when to say yes. how to say no.

there are stages in your biz journey where you are probably going to say yes to everything.

i know i do.

when i first started my photography biz i said yes to every client inquiry. i wanted to earn money, and i wanted to build my portfolio. and in doing so i was able to get real clear real quick about the kind of work i wanted to do & the kind of people i wanted to work with. then i had to start saying no.

when i first started this blog i said yes to everything that came my way. i wasn’t sure where this blog would go and saying yes was a great way to find out what my strengths and gifts were, what i could really offer to people. then i had to start saying no.

this past year i had goal of doing more live teaching – at conferences, workshops, online events etc. i said yes to every opportunity i came across. i wanted to gain experience, as well as testimonials, and i wanted to learn what was involved. then i had to start saying no.

there is a time (and reason) to say yes.

there are a whole lot of times (and reasons) to say no.

  • you don't have time.
  • you've got to focus on other stuff.
  • it won’t help your business.
  • it won't earn money.  
  • it won’t be fun or feel great or make a difference to someone.
  • it’s just not your thing.
  • it’s not the work you long to do or the people you long to work with.
  • it’s not the right time.
  • it’s not good enough.
  • your time is valuable. 
  • time is money. 
  • your gut says no. 

i know i will still have lots of times when i will say yes to everything, at least for a little while. but i also i know that i have go to learn to say no too. (you learn from all of those yeses, don’t you!)

but i know myself, my instinct is usually to say yes. so here is what i am working on:

1. if it’s not a HELL YES! it’s a no. i love this advice from marie forleo, and say this little mantra in my head often. click here to tweet it. or click here to facebook share it.

not only is this helping me to say no, but it's really helping me to figure out what a hell yes looks like. it might be part of a goal i am trying to achieve, it might be because of people i really want to work with, it might be because it sounds super fun. 

2. i don’t answer right away. i figure if it is a hell yes i won’t be able to resist answering right away! for everything else, if i wait a day or two i am usually more able to listen to my gut and say no.

(and i find i really do need to work on this... my instinct to say yes is sooooo strong, and i often feel bad saying no! but when i don't listen to my gut i usually regret it. right?)

3. resisting the urge to defend or explain myself. it is ok to just say no. this one is harder, it can be really tough to know how to say no in just the right way.

i love this list of 25 badass ways to say no from justine musk.

and marie forleo has some great scripts for saying no to clients and saying no to people who want to pick your brain.

is there something you need to say no to right now? or at least more often? what’s a HELL YES! for you?