What is the greatest lie that has held you back?  For me, it was confronting the “Lie of No”.  The belief that by saying “No”, we are hurting someone’s feelings.

In this episode, I talk about:

  • The Lie of No
  • What No really means
  • Warning of Not saying No


Morning, everyone. Welcome to the path to 1 million. This is episode 116. Today’s topic. I am calling the lie of no, I was thinking back the other day about some of the some of the things that I have faced over my life and challenges. And one of them, of course the topic came up in conversation, which was, you know, what, what’s the biggest lie that you’ve ever confronted in your life? And it took me a little bit of time to think about it because I just remember thinking to myself, a lot of the things I’ve, I’ve moved past, there are still a lot of things that I don’t know about that are still that are still a part of my life that I’m not even aware that they’re there, but still at some point in time, you know, they’re, they’re probably holding me back. I don’t know, I’m, I’m on a journey of self discovery, but I would have to say probably the biggest lie that I’ve ever confronted in my life and something that took me a while to overcome and something that I still battle with to this day is the Lie of No.

I remember as a kid being told on more than one occasion that a, especially when, when dealing with my mom is that whenever, as a kid, whenever I would say no to somebody, my mom would always turn around and associate that with, well, you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Do you? And what I learned was, and what I should have learned, or maybe a better way for her to phrase that should have been that there’s a difference between telling somebody no. And you know, another thing about telling them no in a way that hurts their feelings. As a kid, I just associated no, as in, if you tell somebody no, you just hurt their feelings. So there’s a lot of times where as, as a kid or whatever it is there would be these other kids that were in my life that I just knew that were just just plain flat out mean.

And I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. I didn’t want those kinds of people that were in my life. And then my mom would say something to the effect of, you know, oh, well, you know, this kid invited you to his birthday party, don’t you want to go on? I would say no. And she’s like, oh, well you don’t want to hurt his feelings to you. And of course I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. So then I’d go to his birthday party only to have to endure three hours of this kid picking on me. And over the years, what that translated into is I didn’t want to say no to anybody growing up, not because that they were a bully or they were being mean or anything. But what that translated into later in life was the fact that I always wanted people to view me as, you know, Cliff, the helpful guy or Cliff, the nice guy or something.

Cause you know, I felt like I was atoning for something that I had done. You know? And, and I, I admit that growing up, you know, I, I became a little bit of a Brat in high school. I was a little bit of a punk. So almost like later on in life, I was to make amends for that. And so what I would do is people would walk up to me all the time and asked me, “Hey Cliff, could you help me with this?” And I would always say yes. That was my default answer to everything was to say yes to help out because I wanted to be seen as cliff, the helpful guy or even clipped the team player, you know, for that matter. I didn’t want people to sit there and say, oh, Cliff only thinks of himself or Cliff only wants to take care of himself.

So I’m more than one occasion, you know, I would help somebody do their work or help somebody do a project. Or I would take, like somebody would walk up to me on a Friday and be like, “Hey Cliff, could you do this for me? I really need it by Monday.” And then I would sacrifice a weekend to be able to help them out, even though it was to my detriment. And a lot of times I would often rationalize and be like, well, I really don’t have any plans for this weekend. Or, you know, these people could really use my help, you know? So I think that I’ll, you know, I’ll just go ahead and do it. But what I didn’t realize at the time was the fact that when, when I have this inability to say no when I have, don’t have this ability to tell people or to set boundaries and be able to tell people, hey look, you know, I appreciate the fact that you’re walking up to me on Friday and your project is due on Monday.

You know, why? Why didn’t you mention something a week ago? You know, why are you now waiting until the last minute to tell me that you have something pressing to do and you’re asking me to do it now asking me to sacrifice a weekend. In other words, I’m putting their happiness above my own. And so I know a lot of times, especially, you know, growing up that seemed to be a very common theme is the fact that you know, you do sacrifice herself for the, for the happiness of others, which as a kid never made sense to me and as an adult made even less sense to me. But it was just a pattern that I fell into something that I just, for whatever reason, another couldn’t break. And a lot of the times where it would get to the point where as I got later on when I got into my thirties something got into my mid thirties and people would ask me, you know, hey cliff, could you help me out with this project?

