Too Many Yeses
I’m here to share why saying NO has been one of the most important things I’ve done in order to grow a successful business. In fact, I believe that saying too many Yeses is one of the biggest barriers to having a profitable business we love.
Last week, I started it off, laying in a sea of snotty kleenex and afraid of my next cough, because it hurt so much. On one hand, I relate to the common cold less as a sickness, and more as a healing purification that gives me permission to integrate and rest. (Neat, jedi mind trick perhaps, but it works! :)
On the other hand, I knew that my need for rest was because I said too many Yeses the week before. I said Yes to starting the WINC 90-Day Program with an amazing group of women entrepreneurs. (No regrets there!) But including the WINC events, I said YES to FIVE public speaking engagements, plus filming a WINC course with Conscious2 in LA (think Netflix for spiritual seekers). All of this on top of Yeses to WINC’s normal operations, client sessions, team meetings, travel to LA, my spiritual practice, personal relationships! (I bet you can relate…)
Guess what the result of too many YESes was…
• By Friday, I was trembling like a leaf on stage at the conference, because I was under slept and under fed
• By Saturday, I was exhausted when I showed up to film the WINC course
• By Monday, I was Sick in bed for 24 hours
Not pretty. Not effective. Not enjoyable. Not my best self. Not the life I love. Period.
I teach every woman in WINC’s 90-Day Program one of my golden rules for building a successful business: “We have to say 1000 NOs, in order to say YES to our big YES!” (William Ury).
Since I truly believe that much of WINC’s success is due to my regular NOs, I thought I’d share a few of many big NOs.
1. NO to following most of the inspiring ideas or downloads that come through for what WINC could create.
In the early years of WINC, I focused my big YES on developing a core offering that is incredibly powerful for women I work with and is a super efficient system to operate, before moving on to create the next “inspiring download.”
We are all extremely creative! We have so much to offer. But trying to do everything we can do becomes one of the biggest barrier to success.
You will likely receive dozens, if not hundreds, of great ideas about what your business could create. If you let yourself get distracted with all of these shinny objects, you’ll likely overwhelm yourself and get fewer results. I cannot recommend enough focusing on developing one core offering that powerfully helps your customer and successfully pays for your life, before moving on to the next.
My mantra when those important downloads come through: “YES! That is such a great idea! Thank you! I’m totally going to do that… LATER.” Then I write it in my heart-list or a note that I track all of the someday ideas, and focus on what I’ve committed to presently.
2. NO to collaboration until I understood (and implemented) WINC’s business model.
Please don’t get me wrong, collaboration is so wonderful, and can be so powerful for our businesses. There are lots of women that have great success collaborating right out of the gate. Please don’t let me discourage you from collaborating, if you are called to it.
But for me, I noticed that the majority of conversations about collaboration were a lot of talk (AKA: inspiring downloads) and few actual results.
In addition, collaboration can have some big legal and ownership questions. My bias is that any collaboration requires real discussions about what happens if the collaboration ends, who owns what (e.g. a business name, a program name or website cannot be split in half…), how the revenue and expenses are distributed, who is responsible for doing what, etc. In my opinion, a rightful collaboration requires written agreements that would stand up in the court of law, if it should come to that. Having these tough conversations and putting them in writing is a big project just by itself.
So… in the early years of building WINC, I said NO to many invitations to collaborate, until I had worked out exactly how WINC helps women entrepreneurs and how WINC’s business model actually generated wealth, doing what I love.
WINC’s business model and core offering is now the foundation upon which I can discern what, when, who and why to collaborate. Now, I collaborate with someone because I have a great business model and they have a great business model, and its very clear how our collaboration is complementary, mutually beneficial, and more likely to produce actual results.
The rub is that WINC has entered its “collaborative era,” which is a big part of why I said YES to too many collaborative opportunities last week! Clearly, I am being stretched to learn even more about what collaborations to say YES to, and on what timeline, so I am not exhausted and sick in the process.
3. NO to a whole bunch other things I can do with my time …
Including social invitations, coffee dates, “get to know each other meetings,” doing personal things during business hours, the list goes ON and ON…
One of the biggest reasons my business is successful is how much time I spend working on Her. Plain and simple. Time in > results out.
I am a big believer that we can manifest anything! I’m a big believer in tracking the receptive flow in our business! I’m a big believer in having (Ahem… designing) our dream lifestyle into our business. I’m a big believer in looking at the beliefs we have about working super hard and asking if they are actually true.
But my experience is that building a successful business takes my heart-dedicated time, period.
Literally, sitting at my computer, day-in and day-out; learning, experimenting, creating and refining WINC with my time.
There’s a lot of magic in this universe, and prayer and intention is HUGE to building what we want. But I believe I’d be doing a disservice to you if I made it seem like I only prayed for what I wanted in my business. In the early years especially, but still to this day, I make a LOT of sacrifices (happily) in other areas of my life to say my BIG YES to co-creating an economic revolution among women entrepreneurs.
To create what you really want, I recommend saying NO to a lot of other things, and proving it by using your time for your BIG YES.
I am just one woman. I encourage you to always light your own path. Throw out everything I’ve shared here, if it doesn’t resonate with you. But I am on your team for building your dream, and saying NO has been one of my biggest allies in doing so.
So I ask you now, What is Your BIG YES?
Not the YES you think you “should” have. Or the YES you think is “realistic.” But the real YES you want most.
I remember a woman I once worked with that when she was really honest about what she wanted, it was to be a housewife spending her time in the garden. We can NEVER get what we want if we don’t first give ourselves permission to want what we really want, rather than what we think we should want.
Take a moment to write your BIG YES down.
My BIG YES:
To share WINC’s system with 17 million women in order to alleviate poverty in local communities all over the world… in a culture of sacred women’s community, doing it together.
What are the 10 things that you’re saying NO to?
Take a moment to write down your 10 Nos.
My 10 NOs:
1. No more than 1 speaking engagement in a week (outside of WINC events). Period.
2. No more than 1 travel event per month.
3. No more forgetting to shower or eat.
4. No more paying for dinner on a first date. (Yeah… there’s a funny story here for another day…)
5. No adding more to my team’s plate until our existing operations are systematically implemented without my need for reviewing everything.
6. No more buying books or music until the end of the year. (UPDATE: failed miserably on this one, but I’m glad because I’ve been reading some AMAZING books.)
7. No work until after I’ve done my prayer practice in the morning.
8. No more collaborations, until I’ve prioritized which ones I want most and why.
9. No personal phone calls, laundry, errands during the work day.
10. No more imagining that I can respond to every text, email and FB message. And Good God! No more apps for new ways to communicate with people