Sunday, March 12, 2006

Learning How to Say "No"

This morning I was reading an email from a friend and colleague Andrea Lee which challenged some of my thinking. She has a habit of doing that and really well! And then, after a phone call with another friend and colleague in New York, I started to smile as two of my dilemmas were solved; the first being what to write in my blog this week and secondly, that sometimes one has to look at the opposite of what’s right in front of you in order to grow.

Susan, in NY chuckled and told me I was destined to experience all these opportunities once I started hanging out more with Andrea Lee. I don’t have to be in the same room as Andrea for her to twist me into a pretzel. She makes one statement and that translates into 100 opportunities for me, all of which historically come knocking at my door the same month! Thank you SO much Andrea.

Andrea eloquently wrote “As the owner of a business that inspires for a living, I know without a doubt that you are here to elevate the lives of people you serve. What have you been saying no to, and what would happen if you said yes? Try saying yes instead, even if you don't know how it will unfold. Just try.

My dilemma came when I was saying yes to too many things and people. I had to learn to say no in order to free up time to be able to say yes to what would help me evolve in my practice and life. I went from trying to define the shape and direction I thought my business should go towards to, as Susan said “Opening windows and letting things come to me”. Oh they came to me all right. I had think tanks, book opportunities, guest lecture bookings and clients knocking on my door all in one fell swoop. OK so there’s always enough time.


Something has to give…and sleep just isn’t an option.

This taught me many things. I know what my clients live when they are swamped with work and have unrealistic deadlines. As I told my son, I know this is unusual for everything to happen at the same time. I also know rather than get overwhelmed with everything that’s on my plate, to dive in, finish one thing at a time, get it off my plate and move on to the next. Then after I got through this period of crunch time I needed to learn how to say no to what didn’t capture my imagination for the future.

I’m now learning to think with my instincts, looking at what doors will open to me when I say yes. Being bogged down with commitments doesn’t allow time for growth or reflection. Freeing up time and mental space now allows me to think more strategically but in alignment with my intuition. So Andrea, for me, in order to be able to start saying yes, I first had to learn how to say no. Not easy for me, as I love jumping into life with both feet. The difference is now I’m flying and enjoying everything that’s coming my way.

Donna Karlin

By the way, If you need or want to be inspired in your business, go to and read and follow Andrea’s words of wisdom.

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