacks of paper and ask, “How can I get rid of this?” Be extreme and get rid of most of the paper. You can file it if you wish, but you have to do it right at that moment. You simply don’t need to keep everything. Letting go of all that paper will make room for more of what you do want.


Liz Davenport author of Order from Chaos.

Where in the world is Coach Lee?

I love the times we live in. We can be many places without ever leaving the office. I recently was a guest on the popular Internet Show Revealing the Soul of Business, have expand into a yet another new market with Live the Day Radio Show and found myself on a popular quotes page. Whew, and I never had to pack my bag!
Listen to my interview with popular radio show host Sherese Duncan as we discuss the power of daily action on Revealing the Soul of Business.
I love quotes and include them every day in 365 Days of Coaching. I was thrilled beyond words the other day when searching for a quote and came upon Motivate Us, a quote website. As I scrolled down reading the quotes I stop to read one and my jaw dropped, it was by ME! How fun is that. Check it out. I also will share the quote with you just in case they should remove it before you get there.
May 2, 2007 ” If it is worth doing, it is worth taking a risk.”Written in 2005 by Coach Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, PhD
Our radio family continues to expand.
“Live the Day with Coach Lee” is now airing on WYRM radio AM 1110. Live the Day with Coach Lee will air on Saturday evenings at 6:30 p.m. EDT and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EDT. If you are not in Norfolk, Virginia, you can still listen to Live the Day by going to WYRM during regular program time.
So as you can see I am getting around without leaving town!!!!

New Column on Sure Woman


Well I am excited to announce that I am now writing a weekly column on Sure Woman. The website has all kinds of great ideas, tips and information for and about woman. Be sure to check it out.

Oh and that picture! Made me call my photographer and set an appointment!