I’m here to remind you that, sometimes, saying “no” moves the needle forward just as much in your business as saying “yes” does.
How many of us here have said “yes” to a client, a business opportunity, a meeting, etc. when everything in us screamed “DON’T DO IT!!!”? Slow hand raise.
When I first started this business, I was saying “yes” left and right. ‘Tis what you do as a baby business owner. You take on all the clients you can and participate in any business opportunity you can just to get your foot in the door. This trial by fire method helped me to learn the ins and outs of business FAST while I scaled the agency exponentially.
Although the constant “yes’s” were integral to the starting phase of the business, they, eventually, caused more harm than good after the first 6 months of operating the agency. I quickly found myself over-committed, burnt out, exhausted, and miserable. Even though I was delivering quality service to our clients, I had no social life and no time to take care of even my basic needs. Both of which led me to quickly resenting my business. Despite having an externally “successful” business, internally I hated my life and the business I had grown.
But here’s the thing: we all need to learn our growth edges. We need to explore the edges of our own discomfort so we know where to draw the line in the sand.
I knew I wanted to continue to operate the agency, but I knew I had to do things differently if it was going to be a sustainable AND an enjoyable endeavor.
I took my extreme burnout and used it to learn EXACTLY what potential clients to say “yes” to and which to say “no” to. I learned which requests to accommodate and which to hold firm boundaries on. I learned when to listen to my gut even when it opposed logic. I learned what opportunities to engage in and when to pass on the opportunity.
I made “no” my mantra. I allowed discernment to rule my days. And slowly, but surely, I crept out of the burnout and landed in a business that I actually grew to love.
You see, for every misaligned client that I said “no” to, a dream client would land in my lap a few days later. For every boundary I held, the more respect and trust I earned from my team. For every untimely business opportunity that I passed on, another would come my way at the exact perfect time.
Saying “yes” to all the things, all the time was blocking me from the “needle-moving” opportunities that I was so desperately craving. Fear tells us to play small and to just accept what we get (“you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit”). Fear tells us that we need the client or the opportunity even if it is misaligned. Fear tells us to pile on more work despite our bodies shutting down in the process.
I’m telling you to dream bigger. To say “no” to the people and things that your gut is telling you to run from and to hold out for the bigger vision because it will come. I promise you.
The past year, discernment in my business has been my greatest superpower. If my gut says that it is a “no”, I listen. As a result, I’ve been blessed with the most incredible opportunities because I have acted as my whole, worthy Self. When we treat ourselves as whole and worthy, the Universe responds accordingly.
So, my dear friend, what is it that YOU need to say “no” to in order to do more of what you love, with the people you love, while leaving a lasting impact on the communities that matter most to you?
What is it that your heart is whispering “yes” to with each passing heartbeat that you’ve been putting on the backburner just waiting until “the right time?”
Embrace your “yes’s” and abide by your “no’s.” Your business, and your sanity as an entrepreneur, will thank you.