Blog – Live Your Legend
Blog – Live Your LegendHow to Find Your ‘No’ So You Can Start Saying ‘Yes!’ to What Actually Matters7-Step Process to Help Make Difficult Decisions (and the #1 Thing That You Must Know to Make Any Decision Easy!)5 Unusual Ways to Get Paid Doing What You Love (Even If You’re Not an Expert Yet!)
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“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” –John C. Maxwell
Have you ever struggled with saying no to someone or something? Are there particular people in your life where “yes” comes flying out of your mouth before you even stop to think about what you actually want? And have you ever felt resentful after saying yes to something that ended up compromising what was truly important to you?
Most of us have been there too because generally speaking saying yes is easy. Saying no, well, that takes a little more courage!
But why is it so hard to say no when we’re talking about sacrificing things that actually matter to us? It can be things like:
- Fear of being rejected or thought poorly of by others
- Worrying that the other person won’t like you anymore or badmouth you
- A belief that we are being selfish if we say no
- Fear of conflict with others
- Wanting to be “nice” and seen as someone who contributes selflessly to others (even if we resent saying yes and contributing!)
- Attaching your self-worth to how many things you do for others
- Because you allow other people’s priorities to become your own priorities (for reasons above)
- Others start to get used to you saying yes all the time, making finding your no even more challenging.
Plus we have mostly been trained from a very young age that saying no is wrong or not okay. How many times did your parents get angry at you if you said no to doing something? Did you get sent to your room or grounded? Many of us have been stripped of our permission to say no from very early on.
So it’s no wonder that many of us have lost the art of saying no. But it’s not all bad news, because saying no is just like a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while. You can still train it back into shape!
And even if you are actually quite practiced at saying no, on the flipside are you actually saying yes to the things you really want? Are you going after what matters to you? Or are you simply saying no to everything out of a different kind of fear or resistance? Only you can know…
Tips for Saying No & Making Room for What Matters
“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” –Tony Blair
Not saying no has a far greater impact than one might think, and one that compounds with time—because when we can’t say no we stop focusing on what matters to us and we stop prioritizing what we want for our lives. Additionally, saying yes all the time to please others is actually incredibly fake, builds resentment, and is a complete disservice to those you are saying yes to, when really you want to say no.
So, for now we want to share some tips with you that will help get your “no”-muscle back into shape so that you can speak your truth, go after what matters to you, be responsible for living a life you love, reclaim your lost power, and actively choosing how you spend your days going forward.
1. Give yourself permission to say no
A while back we covered off on how to start giving yourself permission to live a life you want. And similarly here you will need to start to unravel years of social conditioning by allowing yourself the permission to actually dust off your “no” and start using it when appropriate.
How to do it:
- Start the process by saying out loud: “I give myself permission to say ‘no’ when it’s right for me.”
- You may very well need to repeat this phrase multiple times until you actually start to believe it.
2. Allow yourself space between stimulus and response
The quality of your response to a request is directly correlated to the amount of space you allow yourself to consider the request. In other words, if you are feeling like you are in a real pressure cooker to answer yes or no, then it’s highly likely you will give a response that is not high quality (aka, not true for you). So instead you need to carve out some space to reply and make sure you can: a) remind yourself of the permission you have from step 1; and b) be powerful to respond in the best way possible for you.
How to do it:
- When someone makes a request of you, you can use the following phrases to create the space you need:
- Thanks so much for asking. I’m going to sleep on it so that I can give your request the thought it deserves.
- That sounds interesting. I just need to check in with xyz person (my husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend, business partner, parents, financial advisor, accountant, etc.)
- You know, I’m just not in a position right now to know whether or not that’s going to work for me. When do you need an answer from me?
3. Two sides of the same coin: A yes is a no & a no is a yes
Yes and No are two sides of the same coin. It is important to remember that whenever you say yes, it means that you are saying no to something else. And whatever you say no to, you are saying yes to something else.
At first it might not be that obvious, but when we both realized that in saying yes to working with clients at all hours of the day/night early on in our business building we were actually saying no to our husbands and kids. That’s when sh*t got real! Once you’ve created that time between stimulus and response, now you can actually get present to what the two sides of the coin actually are.
