My lovely colleague Vanessa Francis posted this to her Instagram today:

This resonated with me big time this morning. Saying "no" is a skill that has taken me a really long time to learn. But what I have learned is that saying no really means saying yes to much more: to happiness, to sanity, to living with intention. So if saying no for you is a difficult thing (let me tell you it still is for me) here are some strategies to help you say no with more freedom:


In order to say no with intention you kind of have to know why you would say no to it. One big catalyst for me to say no more freely was knowing my strengths. I did a Strengths Finder assessment a few years ago, and did some further coaching in it more recently, and it was super duper revelatory. One thing it showed me is that I am really good at 2-hour interior design consultations. In a 2-hour consult I am able to use my empathy, strategy, input and relator strengths (that is 4 our of my top 5 people!) to help people make the best out of their home. Strengths Finder also shows you pretty glaringly what you are not good at- I have used my assessment as a filter for what to delegate or simply decline. 

I really recommend this tool. It's a whopping $10 to do the basic assessment online and it is worth every penny. Trust me, it is life changing. 


This is important whether you run a small business, write a blog, or simply want to change the way you run your household. It essentially is the act of defining who you are and what you want to be known for. If something doesn't fit within your brand script it becomes a lot easier to say no to it with total freedom.

My amazing friend Sarah Walker wrote a post on creating a compelling brand story aimed at interior designers. You can do this for your personal brand, or blog as well. It's essentially answering a few questions (Donald Miller is the expert on this, credit for these questions to him!):

  • Why do I do what I do?
  • What exactly do I do?
  • Who do I do it for? 
  • What is their internal / external problem?
  • How do I help them solve this problem?
  • etc. etc.

Again, it's a funnel. Having these questions answered really clearly will help steer you away from opportunities that just don't fit your bottom line. You can also phrase these questions into more of a mission statement. For example, here's a tool I learned at the Platform conference:

I'm a: ____________ (lifestyle blogger, interior designer, marketer, etc. BE SPECIFIC)

I help: ___________ (overwhelmed mothers, overwhelmed business owners, couples with financial trouble, etc. AGAIN BE REALLY SPECIFIC, NOT SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE- THIS IS KEY)

By offering: _______ (interior design services, copywriting services, a 10-week self-help program, etc.) 

So that they can:________ (live a better life, sleep better, dress better, etc.)

Anything that does not fit in this brand script- politely decline. 


I am convinced everyone should do this exercise as it REALLY scared me when I did it. As part of Crystal Paine's Say Goodbye to Survival Mode book and Michael Hyatt's 5 days to your best year ever course, I had to write down how I spend my time, what is most important to me, and why.

Writing down my values was easy: faith, family, physical health, career, friends, etc. I had 7 really specific things on my list in order of priority. Then I examined a typical week. And it was kinda scary- I was spending 90% of my time on career, and trying to cram everything else in the remaining 10%. 

Woah nelly recipe for disaster- and primarily my health and family were feeling the impact. Having your values really clearly identified on paper, and where you examine them all the time is really crucial. Saying yes to better heath for me has meant saying no to invitations that will keep me out late at night. Saying yes to more family time has meant saying no to contracts that will take me out of the house on a consistent basis. 

This has been kinda critical for me. If you are struggling with this I really recommend Michael Hyatt's 5 days to your best year ever course. Let's be clear- no affiliate link or any back-end deal here. I realize a plug this man a lot. But I do because I have seen the changes in my own life as a result of this course and other tools and I know how it could impact you too.

Again, in the pursuit if saying no with more freedom- knowing WHY you are saying no because of its impact on your personal life is pretty essential.


So something is in the air as I keep stumbling upon resources that totally fall in line with this topic. Here are a few more to help you out:

This is a beautiful post by my friend Sarah Walker on renovating your life like you would a house. Beautifully written, beautiful images, beautifully inspiring. 

Essentialism by Greg McKeowon is, for lack of better word- essential in learning to say no.

I have not read yet but am excited to get my hands on The Joy of Missing Out by Christine Crook.

Have you said no to something that was hard recently, but you knew it was for the best? Love to know in the comments below.