Or could you help me do this? Or could you help me do that? As I would say, well yeah, let me see if I can fit it in. And I would kind, never tell them no, I would put them off at arms length, wouldn’t return their phone calls, wouldn’t re would return their email messages in the hopes that, you know, maybe somehow or another that they would forget, you know, maybe they would just walk away. Maybe they would think, you know, oh, well cliff has an interest, which really at the end of the day isn’t an answer in and of itself. It was just something where I would, I w I would learn this lesson when I started to turn 40 that, you know, cliff is okay to tell people no, people are going to ask you for help all the time, but it’s okay to ask them for now.

And I was reading on a Tony Robbins website and I kind of clipped mark this into my notes, but I wanted to read it to you. The truth is, is that when you say no, you’re not saying I hate you, you’re not insulting somebody. You’re simply exercising your right to say no because it is a right, not a privilege. And when I read that, I kind of reframed the, the entire no versus yes versus the people pleasing aspect in my mind because of the simple fact that being able to say no to somebody and be able to say, you know, I, I just, I, I don’t want to do this, you know, thanks for, thanks for thinking of me and thanks for asking for me. But it’s just not something that I’m really interested in being able just to same. No. And just to let them know became a very liberating tool for me to do.

And sometimes it’s really hard because people want, what they’ll do then is they come back and they, they make the case or they’re, you know, they’re desperate or Cliff, you’re my last hope or you know, “Dude, if you don’t help me, you know, with x, Y, Z, you know, I think the government’s going to collapse or something. They’ll, they, they, they always escalate the stakes. And a lot of times people don’t get the fact that I’m saying no because simply I don’t have the bandwidth to do it or I don’t have the interest in, in doing it or the fact that I have my own list of priorities or my own list of goals that I measure everything against. And so when somebody comes along and says, hey cliff, can you help me do this? And I look at my list of goals, my list of priorities that are in life, and I sit there and I measured against them.

And if it’s an alignment, then yeah, I would be more than happy to help. If it’s not in alignment, then unfortunately I have to say no. And there are other people out there who are willing to help. It’s just a matter of you having to going out there and find them. And for a lot of people, you know that you always look at your rolodex first. Who can help me? Hey, you know what, cliff? He always says yes. He always helps me out. And he’s the guy that I’m going to call. So learning how to say no, it just became like everything else in life has become a skill. And unfortunately for some people, when you do say no, they do view it as I hate you, you know, or I don’t want to help you or I don’t want you to be successful.

And sometimes they just get fine and they just get upset for whatever reason, another, because you have set that boundary in place. They are the ones who are now saying it’s your fault. You know, it’s your mistake, it’s your fault. Then you’re in the position that you’re in now. And for me, this completely confuses me. But the one thing that I have understood is that I can only control what’s in my world. I can’t control of the people. I can’t control how they view me. All I can do is tell them, you know, in the most respectful way possible. I’m sorry this isn’t going to happen anymore. And set those boundaries up because there’s really, at the end of the day, there’s two things when it comes to when it comes to the lie of no, and that’s, you know, the first thing is, and this was a hard pill for me to swallow, but it’s the absolute truth when, when you can’t say no to people, literally you’re sacrificing your health, health and your happiness for the sake of others.

And the question you have to ask yourself is, how in the world is that fair to you? You know, if you can’t say, if you can’t say no to others, if you can’t let them know that you’re not interested in helping them out or you can’t help them out or whatever that meaning might be, how in the world is that going to help them? And how in the world is that going to help you when your sacrifice that, and the second thing is that, and this is the gosh on is truth. There are people out there who will take advantage of the fact that you believe in the lie of no and they will ask for more. And more and more simply because they can and they will take advantage of it. And when you finally do push back, their first response is gonna be guilt, and their second response is going to be anger. And that’s how the whole goat Rodeo got started in the first place because of something where a simple little, a simple little question asked to a little kid somewhere that just said, well, you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Do you? Anyways, just wanted to share that story with you. I know it’s a little bit heavy for today’s topic, but I hope you have a fantastic day and I will see you then.