the power of "NO"

It’s about time we collectively embrace the power of “NO” as a full-sentence | who’s with me? 👇🏼

Here’s some food for thought on this happy Thursday: Every single decision is both a “yes” and a “no”. When you say “yes” to one thing, you’re implicitly saying “no” to hundreds of others. In the same way, saying “no” to a distraction gives you enough space to say “yes” to an epic opportunity that’s totally meant for you. As a spontaneous, adventurous, ambitious “yes girl,” this realization flipped my world upside down. Up until a few months ago, my calendar was so cluttered with obligation, “should’s”, and lukewarm yes’s that I barely had space to breathe, much less devote all my attention to the enthusiastic “HECK YES” opportunities that came my way. Not excellent. 🙈 Recently, I’ve been mentoring entrepreneurs who are SO fired up, running on all cylinders, with ideas coming out of their ears…but with scattered attention and eager-to-please mindsets, they were on the road to burnout city. I didn’t need a GPS to track their destination…I knew it by heart because I’ve been there!

So, I hit ‘em with some wisdom from the OG entrepreneur, Steve Jobs:

"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. it means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1000 things." 

We know that 20% of efforts cause 80% of the results across many areas of our life. So, for radical success in each domain — relationships, investments, health, innovation, business — we need to be masters at ruthlessly prioritizing the few things that matter and cutting out everything else. The real threats to our time are not obvious distractions that we know are wrong— the REAL threats are the wolves in sheep’s clothing — activities which make us feel like we’re working hard, but that do not ultimately move the needle. Just like we train at the gym, we’ve gotta start flexing our brains and using our cognitive calories to distinguish between opportunities and often-very-appealing distractions. Then, we take ACTION to optimize our time. Some ideas for you party people?

💥 list out Income Producing Activities (IPAs) for your business on a post-it note near your work space…constantly be checking in. Is what I’m doing right now moving the needle? When was the last time I engaged in an IPA? Is this busy-work or boss-work? 

💥 use your yearly income divided by your working hours to calculate your hourly “rate.” If the mindless tasks that clog up your time could be hired out for less than your rate, start employin’! You need to be in your zone of genius and I’d venture to guess that’s not folding laundry.

💥 add friction/barriers to known distractions. This could be putting your phone on “do not disturb” when you’re in deep focus mode. This could be blocking out productive hours on your calendar and treating them like a prior engagement when your friend invites you to an impromptu lunch date. You know what you need to do.

💥 constantly be collecting ‘data’ and commit to optimization. how do you spend your working hours? what activities were responsible for 80% of your income this month? are the answers to those two questions congruent? Hmm.

💥 know that a no now isn’t a no forever. it’s simply a decision to be hyper-focused when you need to be to make your dent in the universe. With everything, always, balance.

I wanna hear — what are you willing to say ‘no’ to this year to signal your commitment to that burning “yes”?!


A couple other notable people have something to say about the power of “no”:

Warren Buffet said "We need to learn the slow 'yes' and the quick 'no'

Tim Ferriss said "Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough."

Josh Billings said "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”