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How often do you say no?


Image by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

I say no… a lot.


Hold that thought.


What things do you wish you had said no to recently?

Write down whatever comes to mind and put it to the side for now.


I say no a lot, and here is why.


I want to be world-class at one thing - to be an executive coach and trusted partner who helps people make a bigger impact and strive for answers to create the changes they need to succeed.


With that goal in mind, I regularly exercise the skill of saying no to ensure I remain focused and cut out distractions.


  • I limit how many clients I work with consecutively. I want to be the best, not the busiest coach.

  • I protect time to prepare for upcoming coaching sessions, not start each new client conversation needing time to refresh my thoughts.

  • I review and reflect straight after every coaching session and avoid coaching back to back, leaving little time to unpack.

  • I engage with people who challenge my thinking, not those who always agree with me.

  • I invest in my knowledge and skills to continuously improve, stretch myself, and not allow my craft to dull and steadily lose its edge.

  • I have my own coach to help me recharge, reflect and confront issues that arise, so I don't fill myself up from absorbing client concerns.

  • I exercise regularly and sleep well, not allowing my mind to be adversely impacted by my body.

  • I coach people at optimal thinking times and say no to coaching at times when people are rarely at their best.


Each no is aligned with my aim to help my clients turn conversations about possibilities and strategies into tangible action and results.


Do you see how this applies to your challenges or the opportunities ahead for you?


Are you focused on the things that will enable you to take the right action and create the changes you need to succeed, or have you become unfocused?


The most successful people I work with are experts at saying no so that they remain focused on their top priorities. Contrast this with the common theme that holds many people back: they have, over time, become unfocused, often leading to a sense of stuckness. Common symptoms of being unfocused:


  • A packed calendar with no room to breathe.

  • Neglect in essential parts of your life like family, relationships, and health.

  • Underinvestment in self-development.


Because in today's world, saying no is a skill you have to learn again and again to remain focused on the best things for your career or business.



🏋️ Challenge: Exercising your saying no skill.


Look back at the list of things you recorded earlier and want to say no to.

  • Ask yourself, what do you want to be world-class at?

  • With that in mind, what will you now add to or remove from your stop-doing list to help you to become world-class?

  • These things could either be to stop doing something or delegate or outsource for others to do instead.

  • Starting small increases the chance of successfully forming new habits, therefore creating changes that endure.

  • Identify three things from your list. Start with small and low-risk ones. Now give yourself permission to say no in service of your aim to be world-class and start to implement these changes.

Stop watch with second hand point to the words STOP DOING.

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