Most of us live busy lives. Between emails, texts, work, family, and friends, it’s easy to get bombarded by obligations and invitations. It’s also easy to have the tendency to say “yes,” even when we can’t or shouldn’t. Refusing a request or simply saying “no” can inspire feelings of guilt and worry about appearing unkind, uncooperative, lazy, or not a team player. Is there a way to turn things down in a socially acceptable way? Might there be an art to refusal?
Host Jonathan Bastian talks with Vanessa Patrick, professor of marketing and lead faculty for the Bauer Executive Women in Leadership Program at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. Patrick has spent years researching “empowered refusal,” the practice of knowing yourself and empowering your voice. She explains why saying “no” is so difficult, but why learning the language of refusal can have a huge benefit towards living a more fulfilling life.
Top athletes are among the latest folks to embrace the power of “no,” using their voices to draw attention to mental health and the pressure of competition. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and tennis Grand Slam Champion Naomi Osaka, both elite athletes in their sports, recently chose to respectively withdraw from competition to protect their mental and physical health. Their decisions resonated, underscoring the humanity often overshadowed by their seemingly bulletproof public personas and what’s actually essential in order to succeed.
Host Jonathan Bastian talks with award-winning feature writer Simon Usborne about his latest Guardian article, “How to win at life: What sports psychologists can teach us all,” and reflect on the profound effect saying “no” has on the world of sports, elite athletes, and the public.