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Gracious, Genuine Greetings

Gracious, Genuine Greetings

How many times a day do you meet and greet someone?

Is the hello you give to others a fleeting fake flippancy, or is it a gracious genuine greeting?

How many times do those greetings you give or get mean something worthwhile? Have you ever stopped to think about just how much mileage you could get out of those habitual, carelessly tossed out hiyas and how ya doin’s you barely think about anymore?

These thoughts came to mind for me in the past few days because within my Managing with Aloha Jumpstart program we have been talking about articulating Aloha. Linguists tell us that the two Hawaiian words most recognized in the rest of the world are Hawai‘i, the name of my island home, and Aloha. For most people outside Hawai‘i, aloha means “hello and goodbye — right?”

The answer is yes, and much more.

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However my purpose here is not to hawk Aloha. Let’s just talk about your greeting for others, even if Aloha is never the word you choose to use; I do accept that it may be outside your comfort zone. Let’s talk about what you do say, and more importantly, how you say it.

Most of us simply don’t pay attention to our greetings at all. We may ask, “How are you?” but we keep moving and hustle on by, and we don’t stop to hear an answer. We barely make eye contact, and our smile has become a casualty of neglect.

So understandably, many people don’t bother answering us. They might just raise their eyebrows or slightly nod their heads, and they don’t feel they are being rude or are ignoring us; they accept that we didn’t really expect an answer anyway. They are quite sure we had tossed out our quick greeting to be polite.

Polite?!?

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Well, if that’s polite, I dread the thought of what else we consider acceptable before we reach the dregs of rude. Our standards of acceptable behavior have gotten to be pretty appalling.

Worse is the gaping neglect. How about those people you might pass by every day, and because they are always just there, or you don’t know them that well, you never bother greeting them at all. Head down, you pass them by as if they don’t even exist.

And what about your family? Are the ones who near never get your morning greeting or evening farewell, the same ones that you actually profess to love most in the world, the ones you claim to be living your life in a meaningful way for? Are they the ones you take for granted most of all?

If we want to be treated with dignity and respect, we have to conduct ourselves with distinction first. We must be deserving, and it seems to me a decent greeting given to others who bring our world to vivid life is a good way to start. This is February, the month meant for loving each other, remember?

Listen, I admit I neglect my aloha greetings at times too. However I want to get better. Sometimes my writing is my own wake up call, that’s the beauty of opportunities like this (thank you Leon!)

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So are you with me?

We can start with committing to a new habit of giving gracious, genuine greetings to others in every single encounter. It is not difficult, and it really doesn’t take that much time. And so what if it does take a few more moments? Would that really be all that bad? Mere moments, with intentional aloha in your greeting could work magic for you.

That “more” in aloha is so much about attitude. It is about the love of self and love of others, unconditionally, and always giving the benefit of the doubt because you expect to find good in others. It is about having thankfulness that you are not on this planet all alone. It is about realizing how fleeting life may turn out to be, and living it in the best possible way in every single moment.

Join me in my campaign for gracious, genuine greetings:
——Stop in your tracks.
——Make eye contact and smile broadly and sincerely. Get your eyes to smile too.
——Say “Hello, it’s good to see you today” and mean it.
——If you ask a question, stick around for the answer and be interested in it. Respond in kind, and enjoy the conversation.
——When someone greets you and asks how you are, say “I am so much better now for having you ask me, thank you!”

Then drink in the magic. I can guarantee you it will happen.
My aloha to you, sincerely,
Rosa

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Article referenced here: Can you help me articulate aloha? ——[There are some great, very insightful comments at the end of the article.]

Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is also the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: Long Live the Calendar.

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Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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