We have all been there. You agree to a commitment only to realize later that you can’t do it—or don’t want to do it. It’s a stressful, often embarrassing dilemma. Here’s how to deal with this situation gracefully and effectively.
Let’s begin by agreeing to a basic principle: Lying is almost never a smart strategy. In many cases, telling a lie may feel so much easier than being truthful. However, lies can easily backfire and you don’t want to earn a reputation as insincere or lacking in character.
Remember that It’s OK to Say No After Saying Yes
This runs counter to many things we learn as children. Be true to your word. Keep your promises. The truth is that real life is a bit more complex.
If you have to turn down a commitment you previously agreed to, keep in mind the validity of your reasons. Author William Ury calls it ” a positive no.” This strategy means showing the other party that you have to say no to them in order to say yes to something more important, or more basic. For example:
- “I hate to backtrack on this, but I just realized I just don’t have the bandwidth to deliver the quality this project requires.”
- “I’m so sorry. I know I said I’d do it, but I’m experiencing some signs of burnout, and I feel I need to slow down a bit.”
More Tips and Ideas
From returning to the office after the pandemic to the right structure for your business and everything in between, these are some previous posts you can check out for more ideas on how to lead with confidence:
- Tips to win the war for talent
- How to use social media to grow your career
- 3 Tips to prevent and address employee burnout
- What is candidate ghosting and how to avoid it
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