The Art of Saying No with Jeromine Alpe - CEO Corporate Diversity Partners

When NO means YES.

Jeromine Alpe – CDP Founder, shares her tips on ‘how to stop taking on too much and spreading yourself too thin?’

As women, we are wired to say “Yes”. This is because we have a genuine desire to nurture and care for those we love and who matter to us in our personal and professional life. We are natural multi-taskers, can function on very little sleep and can draw on endless energy needed to complete all tasks required of us in a 24 hour day – Wonder Woman would be proud!

If you are having an AHA moment, you are not alone! A google search of ‘How to find balance in your life’ brings up some 332,000 results! It’s time to ask yourself one question ‘what do I value most in my life?’ The answer will give clarity of your life purpose. Write down the answer and keep it in sight.

When we take on too much and consequently start spreading ourselves too thin, we lose our balance. Our default mechanism is to focus our mind on ‘doing’ – the job of getting things done. Instinctively, it can also be a time when we know it’s time to look at a change in our behaviour pattern, introducing two words to our vocabulary ‘no’ and ‘priorities’. When asked the question ‘what’s important and what’s urgent’ my default response is to consider first and foremost my commitments to 1. my business, 2. my family, and 3. myself. My personal career and life journey has taught me that what’s important and what’s urgent in my life – what I value most in my life – is quite the opposite – it is first and foremost my family followed closely by not the business of doing business but the people who matter to me in that business, my business partner Libby, our dedicated staff, our amazing members, clients and many others. It is because of them that business matters. When time permits in the day/week/month perhaps some ‘me time’.

I have put together 3 questions you may like to ask yourself as well as 3 strategies you might like to consider to find the balance in your life that will empower you to be the best version of yourself.


1. What do I value most in my life – family & friends; career; health and wellbeing?
2. What if saying No meant saying Yes to achieving your personal or professional goals?
3. When my commitments conflict, how do I maintain a positive mental attitude for a happy healthy me?


1. Prioritise

Developing effective time management techniques provides clarity around what’s important and what’s urgent, reduces stress and allows us to be more productive, creating space for new opportunities to be discovered, as well as ensuring you achieve the elusive work-life balance which is within all our reach.

Ask yourself ‘what will add the most value to me in my life? ‘ Your answer will help identify important and urgent priorities are in your family life; your career and your personal health and wellbeing

2. When No Means Yes

Saying no means saying yes to new opportunities that will support you to achieve your personal and professional goals. Consider a time you found your voice and politely said ‘thank you but the answer is NO’. Did you feel you had additional time to devote to someone or something that needs your attention? The key is to always remember to communicate your why! Why it’s in the best interest to everyone for you to say NO at this time.

3. Healthy Happy Me

You have somewhere around 45,000 negative thoughts a day.

The more you take on and spread yourself too thin, the more commitments you are making, the more complicated your life becomes, the more stress and anxiety is felt wanting to over deliver against expectations of you and eventually the more difficult it will be to have a positive mental attitude. The answer to a healthy happy me is a simple shift in your current thinking, choosing to stop doing those things that have a negative influence and identify those things that you need to start doing and continue doing that have a positive influence.
It’s proven that connecting with like-minded women in a safe environment, sharing and learning from each other’s experience provides time to gain clarity around what’s important in your life and then work together to develop positive behaviours and actions that will reward you with the gift of a happy balanced and successful life – a life you love.

Please share in the conversation. What strategies have you found help you from spreading yourself too thin?

Learn more about CDP's 8 to Great programs aimed at being your best personally and professionally.


Corporate Diversity Pathways is a full service diversity and inclusion advisory focussed on empowering women for diversity, happiness, inclusion and peak performance. We do this through Careers for Women, Executive Development Programs, Coaching for Peak Performance, Workplace Wellness, D+I Advisory and Action, D+I Leaders Network and The Power of Mentoring.