Have you ever had someone tell you about their problems and as soon as you made a suggestion, their immediate response was, "No, that's not it." Sure, they may have had a good reason for their response, but if this person does this to you repeatedly, how do you react? When all you get is a "no" to everything you say, often you start to disengage with the person – you stop listening and sometimes stop caring. That doesn't mean if you are on the receiving end of advice, you should listen to everyone to make them feel better. However, you may want to examine your actions, if you find you are saying no to everyone's ideas.
Sometimes we just want to vent, or we are looking for sympathy from others more than solutions. If that's the case, you may want to be honest about it. There is nothing wrong with complaining in moderation. If you are the one who is listening to the venting, you can ask the person what they want from you – advice or just a friendly ear.
Other times, we are unsure and frightened and let that be our predominant mood, even if we’re sharing our dilemma and seeking counsel.
Most often, when we say no to everything it's because we know the solution but cannot seem to follow through on our plan. It is like all the people who make a New Year's resolution to go to the gym but abandon their effort within a few weeks or months. A recent blog post by professional business coach Michael LeJeune entitled, "Why People Don’t Follow Through and How to Beat the Odds,” discussed how even successful people suffer from this problem. The reason we don’t do what we know we should do is because of reasons like: We don’t know where to start or what to prioritize; we’re overwhelmed and stressed; and we’re not sure what to expect.
There are many tactics that can help address these fears (including ones I discussed in a prior post), but the article's author also suggests that putting together a team to help you develop and execute your plan can make a significant difference. I have put together my own "think tank" and found it incredibly valuable for my business. A group of trusted advisors who can offer suggestions is important but only if you are open minded and willing to listen.
If you find yourself saying no all the time, it’s time to do something constructive about it.