- Saying yes to helping a friend moving house = saying no to unwinding and meditating
- Saying yes to working late = saying no to family time
- Saying no to something outside of your comfort zone = saying yes to staying small or stuck
- Saying yes to an expensive holiday = saying no to saving for your kid’s college
- Saying yes to meeting with someone for an hour = saying no to your planned exercise routine
How to do it:
- Bring awareness to the fact that there is always a flip side
- Start to get clear on what each side of that coin looks like. Write out what you are saying no to but saying yes—and vice versa.
- Decide if you are ok with the flip side—this will powerfully inform your decision-making (which we covered last week) by allowing you to recognize which of your decisions aligns better with your values.
4. Deliver your no powerfully
So now that you’ve given yourself permission, allowed yourself that all important space between stimulus and response, and realized that yes and no are two sides of the same coin, it’s now time to powerfully deliver your no. You have done the groundwork and now it’s time to get into action—which can initially be very daunting.
Many people are probably quite used to you saying yes, so be prepared for a reaction that is not quite so favorable if and when you say no! But it’s important to stand your ground and allow the other person to have their thoughts and feelings.
How to do it:
- Keep in mind why you are saying no and what you will be saying yes to as a result
- Let the person know at your earliest convenience
- Keep it short and communicate with powerful language like:
- Thank you so much for inviting me to X, I’ve given it careful consideration and on this occasion I will pass.
- I so appreciate you thinking of me for X, after some thought I realized that I’m simply not in a position right now to commit.
- I realize how important X is to you so it was important to me that I gave this proper time and thought. It’s a no from me, but I wanted to wish you luck with finding the right opportunity/person/partner.
And whatever you do, be sure not to:
- Apologize for saying no!
- Launch into all sorts of reasons to justify your no (it will dilute your message and possibly open the door for them to push the matter and convince you).
- Be untruthful and lie.
- Say “Okay, let me think about it,” if it’s clear in your mind that you don’t want to do it. This will just draw out the whole situation probably making you feel even more stressed and waste the other person’s time. The sooner they get your no the sooner they can move on and find a yes.
And one final rule to remember—as Derek Sivers put so well:
5. “If it’s not a hell yes! It’s a no.”
Because life’s too short to sacrifice yourself and your dreams for things that simply aren’t a priority for you. So the more you can practice saying “no thanks” to the things that otherwise would not be on your radar, the more you can find the “Hell Yeses” for the things that, when focused on, will bring you more passion, fulfillment, aliveness and joy!
Ready to start taking back control of what you want and get out of your own way? Then let us know in the comments below one thing you otherwise would have said yes to, but will now say no!
–Leah & Naz
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“Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.” –Unknown
Decisions, decisions, decisions… how many of you have ever felt decision fatigue? Or felt a little stuck in the decision-making process? I sure know I have!
So earlier this year, when I attended a 5-day financial planning seminar where I heard from speakers such as George W. Bush, T. Boone Pickens, Peter Diamantis and Tony Robbins, aside from my head really hurting from all the discussions on investments, the economy and asset classes, I was surprised to find that one of the topics that kept coming up was how these incredibly successful leaders went about making decisions—many of which took place under tremendous pressure—such as 9/11, the 2008 stock market crash and being on the verge of bankruptcy.
Hearing those circumstances makes your decision seem a little less stressful, doesn’t it?!
Yet, there is no doubt that decision making can be tough—especially if and when you feel like you are making a decision between two evils. But true leaders, the people who stand out from the rest, are the ones who act and decide instead of crumble in the face of needing to make a decision. These are the people who thrive and survive no matter what chaos is happening around them.
So, while I still have a long way to go—today I’d like to share a decision-making process that I use when making tough decisions. I do this often (in both business and with personal decisions) to make sure I am acting in alignment and with intention.
Constantly checking in with why and how you make your decisions will ensure that you don’t wake up 5 years from now and wonder how the heck you got where you are!
So let’s dive right into the 7-step process (alongside some fun stories) that I use anytime I am faced with a big decision.
7-Step Process to Help Make Any Decision
1. Write Out Your Values and/or Priorities
“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.” –Roy E. Disney
When you know your values, decisions become incredibly easy! But sometimes it takes revisiting what your values are to bring that easy decision to light.
For example, at Live Your Legend, we get approached often with affiliate and partnership offers. If we choose to participate in them, it might bring in some extra cash, but that’s not in alignment with our values at Live Your Legend.
Our core values at Live Your Legend are:
- Service, and
So if someone on the LYL team has not personally used a product (and seen massive results!), we won’t suggest it to you.
