The Art of Saying NO! My 5 Tips for Saying “Nope” in Business + Life

You’re probably here as the result of a social media post that spilled the beans on a secret I’ve been hiding, and it looked a little something like this…(scroll past if you already read it, and read if you haven’t. It will explain why I am posting about business these days!)

*******

I’ve been keeping a secret…and I think it’s time I share it with the world. 

You know by now that my passion runs DEEP for empowering others to live the happiest, most loving and fulfilled lives possible. I want the hopeless to find hope, and to let the “unwanted” or “unworthy” to know they are wanted AND worthy! This is my life, and I do this most often by sharing food, fitness, family, & tons of thoughts and feelings with the world. This you know about me…

But what you may NOT know is that I have a hidden passion that runs equally as deep as what I mentioned…and MUCH deeper than my passion for stepping in front of ANY camera. 

This hidden passion is BUSINESS.

I. Crave. It. I love it like a pianist loves his piano. It courses through my veins, it’s engrained in my DNA (thanks, Dad). While I don’t have a FRACTION of the talents Chris has, this is something I am actually good at, confident in, and feel proud of.

I have tried not to share this much because…tbh I care too much about what people think. I feared it might have people questioning my intentions (many connect “business” with “money + power”)…and intentions are EVERYTHING to me. The reality, however, is that my passion for business has nothing to do with material things and everything to do with feeling like I am actually a valuable part of this mission. Feeling like I was given a gift, and by exercising my business mind, I can better spread the messages that we know can bring  joy.

After Chris hacked my IG Stories and caught me in action a few weeks back, I was surprised by your reaction. 95% of you VOTED TO LEARN MORE!!! You asked for my biz tips, so I’m working hard to give them to ya!

First lesson…learning the value in saying the word “NO!” And showing all you people pleasers how to do it!

Whether you’re on a transformation journey, working hard in your career, or attempting with all you’ve got to raise teenagers…the ability to tactfully say NO is a skill that you must develop to get you to your goal!

“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” Winston Churchill, wiser words were never spoken!🙌🏼😉

*******

So…here we go, fam. Business post numero one is officially here! After you read, go comment below and tell me what other business advice (or life advice) you’d like me to share next time! Bur for now…let’s talk about the topic at hand.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a thousand more times—I am so lucky to LOVE what I do! Transformation and having the opportunity to completely change someone’s life for the better is something Chris and I are both incredibly passionate about. But admittedly, having a career you love so deeply is both a blessing and a curse.

Over the past few years, this past year in particular, I had to learn probably the most painful lesson in business… saying NO. When you truly believe in what you do and enjoy doing it, every opportunity seems like one you can’t pass up! But saying Yes to literally everything that comes my way has made the more important projects—the grander opportunities—seem like a burden instead of a blessing because I am just so dang overwhelmed. It’s this exact scenario that taught me the number one key to career success: Sometimes you have to say NO! 

Outfit Details: Sweater (last seen here, similar here (Bonus: on SALE) and here), notebook 

Some of my favorite NO inspired pieces that speak for themselves:

Earlier this year, I talked about saying NO to a lofty list of resolutions for 2018, but that doesn’t mean saying No to setting goals. In life, sometimes, less actually IS more. It means saying Yes to the most important things, and saying No to the things that don’t get you farther along, closer to your goals.  This has had a positive impact on my personal life, but it’s also one of my top business tips. 

In theory it sounds simple! The to-do list is already 20 items too long, the kids’ lists of extra curriculars are growing by the second, and you’re already stretched far too thin. So just say No! Seems so easy, right? Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s almost painfully hard! But learning to say No can and should be done. Here are my top 5 business pro-tips for mastering the art of saying NO:

Be clear about your goals.

When Chris and I talk about transformation, we always emphasize SMART goals. By this, we mean setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. When we talk about setting goals in our personal life like “I want to lose weight,” in order to be successful, we need to start by asking “how,” “what,” and “when.” “How” will you lose weight? “What” will you do to lose weight? “When” will you do it? This is a specific goal that answers all of these questions: “I will lose 6 pounds in 6 weeks. I will accomplish this by consuming 1500 calories per day and by exercising at least 5 minutes, 5 days a week.” Now that’s specific! (I can hear you asking, “Heidi, only 5 minutes a day?” Yes. That’s the type of promise you make to yourself). It’s easy to set a similar goal in life: “I want my business to be successful,” but we need to make sure we are breaking it down into SMART goals. 

Keep an idea/dream journal.

Just because you don’t engage with the ideas right now doesn’t mean that they are bad or that you never will put them into action. Keeping an idea journal or writing in one for a couple of hours per week allows you to remember and reflect. It’s also a feel good trip down memory lane that is much needed from time to time. I actually love this NOPE notebook as a friendly and cute reminder of the power of NO! Bonus: It takes away that bummed out feeling you get sometimes from saying No. 

Find your tribe (and grow your business together).

For every “why” or dreamer person, there’s a “how” or doer person. It’s the yin-and-yang of business. Between Chris and me, he is the dreamer, and I am the doer (it’s the mom in me—we moms are doers! Am I right?). In order to find your tribe, you need to understand who you are and what your manifesto or ultimate dream goal looks like. You can’t do everything or be everything, so understanding your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to not only put together an amazing team, BUT it will help you say No more easily because you’re collectively working towards your goals by making necessary concessions. 

Find a go-to stress management tool or activity.

