The Power of “NO”
“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.”Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister
The power of “NO” not only works in leadership as the quote above suggests but also is a valid principle in what I call self-leadership. This principle has helped me double my income, lose 10 pounds, and also heal an old emotional wound and co-create a new loving relationship with a wonderful man who entered my life.
That’s my own example of the power of saying intentionally, “no.”
Imagine what kind of results YOU could create with the power of no.
Do you want to know how and what are the steps? You are in the right place! Keep reading.
Steps to Success by Saying “NO”:
1. Say NO to Settling for Less.
This step is usually the starting point. Often an unpleasant “blessing in disguise”.
If you are not where you want to be, say “no” to you settling for less. Say no to sacrificing your wellbeing for someone else or something else. You may even feel upset, fed up with how things are in your life or business.
I was fed up with blaming my weight on “circumstances.” I was drained by doing consulting and freelancing work that paid well but didn’t fulfill me anymore – I reached a ceiling of where I could grow with those clients, and I felt I was settling for financial safety and killing the flame within me that wanted more. I got upset when I heard from my ex-fiance, who wasn’t “the one.” I got angry at myself for getting triggered by him and allowing myself to get sucked into the memories and still feeling pain.
Believe it or not, that can be a sacred place to be – as it gives you the energy to say finally NO! Enough of that! I want something different! Whether I feel I deserve it or not, I want more out of my life/business!
Have you had those moments in your life when you said NO to settling for less? No to tolerating what harms you, no to sacrificing your wellbeing?
What is it in your life or business that you currently tolerate, or settle for less?
2. Take Full Ownership – Acknowledge What You Have Said “YES” to.
This step is a critical stage in your success journey.
Don’t remain stuck in that angry, frustrated energy of disappointment, feeling self-pity, embarrassment, doubts, self-criticism, feeling like the victim – of circumstances, of bad decisions (of others or your own).
Taking full ownership for your current situation is what will transform the energy into the rocket fuel that gets you off the ground zero (your current position) to a higher level.
How to take full ownership? Ask yourself when you have been saying yes that didn’t support you fully.
I was saying yes to doubts about my abilities. I was listening to fears of not being good enough as a partner. Or just simply not being good enough. Concerns about my success and fears of being rejected (or envied) by people from my past if I had something seemingly better than them were coming up for me without strong objections. I was saying yes to hiding, hiding my body, hiding my success and wins, hiding my aspirations and dreams – sometimes even from myself. I was saying yes to distractions – watching Netflix series, overeating, so I could temporarily silence and “give more food” to the part of myself that wanted more out of life and work.
It was like giving “fast food” to my soul — quick comfort, with detrimental long-term consequences.
What have you been saying yes to that doesn’t serve you and keeps you stuck, playing small, not going 100% after who you aspire to become?
BEWARE: if self-pity comes, give yourself a hug. If blame comes, forgive yourself or others (or say – “I’m willing to learn how to forgive to …”). This stage may be very emotional and sensitive. Treat yourself with kindness – whatever comes up. Whatever wound you see, and feel the pain, make sure you have self-love to support you. If you had something very traumatic happen, or cannot find self-love, please, don’t do this alone. Find someone who can guide you in this exercise, and provide you with the kindness, acceptance, and non-judgment attitude, so you don’t get stuck.
Remember – this is not about blame. This is about discovery, non-judgmental looking at what has happened and what your choices were.
Thank and acknowledge yourself for being so courageous and brave. Thank yourself for looking at what you have agreed to or tolerated in the past. Take a walk, play our favorite song, hug yourself, look at yourself into the mirror and say, “Thank you for your courage. I’m here to support you now and hear you out.” Celebrate your courage. It is not easy. Yet, this step is your first victory in getting unstuck.
3. Commit to Change
Commit to changing what you say yes to going forward.
Ask yourself: “What do you want, compared to what you have?”
It is ok if you are not clear about the details yet. If you don’t believe you can achieve it. Or don’t know how to achieve it.
At this point, I wasn’t sure about the details either. What a new relationship could look like, what a new career direction could look like, what my healthier body could look like. How could I stop hiding behind additional fat and still feel safe? How could I create a safe, loving relationship? What could change so I make even more money and still feel safe?
I committed to doing some “inner work” and not stopping until I have more clarity. I committed to a change, whatever it takes. It was in October, several years back, and I decided to say “yes” to time to myself, yes to journalling, yes to reading, yes to getting more support.
Are you ready to commit to change? If yes, fantastic! To what are you going to say yes?
If not – what is missing? What would need to happen for you to stop settling for less? Stop putting your wellbeing or health last? Stop feeling the way you don’t want to? Seek the answer to this – and see if you find the missing piece that will make your commitment to full 100%.
4. Use the Power of “NO” to Get You to the Next Level
Once you are clear on what you want to say yes to going forward, you are ready to use the power of no.
