saying “no” for success

FEBRUARY WALLPAPER. Click here to download the full-size wallpaper seen above.

Good morning and happy Valentine’s Day! My weekend was a special one thanks Mr. Lively. And I hope you have a great day planned doing something you love.

Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a tangible rise in attention and awareness about Jess LC and MML. It’s been a fantastic shift which has brought forth many positive opportunities. And I’m incredibly thankful.

But to be honest, I’ve recently been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the attention and sheer volume of requests via MML and Jess LC. The number of people reaching out for all sorts of things has reached a level where I’m no longer comfortable. Saying yes to every opportunity (though I’d like to), is not a responsible use of my time or resources. I know this objectively, rationally. I am only one person juggling a blog with a bustling business. We are only one small jewelry shop of a jewelry maker, a jewelry designer, and two interns. There is only so much that is possible.

But if I’m continuing to be honest, I am afraid that if I start saying no, setting policies, and boundaries people are going to be upset.

I’m really afraid people will be mad if I say “no.”

And the truth is that this fear of rejection, if allowed to continue, urges me to shrink from the light and fade away. If I stop trying to grow, I will not disappoint anyone because I can say yes to almost everything all the time. Staying small means saying yes is easy. Growing means “yes to everything” isn’t always feasible or healthy.

Though staying put in life would certainly be a safe choice, and absolve me from my fear of rejection, it would also avoid any chance of actually doing more good by growing the business and blog to help more people.

With these considerations in mind, I have been wrestling over the past few days with the idea of setting boundaries and policies to protect myself from burnout and the fear of disappointing people. When thinking back to the vision I have for my life, I see a lot of excitement, helping, and growing personally and professionally. But in order for this to happen, I need to recognize and foster my own well-being. Boundaries regarding requests will help me feel comfortable in my life to feel safe so that I can create and help people in ways that are most important to me personally.

At the end of my life, I will not be asking anyone else if I did the right thing or said yes to the right opportunities. I will ask myself if I enjoyed the decisions I made and helped others as best as I could. I am responsible for enjoying my life and fostering an environment that I love and has personal meaning.

Further, the people making requests and reaching out to me want to know that I am 100% committed to the decisions I make. They aren’t trying to bully me into things I do not feel comfortable with. They want me to enjoy my life as well. And though each specific request I get in and of itself is not usually large enough to make me feel overwhelmed, the volume of all requests has hit a point that isn’t possible to say yes to everything any longer. Plain and simple.

I think (or hope) that over time these new policies and boundaries will be easily adopted by myself and the people who reach out. Perhaps what is most enlightening about this realization is that when designing a life with intention it’s as important to say “no” as it is to say “yes.”

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  1. Saying no is extremly hard, and even harder if you think that by saying no you miss an opportunity.

    But saying no is essential for respecting yourself. One can only expect to be respected if she/he respects herself/himself. Also, if you learn how to say no, you can tackle better those situations when you get a ‘no’. I know you make very responsible decisions, so I am sure you will see quickly how important and positive decision you just made.

  2. kate.

    This post was extremely helpful. Thank you very much. I’ve been really struggling with getting started and following through on things that I want to be and do. I think you sum it up perfectly, my fear to grow. I’ve had practice in saying no and setting up boundaries so I feel comfortable there (for now). But, I think I need more practice in the flip side of this, saying yes to myself. This post really put it in perspective for me. Thanks for that!

  3. Lori

    Saying ‘no’ is very hard, especially if you think you are going to hurt someone. That’s where I have often struggled. Am I going to hurt that person’s feelings. But from a very personal place and watching someone very close to me struggle to a point of self-destruction, it is important to keep a balance of saying ‘no’ to keep yourself in a safe place and people will understand. You may not think so at the time, but they will. I’ve learned that people are more understand than we tend to think. 🙂 And as you grow there will be more opportunities than you can think of. You are doing great. And btw, I loved your Eversave coupons and got some for myself! 😉

  4. Say “yes” to NO! Last year, I kept a “no tally” to help remind myself of all the times I was able to say no for my benefit. It was hard at first, because I don’t like to miss an opportunity. In the end, I was able to reduce my stress.

  5. I feel relieved to see that I’m not the only one that struggles with this. I can’t even count how many times I’ve taken on more than I can handle because of discomfort with saying no. It’s definitely a process but being assertive and speaking up for your self is so important for all women I think. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Sarah

    I think this is such a relevant post for EVERYONE, not just business owners. I needed to hear this right now 🙂

  7. Such a great topic! I’m starting to enter this realm now with Rue. As a new business, you’re eager to say “yes” to everything, but as you grow and the requests do it, I’ve found it’s smart to be more selective on what you say “yes” too. Though I’m always happy to help as many people as possible, I have to make sure it’s a wise use of Rue’s time, resources, and energy.

    Thanks for prompting me to reflect on that!

  8. 17Perth

    This is a great post. One that I think many people think about, but may not talk about. Thank you for putting it “out there” and for being so honest. It is great to stop and reflect on these things and gain some perspective on the bigger picture.

  9. Jess

    Thank you for your thoughts, everyone! I am so glad I’m not the only person working on this! I love the idea mentioned that we will get used to hearing “no” more ourselves and understand as we get better at doing it for our own best interest! Brilliant!

  10. Kelly

    I have a lot of trouble saying no to requests, as well. This post made me feel a lot better, knowing I’m not alone in that struggle!

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