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Saying No to Say Yes

I said no to an opportunity today. A kind and gracious no, but a no nevertheless.

At face value, you might think I should have said yes. I thought the same thing, too. Who would say no to being a featured speaker at an event for 40+ people? A business development opportunity that is yours for the taking!

And at first, the idea excited me. I was asked to talk about reinventing myself and while I feel like I’ve done that successfully, it’s also always nice to hear someone else validate your experience. Knowing that my story resonated with them in some way and they deemed it valuable to share with others was empowering. Plus–let’s be honest–it’s totally flattering and an ego boost when you’re asked to share your story.

But…I don’t love public speaking. I don’t even like public speaking. It’s more accurate to say we’re barely on speaking terms. Before speaking events, I’m a ball of nerves. I put a tremendous amount of energy and time into creating my content, which means this opportunity is hours of work–creating content, practicing delivery, and managing anxiety. It’s a LOT.

Knowing that every yes is a no to something else, I started to think about what I could miss out on by saying yes to something I didn’t feel jazzed to do.

This yes was a no to more time working with individual clients. That is the heart of my work. Working one-on-one with clients is what I love and what truly drives my journey in coaching. The time and energy needed for this event meant less time and energy for individual coaching clients.

This yes was a no to more time writing. I love writing and it’s one of the ways I best connect with my network, current, and potential clients. So when I thought about speaking as a business development opportunity, I realized writing brought me so much more success and connection. A truer version of me shows up in my writing and in turn, attracts more of the clients I want to support.

This yes was a no to a faster rollout of small group programs. Empowering new leaders and bringing ground-level diversity, equity, and inclusion work brings my purpose and expertise into alignment. My small group programs will create more impact than a group speaking engagement could.

This yes was a no to the commitment to myself and my family. I became an entrepreneur for many reasons. Deciding how, when, and where I spend my time is one of the biggest. I want days where I do the type and amount of work that leaves me filled–not drained–so I can be a more present mother and a more present me.

So I declined the offer. And immediately after hitting send on the email, I felt relieved. I knew it was the right decision. I’m grateful I took the time to evaluate the opportunity and ultimately listen to my gut.

Where can you say no to say yes in your life? What things are you doing out of obligation or for reasons other than those that fill your cup? And yes, we all have to do things sometimes we don’t really want to do. But when you have a chance to say no to say yes, I hope you take it.

Journey well, my friends.


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Mar 07, 2023

I love this. I said no recently to an invitation to consult in an HR role. I thought about it for a really long time, but ultimately said no as my new career has me focusing elsewhere. I’m not sure how well my no went over, but it was the right move for me.

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