The Courage to Say No


“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Warren Buffett

Wait, what’s that now?

Say no? I thought we were supposed to say “yes!” to life!

Life, yes, constant activity, no.

In a world where busyness is rewarded with a pat on the back? Say “no”? In a world where it seems the more in a rush you are, then the more successful you are perceived to be. Is a packed scheduled really a sign of success? Um, friends, I think we drank the Kool-Aid at some point and while the Kool-Aid is colorful and tastes mighty sweet, it’s not doing us any favors in the long run!

(disclaimer: In the spirit of keeping it real here – yes, we still occasionally still drink Kool -Aid in this house. We’re partial to anything with a fun name – i.e. Sharkleberry Finn)

This year, 2016, I’ve challenged myself to let go of all the busyness that keeps me from truly enjoying life. Get rid of all the clutter of activity without purpose. Just like getting rid of clutter in the house that has no purpose. (Oooo, that house clutter topic is another post all in itself!)

In our horse business, we are scaling back. We are taking some time right now to look at what we do well and beginning to say no to the rest. We’ve spent the last four and a half years growing this business, saying “yes” to waaay more than was wise and at times physically possible. In spite of ourselves, the business has grown and we have received great feedback in the way of Clint’s horses that are out in the world and his teaching ability in our clinics; but you know what?

It’s plumb worn us out.

Learning to say “no” is an art and yes, it takes courage, my friend. To stop and think a decision through before committing to one more thing is an act of intentionally designing your life one decision at a time.

In the past year, I’ve begun to notice a pattern in how people approach me. Many of our horse clients, friends and even family members begin their calls, emails or texts with something like, “I know you’re so busy, but I just wanted to ask…”. One of our daughters has taken to asking me as she steps into the room where I am, “Are you busy?” Why not “Hey Mom, do you have a minute? Can you help me? Could I talk to you for a sec?” Where do you suppose she got, “busy”? Ouch.

Keep this in mind, “yes” is the path of least resistance. It’s easier, it doesn’t rock the boat. It may even make more people happy with you; in the short run. But, “No” can point you in the direction you want to go. “No” can give you space in your life to do what sets your soul on fire.

I want a life of quality, don’t you? Of real relationships (in family, friends and business). Having the courage to say “no” actually gives you freedom. “No” to distractions when you should be working. “No” to the chime from your phone when you are spending time with family or friends. “No” to those commitments that you’ve said “yes” to in the past, simply because you lacked the moxie to be willing to go against the grain. Did that last one sting a bit? Yeah, I felt that one too.

Saying “no” gives you more room in your day, your month, your year, your life for the people and things that deserve a Y.E.S.



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