Get clear on what you are going to say NO to, which will allow you to say yes to YOUR change, and no to staying the same. What are the distractions? What do you need to say no to, and how?
Example: Saying no
For me, I realized I needed to say NO to the invitations to attend holiday parties. No to trips with friends that would have taken up the whole weekend and wouldn’t have allowed me to have just “me time.” I had to say no to overeating so I could say yes to my health.
I had to say no to my fears that I couldn’t do it, and say yes to hope, even miracles. I had to say no to my pride of “being independent” and being able to “do it alone” and had to open up to asking for and receiving any help I could get. And, I said no to freelancing as a jack-of-all-trades, and informed my biggest clients that I was ending our work together in that position.
I was scared but committed to my new yes. So I had to say no to what was not aligned with it.
That year, I chose to spend even December 31st alone. Those two-three months that led to that date, I rested, exercised, ate well, journaled and meditated, and journaled some more. I followed guidance from my mentor and did the recommended exercises to gain more clarity about my next steps. I showed up for my coaching sessions, protected my time and energy any way I could have so I could use it for myself and my change.
Example: Results of saying no
As a result of my inner work, saying no to distractions that wanted to take me away from what I had committed to say yes to – I had some major realizations about myself and more and more clarity and confidence about what I wanted and what I didn’t.
In January, after about three months of fully committing to a change, I lost at least 10 pounds already and felt energized and the most fit I felt in years.
I got a new offer from my biggest client at that time that made the transition smoother for myself as well as them and gave me more money and more time as a result, so I could further grow in my new career direction.
Last but not least, I suddenly started meeting a new type of man. I experienced a healing of the past hurt – and something shifted for me with regards to my ex-fiance. What seemed impossible before, happened. I couldn’t get triggered anymore. I felt that my relationship with him got fully completed. After many years of on-and-off dynamics, I was able to make it “off” for good. In May, I stopped dating, as I was invited to co-create an exclusive relationship with a brilliant, handsome, loving, loyal, and kind man, and I said yes to it!
Can you say what you said no to in your life that moved you to the next level? Or, can you see how being clear on what you say yes to and then what you say NO to so you can honor your yes – is powerful?
Here is a thing – success is like a journey. It is like climbing a hill, and you see, there is a hill even bigger ahead.
Sometimes, we enjoy the momentum from our commitment to change; we can even get some rest on the “top of the hill” or as we go (or slide) “down the hill.” Unless you want to stay there for the rest of your life, there is something again that needs you to change to get you to the next level.
The bad news – it takes a commitment and dedication and effort again. Or, the struggle, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts. Whichever name you give it, without effort, commitment, hard work, focus, and clarity on what you need to say yes to and no to, and being ok with not being comfortable for a while as things change, you will not get to the next level.
The good news – getting to the next level is what gives you the fulfillment in life: the satisfaction, the feeling of being fully alive. Growth is together with a contribution to others, one of the two key universal needs of the human spirit that lead to fulfillment. We all have them and feel their calling.
It’s up to you to choose how and when you answer that calling. And how you use the power of NO that is available to you.
I feel it’s calling. And my new commitment, new yes’s, and no’s, new brave actions that scare the hell out of me, are those that need to answer the calls of my spirit.
If you are at the same spot, let’s do the work together and say no to staying at the same level (see step one in this article), and ask:
“In what areas of my life or business can I grow to the next level?
“What can I change to contribute to others through my growth? How can it be a win-win?”
What have you been saying yes to that got you where you are?
Are you ready to commit to growth & contribution at an even higher level?
If so, what is it that you will say yes to? What do you need to say no to going forward? What support do you need to make that happen? How do you get that support?
What is the smallest step that you can take today towards your next level of growth and contribution?
I know that you can succeed and grow and contribute at the next level. As long as you commit to your new level, create, and improve your support system and put the work in – you WILL grow to the next level.
Trust the process. Take the first step. You are worth it. The results, new experiences, new levels of growth, contribution, and fulfillment are worth it.
If you are not sure where to start or don’t have a solid support system yet, I would be honored to guide you through the process – in a fully non-judgmental, safe, and supportive environment. Where I’m not the expert on your life and what you want – you are. I’m trained and certified in the coaching process that provides the support, structure and safe environment for your development and growth. The power of coaching is in helping you see and discover for yourself and take your own steps – and gain more confidence, clarity, and satisfaction – as you grow and contribute. So, tell me… what are you going to say yes and NO to?
Many people support my own success journey – and I wouldn’t be able to support others without it. I wouldn’t be able to grow and contribute at the next level either.
Regardless if we work together more closely or not, I know that you can grow and contribute at the next level. And if you follow the steps outlined above, you will.
With my big gratitude to those who support me and appreciation for everyone that is already on, or is preparing for, or repeating the journey to growth and contribution at the next level – Lucie
© LUCIE TESAROVA, MA, BCC – Founder of Consult to Success