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Tag Archives: How to Say No

Earning thanks

In past posts, I’ve written about how to live in gratitude and express your thankfulness to others. Gratitude can make an enormous difference in your outlook on life, your motivation, and even your health…but what if others are not returning the favor? What if you feel that your co-workers, boss, or family members are constantly failing to recognize your contributions?

That lack of appreciation can get downright frustrating. It can make you feel unmotivated and uninspired. It can also make you wonder if you really are doing good work, since no one seems to notice.

Although we shouldn’t fuel our days entirely on other people’s thankfulness, it’s good to feel appreciated and valued—a worthwhile contribution to the team. If you’re fed up with your lack of recognition, try these four tips:

1. Know when to say NO

If you’re feeling like others are taking advantage of your generosity, it may be time to draw a firm line in the sand. Know your limits and be brave enough to say no when you’re feeling overworked, or when an assignment does not fall within your area of expertise. Although it can be difficult to do at first, saying no can help establish healthy boundaries and earn you respect (if you’re tactful about it! For more, read 10 Diplomatic Ways to Say NO)

2. Make yourself visible

It’s possible others are not expressing their gratitude to you because they are not aware of the work you are doing. Make an effort to check in regularly with your boss or your work team and give a brief update about your current projects. BUT, be sure to reciprocate and ask others about their projects and progress. Demonstrate that you care about others’ work and they will likely return the favor.

3. Express your feelings

Don’t just keep your frustration to yourself; tell others if you’re feeling underappreciated or ignored. How do you do that without exploding your emotions onto others and causing a rift? Try using the D4 model: Data, Depth of Feeling, Dramatic Interpretation, and Do. First, state the facts of the situation—what happened and why? Then, express how you felt about it and what meaning (interpretation) you give to the situation. Finally, suggest an action plan.

The D4 model could play out like this: “Susan, I put in ten extra hours last week to assist with your project and I’m frustrated that you didn’t acknowledge my help. I believe this is part of a larger problem in the office: we do not appreciate each other’s contributions. Going forward, I would like to change that by recognizing outstanding team members at meetings or awarding bonus gift cards to employees who put in extra effort. What do you think?”

4. Continue to show gratitude

If you take the time to recognize others’ achievements—whether in a company meeting, a private comment, or a written note—others are likely to reciprocate. You’re contributing to a culture of gratitude and when you lift up others, you’ll be lifted with them.


You deserve recognition for your hard work. If you’re frustrated by your office’s lack of appreciation, get cracking on one (or more!) of these four steps. Remember: don’t be accusatory or snide. Approach your situation with a level head and the understanding that most people are not giving you short shrift on purpose—they’re likely so wrapped up in their work and lives that they’ve simply forgotten the power of a simple “thank you.”



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By Margaret Smith, UXL:

In life, there is one fact that is without a doubt true: your time is priceless. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that time is spent on the things most important to you and your long-term priorities. Are you using your time in a way that reflects your values and skills?

In order to help you make sure that you use your time meaningfully, I’ve compiled a list of creative ways to suavely decline the requests of others. Although it’s important to offer your time and support to those around you, whether at work or in your personal life, it’s also paramount that you say “no” for your own goals (and sanity!).

13 Ways to Artfully Decline

“I’m really not the best fit for __________.”
“This sounds like a great opportunity, but my schedule is packed.”
 “Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m sorry, I can’t.”
“I really can’t do that right now, but have you considered __________?”
 “I’m sorry, but I’m only taking on work related to _________ right now.”
 “I’d like to help you, but my schedule won’t allow any new projects.”
 “It’s against my personal policy to __________.”
 “Thanks for asking, but I really can’t.”
 “I can’t take this on for personal reasons.”
 “I have other commitments.”
 “I can’t take on another project at this time.”
 “I know you would like my help with __________, but I won’t be able to do so unless/until __________.”
 “I with I could, but as a rule I don’t __________.”

I hope that these easy responses help you to take more control of your time and your schedule. Remember, you shouldn’t consider saying “yes” unless you’re enthusiastic about the project and the way that it aligns to your values and priorities.

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