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  • Writer's pictureDevin Lee

Becoming a "No" (Wo)man

I am a massive fan of Jim Carrey. I grew up watching his movies, and he will be in my heart forever. One of my favorite movies he did is "Yes Man." Here is the plot if you have never seen it:

Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) is stuck in a rut after his divorce. He is depressed and practically immobile. He isn't doing great at work and his friends barely see him. He says "no" to life every day and in every way.

And then! He ends up in the presence of a strange guru who convinces he needs to say YES to EVERYTHING.

So Carl starts saying YES to life - and his life completely changes. He learns guitar, makes new friends, and starts dating a manic pixie dream girl played by Zooey Deschanel. You can guess where the movie goes from here.

This movie really resonated with me because I LOVE saying yes to life!! When this movie came out I had just turned 18 and was ready for the world. Saying yes to everything in my early twenties really did set me up for an amazing life. I experienced so much and made so many connections.

However... as I got older and started my own businesses I realized very quickly that you cannot say yes to everything. I quickly became exhausted, overwhelmed, and felt trapped in a schedule of my own making.

I had to learn to be intentional with my YESes. I had to be selective. As I became busier in life, my time and energy became more and more limited.

That is how I went from being a YES Woman to a NO Woman.

It's not that I actually say NO to every opportunity I am presented with. It's that I take the time to step back before saying yes.

Instead of automatically committing to anything, I automatically say NO in my mind as a default, and then work out if it might be a good idea.

The amount to which I follow this rule fluctuates based on what's going on in my life and business.

When business is booming and my life is full, I automatically say no to pretty much everything unless it is absolutely incredible and magical.

When I am pivoting my business or find more space in my calendar, I say yes to a lot more.

So if I'm being honest, it's not that I am asking you to really be a No Woman. I'm just asking you to NOT be a Yes Woman!

Let me share with you a few of my favorite phrases that I use to protect my time.

"Let me check my calendar and get back to you!"

This simple phrase allows you to not only check and see if you actually have time - it also gives you time to pause. Ask yourself:

  1. Do I have time for this?

  2. Do I have the energy for this?

  3. Do I actually want to commit to this????

If you for whatever reason you decide the answer to any of these questions is NO, you can pull out this fantastic phrase:

"This month is full for me, can we circle back?"

99% of the time the other person completely forgets to follow up with you. It's such an easy out that saves face for everyone.

In a perfect world, we would all just say NO when we needed to. However, I understand that polite society does not always give us that benefit. This is a really polite way of saying no.

Let me know - are you a Yes Woman, or a No Woman?


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