This means we turn down a lot of offers! And, sure, it would be easy to think about making a few extra bucks, but integrity, offering the best of the best and adding massive value to all of you matters to us over profit. Sometimes things are tempting but then I ask myself, why do I want to do this? If it is driven by a financial incentive, it quickly becomes very easy to say no.
And generally when a decision “doesn’t feel right” (see point 5 below!) it is because that decision came from a place that isn’t in line with your core values or priorities.
On the flip side, when you make a decisions from an intentional place—a place aligned with who you (or your organization) are—that is when you can look at that decision and say “no matter how it turns out, at least I approached this from a place of value,” meaning you are welcome to the lesson you learn from it… however that may look.
2. Know Your Intended Outcome
“If you don’t know what you are looking for, you are never going to find it.” –Scott Dinsmore
Oftentimes decisions become easy when you have a clear outcome—and you save yourself a ton of wasted time!
I approach most things I go into (especially meetings, calls, etc.) with that question: What is my outcome? I even prepared for my World Domination Summit keynote by starting with that question.
Not only does knowing your outcome create space for a very intentional decision, it also helps keep you focused. For example, we hold a monthly team call at LYL and the outcome is always to celebrate what happened the past month, discuss what we could have done better (think one “keep” and one “grow”) and then discuss the main objective or project we are working on for the next month. In keeping that simple structure, it allows us to stay on track with what really matters instead of get lost in the details.
I also take this approach as I plan my week by writing out the three things that MUST get done that week to tick the needle a little further forward. Three is always a doable number no matter what I am doing and has allowed me to be insanely productive with this business this year, despite all the personal processing and travel that I have done.
It is easy to get analysis paralysis when you have too many things on your plate—so simplify. Easier said than done, I know, but that’s why starting with the end in mind is a great way to get you more directly from point A to point B.
3. List Out Your Options (3–5 minimum)
“Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.” –Seneca
Too often we limit ourselves to thinking there are only two options in any given situation—but if you get creative enough, you will likely realize that you have a lot more options than you think! A short story…
A few years ago, Scott and I were invited to two weddings—one that took place in New York on Friday and in Carmel, CA on Saturday.
Originally, it may have appeared that we had to pick one or the other, but we didn’t limit ourselves to that thinking. Instead we gave ourselves a third option—to go to both! How, you ask? We didn’t really know—but once it was an available option, it was on the table.
To make a long story short, we showed up in New York on Friday, made the wedding and instead of staying where the wedding was outside the city, we drove to an airport hotel that night so we could catch the first flight out of JFK on Saturday. We arrived to SFO around noon and drove to Carmel as soon as we landed.
Were we under-slept? Yes. Did we barely have time to shower and freshen up? Yes. Did I wear the same dress to two weddings two nights in a row? Yes. But none of those things mattered when we saw the look on the bride and groom’s faces as we got to witness the best day of their lives.
The point is: there are always more options than you think. Write out all the options you can think of, especially the things that seem kinda crazy! At a very minimum, list out 3 (if not more) options.
4. Determine What Is Guiding Your Decision and Eliminate All Shoulds!
“Good decisions don’t come from self-delusion—they come from ruthless self-knowledge and brutal honesty.” –Jonathan Fields
Self-analyze and decide if you are approaching your decisions from a place of fear or from a place of love. I have spent a ton of time this year practicing listening to my heart instead of my head. Which causes me to do things that don’t always appear “logical”—but I’ve decided logic isn’t the place I want to lead from. And as a result of that, I have had some pretty crazy “coincidences.”
As I mentioned in a post I did a while back, when I was at a transition in my career, I got accepted to a very reputable program to get my Masters in Public Health but instead chose to get my yoga certification. Definitely not the logical step in some people’s minds! But at the time, I was far more excited about yoga than I was about Public Health.
My head was telling me school was the practical choice, but my heart was telling me that it had a passion and interest in yoga. In short, the idea of a master’s degree was what I thought I should do to be successful, but my heart felt differently.
And while I don’t teach yoga anymore, it led me down a path to discovering and landing my dream job that I stayed in for nearly 5 years—until I began to discover that as I grew, my dreams grew, too. So I moved on to something new.
So, how do you listen to your heart, you ask? Good question! As it is something we often get taught to stop doing as we grow up.
The best way to start listening to your heart is to become hyper self-aware. This means recognizing feelings instead of mental chatter. When you start trying to talk yourself out of something… “Well, that doesn’t make sense? What would so-and-so think of me? I could never do that…” that’s generally you trying to use logic to rationalize why you shouldn’t do something you actually want to do at some level!
