top of page

Episode 5: Hell No (I Can't Go)

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

Description: This episode is a shout-out to the PPPs (Perpetual People Pleasers), because we care about your time, esteem, and confidence. This week, Tina gives you the ultimate challenge to break the never-ending cycle of never having enough time for you—saying, "No."


1. To read the Learning to Say No article by Jane Collingwood referenced in this episode, download the PDF below:

Learning To Say No Article
Download PDF • 805KB

2. Hell No! Journal

Hell No! Journal
Download PDF • 11KB

Listen Now:


The Self-Care for Educators team cares about the content-accessibility for all educators. If you have trouble accessing the audio for the podcast, the transcription has been provided below.

Transcription: Hi, and welcome to episode five of Self-Care for Educators. I'm your host, Tina Boogren. In this episode, we're going to explore the theme of saying, "no". It's a tough one, I know, but we're going to dig into this, and I'm going to offer up some strategies that we can play around with this week. Here's what I'm guessing:

Many of you are similar to me in that we are Perpetual People Pleasers. And if that's the case, then learning how to say "no" is a real challenge for us. Here's what I know for myself ... so, I oftentimes say "yes". Instantaneously without taking a second to even consider the impact of that "yes". And then, what ends up happening after that is I find myself being really resentful at this person who asks for my help.

I'm frustrated by this new thing that's taking up so much of my time, and then I feel overwhelmed, because I'm trying to juggle far too many things and constantly wishing I had more time for myself. And the reality is the only person to blame for this is myself. So this is something that I have really been working on.

One interesting discovery that I had in digging into the research was ... Jane Collingwood wrote this fascinating article that we will link to called Learning How to Say No, and in it she makes this connection between this inability to say "no" and our own sense of esteem and confidence, which actually makes sense, right? Here's a quote from her: "People with low confidence and self-esteem often feel nervous about antagonizing others and tend to rate other's needs more highly than their own." Oh yeah. I can relate to that. Let me read that one more time so that you don't miss it. "People with low confidence and self-esteem often feel nervous about antagonizing others and tend to rate other's needs more highly than their own."

Okay. So this is something we're going to work on. I know that, for me learning how to say "no" is attached to learning how to set healthy boundaries. And, I think that that's one of the cornerstones of self-care when I learned to honor and appreciate who I am and what exactly I need. I have a much clearer vision of what I want to be a part of and what I want to let go of.

I remember hearing Jen Hatmaker say, "if it's not a hell yes, it's a hell no." And I've tried to really hold onto that for myself. Otherwise, what happens is we just continually keep saying "yes" and "yes" and "yes". And. then our time is not our own anymore. And, then we feel resentful and grouchy and crabby and it.

It's just this never ending cycle that we start ... it's time for us to stop. We're going to stop. Okay? So, here's what I want you to tune into this week: I want you to think about invariably ... someone's probably going to ask you to do something this week, and here's what I want you to do. I want you to, first of all, ask yourself, "is this a hell yes? Cause if it is great; go for it. If not, that might be a really good opportunity for you to practice learning how to say "no". And what I want you to do as you play around with this is just check in with yourself. After, I want you to see how you feel immediately after you say "no". And then, I want you to see how you feel maybe 24 hours and 48 hours later, because your feelings might shift a little, right?

That instantaneous "no" might feel super awkward and uncomfortable. And we feel really bad ... But the 24 hours later, when we think about the fact that we don't have to do the thing, we might actually feel really proud of ourselves and happy and grateful to get a little time back, which is going to boost our esteem.

So, I want us to be real reflective this week. Here are a couple of ideas of how you can say "no". You know, we hear that "no" is a complete sentence, and it is, but we're not going to have a conversation with someone and just say "no". Right? So, here's some things to play around with. So, this is also from Jane Collingwood in that fabulous article Learning to Say No. She gives some sentences that we can kind of play around with and practice. So let me read some of those for you.

  • "Thank you for thinking of me, but that won't work."

  • "My heart says yes, but my calendar says no." God, I love that one.

  • "My other commitments don't leave time for this right now." Oh, those are so good.

Right. So just practice those. See which ones kind of feel the best to you and have those on hand so that they come up right away so that it's not our gut instinct isn't just to say "yes", but we can start giving ourselves that ... mental pause to check-in. And if it's not a "hell yes" and, we can practice saying one of those sentences and be okay with living in the discomfort for a little while ...

Cause it's uncomfortable, but we can do hard things. Another few ideas to consider here ... you can always offer up an alternative, right? So, if you provide a solution, it might feel easier and it also helps the other person. So for example, you could say, "Have you talked to Erica about how interested she is in the project? We talked about it a couple of days ago." So you may have the perfect solution of someone else who this would be perfect for. You're not passing the buck here, but someone else who actually might want to do this and making that connection.

Another thing you can do is buy yourself a little bit of time. I always think that's helpful. So rather than just that automatic "yes". Pause for a second and offer up, "Hey, you know what? I need to think about that. Can I get back to you on that a little bit later?" Or, "you know what? Let me go check a couple things on my calendar, and I'll have an answer for you by Wednesday." Now you have some time to really consider if it's that "hell yes" ... or how you're feeling about it.

Do make sure that you get back to the person though. Don't just leave them hanging. ... You can't just avoid actually saying "no", right? That's so tempting, but we are ... we need to honor that person. And, so do get back to them on that. Another thing you might be able to do is offer a compromise. So for example, if someone wants you to cover, say you're at school and someone wants you to cover their supervision duty. You could say, "yeah, absolutely. I'm happy to do that. Let me take over your bus duty this week, and then you can cover my hall duty next week." Boom. Win-win, right?

Another thing to remember is separate the idea of that "A no is a rejection", right? Separate refusal from rejection. It's important to remember that you are not rejecting a person. Instead, you're simply turning down a request. Remember this also when the tables get turned and someone says "no" to you. It's not about you. It's about their own boundaries as well.

And finally, I want you to really remember to honor and be true to yourself. Know your own priorities and goals. And, remember it is essential that you set boundaries around your own time so that you can achieve those goals. There is nothing selfish about that. That is essential. And as you continue to work on building your own esteem, your own sense of confidence, this will get easier and easier.

So, that's what I want you to play around with this week. I dare you to say "no". And to see how that feels for some of you, this might be fairly simple for some of you. This is going to be a huge challenge, but don't back away from that. I want you to kind of dig into that and explore that. I think you're going to have some fascinating A-Ha's as you play around with this. Good luck.

As always, thank you to Brooke for making this happen. Thank you to Marzano Resources and Solution Tree for this job that I get to do. And, as always a huge shout-out, huge shout-out, to my Self-Care Squad for being so bad-ass and learning how to say "no" when it's not a "hell yes".

420 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page