Why a Big Fat “No” is the new “Hell Yes”

G.I. Joe nailed it. No-ing is half the battle.
— Bill Watkins, Founder of The Lions Pride

We’ve been trained to believe that saying “yes” invites opportunity and saying “no” limits our potential. For a lot of us, “No” was one of our first words, and, just as soon as it came out of our mouths, we were told to stop staying it (or forced to eat the broccoli anyway). 

Saying yes is all fine and dandy for those who are looking for new adventure and things to do, but for high-performing badasses like you, you’ve got adventure and to-dos in spades. You’ve got potential coming out of your ears. In fact, you’re drowning in it. 
Your success as a business and as a partner, parent, and person doesn’t come down to how many things you can handle. It’s about what projects, relationships, and performance you commit to on an exceptional level. And you don’t figure this out by saying yes to everything.

You figure this out by saying no. A lot. 

And when you do say yes, you do it with the confident clarity of someone who knows exactly what they want—and why. I call this The Hell Yes.

As business owners, some of our most impactful growth milestones are because we said a Big, Fat No in order to make room for a Hell Yes.

  • When you told your employer “No” so you could say HELL YES to launching your business.

  • When you refused to budge on your price so you could say HELL YES to clients that respected your value.

  • When you told a far-less-than-ideal lead that you weren’t a good fit and said HELL YES to projects and clients that inspire you. 

  • When you said no to a last-minute project so you could say HELL YES to your family (and your spouse echoed the sentiment).

  • When you finally put a stop to doing all-of-the-things for your business and said HELL YES to your first employee (and your first vacation in a decade). 

  • When you turned down a business opportunity and said HELL YES to what really drives your bottom line—and your best quarter yet.

The list goes on. Do you remember how it felt to set those boundaries? How freeing it was to step toward what you loved? How much more you got done (quite happily) in the process?

 “No” isn’t the negative, limiting word it’s made out to be. In fact, I would argue that, when used correctly, it’s one of those most positive, powerful words on the planet—because it allows room for the big, rewarding, YES! to what matters.

Your success in life and business is based entirely on what and who you “No.” Choose wisely.




Read these two sentences.

  1. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

  2. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Now, take a look at your To Do Lists, which ostensibly, is your current tally of yesses.

  1. How many of these tasks should have been a “No?”

  2. How many tasks could/should/would be better done by someone else?

Plan accordingly.


Is “No” not in your wheelhouse (yet)? This week, practice these tactics to help focus what will truly bring you closer to your company vision and your life purpose.

  • Put people in place as your “No” barriers. Executive and virtual assistants excel in this category!

  • Give yourself time to react. Instead of answering with an immediate yes, give yourself space to respond. “Hmmm, let me check with my [schedule/assistant/spouse/team].” 

  • Keep your “Big Rewarding Yes” list handy to remind you why you are saying “No” in the first place. 

  • Train yourself—and your team—to weed out distracting ideas and tasks by adhering to a set of parameters based on your vision and purpose. 

  • Relish how much time “just saying no” will save you. That positive reinforcement will make it come more easily!

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