So, if you find yourself trying to talk yourself out of something, dig into that, because it means there is something at some level that you want to do in the first place!
And the only things you shouldn’t do are the things you think you should do!
Because, not a single person is better for it—you, or the people you are around you!
5. Determine Which of These Options Aligns Best with Your Values/Priorities
“Life lived by choice is a life of conscious action. A life lived by chance is a life of unconscious reaction.” –Neale Donald Walsch
I have always believed it is an incredible honor to be asked to attend a wedding. Anyone who has been married knows that creating the guest list is one of the most challenging tasks! And I was married before most of my friends since Scott and I met so young—so I decided early on that I would do my very best to attend as many weddings as I was invited to.
Therefore, you can see that in the example above, sleep and being at my best wasn’t my priority, it was being present at an important day for people that meant something to me. There were years this led me to going to double digit weddings in a single year (and multiple back-to-back weddings in different cities). That meant I had to say no to other things—family obligations at home or traveling to places I maybe would have personally chosen instead of where a wedding brought me—but because my priority was to honor the honor of being invited, it was never once a tough decision.
6. Narrow Down to Two Options, Then Ask: How Would I Feel if I Did X Versus X? Would I Regret Not Doing X?
“You’ll never regret doing a little more living.” –Scott Dinsmore
Once again, tapping into the logical or societally acceptable thing to do, is when you are listening to all that is around you instead of what it is that you actually want to do. However, in order to ever be fulfilled by doing something, you must actually want to do it.
I hear people all the time say they go to things because they feel obligated. Why do they feel obligated? Because they want to appear a good person, a good employee, a good family member, etc. But the problem is, if you don’t actually find a way to want to be there, you won’t really be there at all—which just wastes everyone’s time! So in my opinion you have two options:
- Create a compelling reason to want to go (that matters to you)
- Don’t go!
I don’t mean to sound harsh here. I am all about attending things that matter to people. I do it all the time. I actually say yes more than most! But I can do so without the “should” or obligation because I genuinely see an opportunity in every experience—that is true and honest to me.
I also actually like supporting others’ endeavors when I can—which means I don’t then come home and complain about going—because I do actually want to go!
So ask yourself the following three questions:
- How would I feel if I did X? Strung out, tired, bored? Or excited, enthusiastic, curious?
- How would I feel if I didn’t do X? Relieved, relaxed, refreshed? Guilty, like I was missing out, unsupportive?
- And most importantly, would I regret not doing X? This generally tends to make a decision pretty clear, as regret is a powerful motivator. And remember, the more you know yourself, understand your values, what matters to you, etc. the more clear these answers become! And that is why becoming a self-expert is the first step in living life on purpose!
One huge red flag: if you find yourself complaining about something (especially before it’s even taken place), you need to either align with it or do yourself and everyone a favor and not do it.
7. If the Answer Is Still Not Clear, Stay Curious Because It Will Force You to Get Creative!
“Curiosity cultivates creativity.” –Chelsea Dinsmore
One of the main lessons I shared in my World Domination Summit keynote was the power of staying curious and turning statements into questions. If you ever find yourself at a crossroads, at a stopping point, or stuck somewhere, it’s often not a lack of resources but rather a lack of being creative.
For example, there are many times over the last year of running LYL, where I have simply wanted to throw my hands up in the air and say, “This is too much! I can’t.” But thankfully, I have instilled a practice of turning those statements into questions.
When my mind says: “This is too much,” I instead ask: “Why does this feel like too much?” (i.e., what is this really tapping into—my fear of failure, my ego, etc.?) or “Who might I be able to ask for help?” or “What else could I do?”
When my mind says: “I can’t,” I instead ask: “If you could, what would be your smallest next step?” or “Why is this important to you?”
When you question not what you can do, but why it is important to you, the answers start to reveal themselves. Because when you stay curious, instead of closed off, possibilities that you otherwise might not see start to appear…
And it is by taking advantage of those possibilities that you start to move from the ordinary to the extraordinary!
I hope this decision-making process helps you find some ease in a big decision you might be facing.
We’d love to hear in the comments below a big decisions you’re dealing with and the tips you used to get over decision indecision.
Here’s to acting (and deciding) with intention,
P.S. Knowing your values is the most important factor in making intentional decisions which is why we dive deep into the topic in our Live Off Your Passion course. Check it out to get guided through the process of actually discovering your values.
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