My Year of "No."

By now, we've all heard of Shonda Rhimes' book, 'Year of Yes.'

Though I have never read the book, when I first heard her discuss it, I was all-in and a true believer: Say yes to things that come your way. Say yes to opportunities, yes to your future--and yes to everything that scares you.

Actually, I lived it. I said 'yes' to every single thing that scared me, beginning when I accepted the job at Snap Kitchen. From traveling by myself; to accepting a role with a start-up, with a future less secure than the offers I turned down; to speaking in public, live TV interviews and even group runs. It was an incredibly successful two years for me. I said 'yes' to volunteering opportunities, too, such as Professional Women's Roundtable and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. My schedule was packed, my brand was out there--and I was facing my fears.

When I started my own business, my year(s) of 'yes' continued--only this time, I wasn't getting the same results as before. Here I was, saying 'yes' to clients that reached out to me, 'yes' to promotional opportunities, and 'yes' to a full schedule and no down time. I said ‘yes’ to every person who wanted to pick my brain. ‘Yes’ to all of the requests for ‘more information’ when I submitted proposals, only to have the prospective client take my ideas and run. I even said ‘yes’ to rates that were well below what I knew I was worth.

The last straw came when I volunteered for something that scared me to death. I wanted to challenge myself, and it was for a great cause. After it was all over, I didn’t leave feeling excited and empowered. I left thinking, “that’s something I’ll never volunteer to do again.”

So ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary individuals: From now on, 2019 is my year of ‘no.’

From invitations to submit a proposal for a client that does not align with my goals; to taking on too much just to please other people; to invitations to events, meetings, and gatherings that would cost me a bit of my sanity.

It’s OK to say ‘no.’

It’s OK to prioritize yourself, your family and your schedule.

It’s OK to not accept a client that doesn’t align with your goals or values.

It’s OK to turn down a volunteer position, and it doesn’t make you a bad or selfish person.

It’s OK to do nothing on a night that you're “supposed” to be doing something, because what does that mean, anyway?

So it’s decided…my year of no. Any tips from those who have been in my shoes? Leave them in the comments!