If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 4 years – my daughter is the marker – it’s that you can’t always say yes to everything.
In the past I was the person who said yes…even when it was physically impossible for me to deliver whatever I said I could do.
Can you housesit? Yes.
Can you pick me up from work? Yes. For a month? Yes.
Can you work on this project even though it doubles your work load? Yes.
Can you deliver the project on time? Yes.
Can you deliver this quality of work (even though your team has never done that)? Yes.
Can you stay late even though this isn’t your responsibility? Yes. Yesssssssssss.
I was always stressed out because I would over extend myself time and time again. I never seemed to learn.
But – building your own business, working in someone else’s business, having clients, being a client, or even when you have another type of day job – it’s a MUST to know when to say NO.
After having a baby — all bets are off of course and you suddenly have a solid reason why you can’t do everything or anything.
No comes easily.
You choose your activities wisely and you really only have so much bandwidth. Yep, you get a legitimate zero-hesitation excuse for saying no.
At first I did feel like I was just using Mila so I didn’t have to do the stuff I didn’t want to do. But after a year or so I realized that she gave me the courage to say no, when I needed to the most.
She was the priority, next was my husband and if an engagement or project didn’t fit with them, then I’d say no. When pilates clients wanted me to meet with them at odd hours or stay late with them, I said no – especially when it meant changing my schedule for my family.
And NOW … I revel in the No’s that I choose because I don’t want to do them. Once I got a taste of saying no to people, things, jobs, projects that weren’t a fit for me, I felt like a new person. And the best part of saying no is that it instantly clears a path to a yes.
I know it sounds like hocus pocus or magic, but it’s true. The yellow brick road to yes land is only 1 (okay maybe 2) No’s away.
More than that, though, saying no is crucial to you building a sustainable business that allows you to define a life that excites you instead of dragging you down.
Today, I’m starting a very special 2-part series on the power of saying no. I was originally only going to do 1 post, but the response I got from people who’ve inspired me the most over the past year, were un-editable.
I couldn’t say no to the length of their responses, to their stories.
It didn’t seem right.
So – I said yes to a different format.
1 no might allow you to make room for a big honkin’ YES. And – so I did!
The only criteria I had for choosing the people featured was that they inspired, moved, or kicked me into motion in 2011.
Some of the faces you may know and love already…and some you WILL KNOW by the end of the series.
Before we get started, here's the list of today's Nay-Sayers and a little look into why I chose them:
Sheila Viers, LiveWell 360: Sheila has been moving me with her sweet, moving message of health and fitness being fun for almost 3 years now. She brought me back to loving food and enjoying the journey of discovering new ways to get in shape. She’s a successful blogger and creator of the only fitness bag I use – The Core! Sheila's a dear friend first and foremost, but she's taught me so much over the past few years that I couldn't NOT have her in this series!
Melody Granger, MelodyGranger.com: Melody charmed me with her sweetness and back to basics approach to organization. She's taught me a lot about being comfortably clutter-free –which allowed me to drop a ton of stress over the state of my home! Melody's increased her offerings to include small business systems and did I mention she is a mom? This lady is busy busy busy…thankfully, she said YES to me and this post!
Johnny B Truant, JohnnyBTruant.com: I’ve been reading Johnny’s blog for the past 2 years and listened to his Jam Sessions with Charlie Gilkey. His writing drew me in and challenges me on a daily basis to up the ante with how I express myself. No excuses. No bullshit. And he’s just flipping smart. Writer, Blogger, Creator of QuestionTheRules.com. I can’t even say enough.
Emelie Rota, BrandFlightSchool.com: Um. yeah. Emelie is pretty much an amazing creative firecracker, spiritual goddess, and someone who has this light tinkerbell quality about her. She’s smart, honest and designs like a mofo. Wow – I’m getting fresh on this one. But seriously, Emelie’s awesome. You need to know her. Designer, Branding Expert, Creator at Revellish.com.
Kimberly Riggins, Love Your Naked Ass: Kimberly is one of those forces that you don’t see coming and then all the sudden there she is. Her message is an important one of self-love to all women. We connected in a coaching program and I’ve continued to watch her – she even contributed to The White Space Solution ebook….even though she’s been hard at work publishing her first book, creating amazing programs for women and blogging. LOVE KIMBERLY. visit her at: kimberlyriggins.com.
Marie Forleo, Rich Happy & Hot, MarieForleo.com: One could say I saved the best for last, but really Marie is the best in my book. She was my first coach – and she’s taught me so much over the past 2+ years. Not only has my income tripled since I met her and she told me what was what, but she’s taught me how to give myself permission to share my gifts with the world. She’s an author, speaker, entrepreneur, evangelist for women everywhere and definitely knows how to turn this mother out and bust a rhyme. Visit her site often: marieforleo.com.
I posed a question to some of the people who've inspired me or moved me in some way over the past year…
Was there a time in your life that a BIG NO decision or otherwise led you to a big opportunity or a BIG YES?
And here's what they said…
Sheila Viers, Creator of My Fave Fitness Bags, Founder of LiveWell360.com and EatWell360.com
About 4 years ago I clearly remember sitting at my desk–in my brand new office (with a window…a big deal for a 26 year old), after a much sought-after promotion, two doors down from my husband's office–staring at my computer screen thinking, “Is this it? This is what I've worked so hard for?” I thought it was going to be so much more satisfying and fulfilling than this.
It wasn’t that I was ungrateful—and I actually felt guilty for having those feelings—but I knew that somewhere along the way, I had gotten off track. I was searching for more, but I wasn’t exactly sure what “more” was. In that moment, I was definitely getting a clear NO, and it took getting to that point for me to realize it.
