Your Power to say “No”. Why it is important to USE it


"Health is the best wealth, for it is truly priceless"

Power to say no

Hello Face2Face readers,

A primary goal of the blog since we started in 2009 has been to share lessons learned and success nuggets – some personal, others not so personal. Thank you for the opportunity to share these with you (please do not hesitate to sound off and tell me what you think on our Facebook page:

These lessons come in many shapes and forms, playing out just like our everyday lives. Today, I would like us to discuss the all too important, not often talked-about option we all have to say 'no'.

Recently, I went in for an annual female physical exam. Everything was good, until the nurse did a routine blood pressure check. The reading on the machine made her step back, she looked at me and exclaimed, "your blood pressure is pretty high! Wow."

I was surprised too … my readings were placing me at stage 2 of hypertention. All other vitals were good, my bill of health has always been clean. I did not fit the typical profile of one who would be hypertensive. I am active, I exercise regularly, my weight is normal, I eat healthy (except for some fried chicken and hamburgers every once in a while), recent blood work had been good. Family history and age were practically ruled out as causative factors.

The healthcare professional and I then went through a list of stress triggers trying to find out why these numbers were so high. Personal worries – well, not so much; money problems – some, like everybody else; work demands, yeahhh. Nothing extraordinary really, so what had my system so stressed out?

I was left to figure this out, and do so quickly inorder to help fix the problem. My focus was now to help my system release some of the dangerous steam/anxiety by identifying the 'why' and dealing with it.

I left the doctor's with even more nervous knots in my stomach.

The anxiety of a heavy work load with an ever long to-do list was the option that made the most sense. But that doesn't make me any different from many Americans, does it?

The relief of knowing

For the next few days, my pressure would remain high (diastolic over 100) with me unable to find answers. Worried, I cut down on work hours, going as far as turning my cell phone off at 5.00pm until 10.0am next morning, I was spending more time outdoors, and taking it easy on all fronts. 

Nothing much changed as the clock ticked and the days went by. So, this past Sunday, I reached out to someone I look up to and asked, "When you're under lots of work related pressure, how do you de-stress? I've been trying to bring down my blood pressure unsuccessfully … trying to stay off meds."

The response was, "Say no to things and people more."

Boom! These words made all the difference, they identified a problem I had not been able to put a finger on. The anxiety and pressure I was feeling was mainly because I was allowing myself to feel overwhelmed by too many demands of time, resources, effort, emotions. And it was catching up with me, my system was under major duress.

However, knowing I had the option of saying "no" brought a remarkable sense of relief. The power to say "no" means:

  • You have control over your life, and you don't have to give more than you are able to give.
  • It also means that it is OK to not be there for others all the time because the price you may have to pay could be too high. 
  • It does NOT mean that we are selfish or horrible human beings, but that we are disciplined enough to be true to ourselves, our friends, family members and business associates by not spreading ourselves too thin.
  • It makes us realize that those who reach out to us will find ways to proceed if we're not able to commit.
  • Health – mental and physical, comes first.

Yesterday, I went out to play tennis with my kids (above photo) and it felt good to be coming to a point where I am determined to find that balance between work and living life to the fullest. Regardless of how much we love our work and people around us, we should never allow them to take over our lives. Regardless of how much we have achieved, no human being is a savior, each of us can only do so much. It is also OK to be selfish sometimes and say, "I can't", even to loved ones. Also very importantly, be sure to get regular medical check-ups and heed signs of stress your body may be putting out. Health is the best wealth, for it is truly priceless.

Cheers to your success.


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