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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The "no" list

Photo by Casey Mullins, aka @mooshinindy
I used to call myself an entrepreneur and often said "yes" to everything. Then I went to work for a large local corporation and for nearly three years I've been working really hard for someone else. Sometimes I've worked too hard. My family wondered when I was coming home some days and other days I'd get so frustrated I wasn't making a difference for anyone that I felt like crying. Then, I got pregnant and had to take maternity leave, which meant I was away from work for about three months. During that time I was able to analyze my life and where I was spending it.

I knew I had to make some changes with the way I identified myself. In many ways I had become my job. It wasn't healthy and it certainly wasn't feeding my soul. I wasn't thinking of ways to stand out as much as I was thinking of ways to garner approval from co-workers and and boss. You may think, "there's nothing wrong with that." There was for me, though. I felt that my creativity was based on getting the green light from others at work.

Since having baby #4, I've started to rethink things. One of the people who have influenced me is Danielle LaPorte. I never really paid much attention to her and her ideas until I saw her at the Startup Princess Touchpoint event this fall. Her keynote speech had some nuggets of wisdom in it that bear repeating for anyone who wants to make the most out of their life. She asks you to ask yourself a series of questions. The question I keep coming back to is: What do you want to stop doing?

She suggests making a "no" list in your life. Danielle recommends saying "no" 80% of the time. That's hard to swallow for all the people pleasers out there. I guess I'm one of them...and I always thought I wasn't. I have a hard time saying "no" to people and obligations I think I should be able to find time to do.

Without editing or over thinking this, I've made up this list of things I'd like to say "no" to. They are in no particular order. These things are going to be hard for me to stop doing.
  1. Being in a rush.
  2. Procrastinating.
  3. Buying my children too many gifts for Christmas.
  4. Waiting for someone else to clean my car.
  5. Wasting time on Facebook.
  6. Staying up past 11pm.
  7. Postponing taking a vacation until the perfect time (or until the money to do so lands in my lap).
  8. Throwing more money towards bills than towards savings.
  9. Putting too many things on my "to do" list.
  10. Getting emotional when my kids say hurtful things.
  11. Reading more than one book at a time.
  12. Complaining.
  13. Worrying about things I can't control.
So, what's on your "no" list?


  1. I think I need to create a "no" list. As far as #3, we fixed that a couple years ago by creating a "want, need, read" list. They list items in all three columns and then get one item from each column for Christmas. Santa brings one other gift and that's it. This year we're doing "want, read, wear" because "need" is often the same as "wear" for my kids!

  2. I LOVE this concept! Let's see, your numbers 1, 5, and 6 are definitely on my list.

    Great Christmas suggestion from Emily! I should add buying toys for my kids to my no list. I'm so over all the toys they don't play with.

  3. What a great post Pam! I think I would put some of your "no"s on my list too! I feel a blogpost coming on...

  4. Great idea on the gifts, Emily! I'm definitely going to use that one for my kids this year. You're brilliant.

    Thanks Nisha, I hope you'll keep me posted on your list (or not - if "keeping people posted" is on your "no" list).

    Amy - thanks! Maybe you could take "subscribing to my sister's new blog" off your "no" :)


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