So, I left my job to figure out what “more” meant to me. I by no means knew where the path would lead, but I'm so glad that I trusted myself and took that leap of faith because that was truly the first of many defining moments for me in reconnecting with myself and my passion for life. That was me metaphorically taking the blindfold off and really looking around to see what a meaningful life would be for me.
Melody Granger, Professional Organizer, Business Systems Strategist at MelodyGranger.com
Saying no to clients that I knew were not a perfect match for the goals I want to help my ladies meet. This has probably been the toughest thing I've done because I'd love to help EVERYONE, but I have to trust and respect my bigger vision, which means being available for those ladies lives that I can impact in a more magnificent way.
Saying no to business coaching programs has been a blessing, even when they were speaking a language that sounded soooo wonderful to my ears. My heart said “no, this isn't the one” and, in time, the perfect coach for the business level I'm at appears. Like magic.
Saying no to one thing, means you are saying yes to something else…even though you may not know what you are saying yes to. Holding space open because you know it's the right thing to do – for yourself or another – is a gift you can give any time of the year.￼
￼Emelie Rota, Revellish.com and Co-Creator of BrandFlightSchool.com
I'd been toiling in the corporate world for about 10 years, making sporadic (but fairly uncommitted) forays into entrepreneurship — with little success.
I always had to go back to having a “real” job; especially once my husband and I decided to start a family.
But, in the beginning of 2011, I had the faint glimmerings of a business idea that I could sense would really shift things in a positive direction for me and my family.
While working at my full time job, I started developing my side business Revellish. I started to prioritize my own business over tasks from my corporate job as I got the hang of social networking and online marketing.
By summer, I knew I was going to have to choose to stay safe and put Revellish on the back burner, OR say no to my corporate job (which by the way, I had grown to hate) and LEAP into an unknown and non-guaranteed world.
I decided to say YES to my dream and NO to the dishwater gray corporate life that no longer fit my vibrant lifestyle.
I left my job. Gave up medical benefits. Completely freaked out my in-laws. Ha!
Immediately – the space emptied by my 9-5 job filled with loving clients who were eager to both support my dream AND hire me to help them achieve theirs.
By saying no to the conventional path, I've opened up countless opportunities and have earned more money in the last 4 months than I earned the first 8 months of this year in my “real” job.
Bad economy? Not for me and my clients!
Kimberly Riggins, Author, Love Your Naked Ass at KimberlyRiggins.com
A little over three years ago, I shut down my wellness practice, quit my second job, had a baby and decided I was no longer going to settle for the status quo. I was tired.
I was fed up trying to conform to everyone else's expectations and made the decision, right then and there, that if I ever ventured into business again, it would be on my own terms. I would do things my way and I would stay authentic and true to my passion and my voice. No exceptions.
Today, I am living proof that this is possible and it has had profound effects on my life, both personally and professionally. My values are now crystal clear, my complicated relationships have shifted, and most of my dreams are becoming a reality.
I now run a business I love, I wrote and published my first book and I am sharing my message with the world each and every day without apologizing for who I am or what I stand for. Life can't get much better than that.
Johnny B. Truant, Blogger, Revolutionary, JohnnBTruant.com, TheBadAssProject.com
Man, I live my whole life like that. As much as is humanly possible, I will always choose freedom over bondage, and there have been many, many times when I could have opted for a “secure” situation that would have put me into a less free situation than I'd have like.
One I remember was when I was six months into grad school. I'd trained my whole academic life to be a professional biochemist, and that was the only career path I'd considered. I'd graduated summa cum laude, been given a fellowship position at Case Western in Cleveland, and was being paid (not well, but paid) to get my PhD.
I was heavily invested, here. I really had no other options.
But it sucked. It wasn't for me. I had an hour plus commute each way, I didn't like the environment, and the people were nothing like me. I spent no time at home and spent a lot of my day counting fruit flies. So I quit. With zero prospects and zero idea of what I'd do, I just quit.
I remember freaking out about that and wondering what could possibly happen to make things work out, but I've always believed that they do.
So I had faith and was patient. And slowly, a few writing jobs here and there opened up, and within another six months I was making $60k/year as a freelance writer and web guy, working from home.
There was no possibility of that before I quit, and I never saw it coming. But I made the choice, said “No” to the only career I knew of, and when I jumped, the net appeared.
Marie Forleo, Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, BootieShaker at MarieForleo.com
When I was still working at Mademoiselle and just starting to build my coaching practice on the side, I was called into the HR office at Conde Nast. There was a job opening at Vogue Magazine.
It was one of those “opportunities of a lifetime” when you're just starting out.
It was a huge, proverbial fork in the road.
Take the “dream” fashion job, or turn it down to and pursue this new, at the time, weirdo coaching business.
I turned down Vogue and it was crystal clear that I really wanted to start my own business – NOW.
I quit my cushy, full-time job shortly after and started bartending to make ends meet while I started to build my own business.
Phew! That’s a whole lotta NO’S leading to some pretty amazing life breakthroughs. This is why I chose these amazing folks. I love each and every one of them for something unique they brought to my life, work, or all of the above.
Feeling pumped up to reveal a no you want to say? Email me if it’s something you don’t want getting back to your boss…OTHERWISE…let’s pony up people. Share 1 big no you could make right now…that you suspect would lead to at least 1 door opening.
Jump over here for Part 2 of The Most Important Word You Say This Year when some of the featured Nay-sayers will be Laura Roeder, Lisa Wilder, Lisa V, a maybe a surprise or 2!
Hope you enjoyed! Please share with your friends, colleagues and any overwhelmed entrepreneurs you know who should be saying more of this 2 letter word.