“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” ~Winston Churchill

Just saying No seems easy, but the temptation to say Yes to all of the things that inspire you will be there more frequently than you even realize. The fear of missing out is real, but the pay off is more completed projects and time to refresh. For me, a massage is my go-to stress management tool! Every couple of months, I do a 90-minute massage with the sole purpose of 100% zone out, me time. In fact, I’m overdue for one. I don’t indulge a lot, but this is a must for keeping my sanity and reminding myself that just saying No also means saying Yes to self-care for myself, which promotes better business practices and clearer thinking. Bonus: If you can’t schedule a massage, having a lavender candle around and just taking some me time for a couple of minutes is also a great practice. 

Stop the comparisons.

Comparing yourself to others opens up the temptations of doing more, saying Yes, and forgetting what’s important. There is only ONE you, and your contributions to your goals (both in business and in life) are special and can only be accomplished by YOU. It’s easy to see other people in your position or in your industry absolutely killing it on Instagram, doing it all, and looking fabulous, but that’s just the highlight reel. Everyone struggles, and people who seem two steps ahead might actually be five steps behind, so stop the comparison and know that you are closer every day to reaching your goals. Just take it one step, one goal at a time.   

It’s easy to get spread too thin when you’re wrapped up in the many facets of business and life. Now, repeat after me: No. Nope. Nada. Zilch. Nein. You’ve got this! What are your favorite business tips and tools?

xo,

Heidi

Related reading:

Stressed Out?
Aggression Therapy + Self Defense = MMA || My Newest Fitness Obsession
Tip of the Day: Write it Out!
Sharpen the Saw || Unplug and plug IN to LIFE!
Foam Rolling 101: The Basics + How to Choose a Foam Roller


57 Comments

  1. Alexandria McIrvin - August 15, 2018

    So well written and so true! I have a passion for business and wellness as well and I have loved following you and your husband and seeing how passionate you are about it. Thank you for the tips and tricks 💛 Addison and I would love to do your program!!

  2. Abigail Schraufnagel - April 14, 2018

    I love this! It’s so hard to say no sometimes but you have to sometimes to take care of yourself ❤️

  3. Steph Gabriele - April 14, 2018

    Love this blog! I’m such a yes person, even more so now with two kids under four, on top of that working in a customer service based industry where saying yes is a big part of my job some days, finding that sweet balance of yes vs no to put myself and especially my health & Fitness first is SO so difficult! Thx for sharing! IG: sgabriele

  4. Lisa Fuller - April 14, 2018

    I love this post! Saying no is so innately difficult to me but I have been trying to use it more!

  5. Rayanna Broadway - April 13, 2018

    It’s so hard for me to say no to anyone. I liked your pointers. Stop comparison, find a go-to stress tool, and keep an idea journal. Thanks for this!!
    @rayannatase

  6. Gina - April 13, 2018

    Saying no is so hard for me. Thank you for this…and for all the commenters too. ♡♡♡
    IG: redhotmenace

  7. Amanda - April 13, 2018

    I LOVE this blog post! As a busy Mama who also works from home, this is such good info on ways to say, “no” in the best ways possible and helps to really build a strong balance in business and really all sides of life. Great post!

    Instagram: newtonam

  8. Erica Hansen - April 13, 2018

    Saying NO is something I have a really hard time with! It gets me into trouble but I tend be a people pleaser. 🤦‍♀️ @touchofsuneh

  9. Sharon Stalls - April 13, 2018

    Love this advice.

  10. Ashley Nieman - April 13, 2018

    I needed this! Such great info here! I have a tough time saying no and not doing it all. This will help me a lot!

    • Ashley Nieman - April 13, 2018

      I needed this! Such great info here! I have a tough time saying no and not doing it all. This will help me a lot!

      Insta: @ashraenie

  11. Cody pringle - April 13, 2018

    Great advice ! We all need to stop being people pleasers.

  12. Florencia - April 13, 2018

    I recently heard the school of greatness podcasts when you and your husband were guests. I love you guys. It’s such a beautiful and inspiring story. One thing that resonated with me is when you mention your struggle with saying no. So I read this article and find it very helpful.
    Thank you for everything that you do. Helping people become the best version of themselves.

    I also want to participate on the band giveaway here is my instagram.
    IG: @yourwordmatters

  13. @ailvb - April 13, 2018

    This is great advice! Thank you! You might get a kick out of Tim Hawkins and his video “the gift of no” he’s a comedian.

  14. Ursula - April 13, 2018

    Love this post and hope there’s more business related posts to come! urstrong13

  15. Danielle - April 13, 2018

    GReat article! This is my biggest flaw is learning when to say No

  16. Crystal Buckley - April 13, 2018

    Love this! I say yes way too often but need to be confident with myself in saying no sometimes. Instagram @acbuck78

  17. Eric Dupler - April 13, 2018

    One thing I have attempted to get better at over the years is saying “no”. It sounds so simple but can be so difficult when you are a people pleaser. This blog was well written with such thought out advice and tools! Thank you!

    Best regards,

    Eric

  18. LaDonna Bruening Barnett - April 13, 2018

    I love this blog post. Saying no is something I’ve gotten better at over the years. It’s a necessity for sanity. Just like workout bands!

  19. Tiffany - April 13, 2018

    I’ve always found it very hard saying “No” to friends and family. Wether it was being asked to run an errand, help out with a party or function, help babysit, etc etc I was almost always saying Yes, then being burnt out and people not understanding why. But this past year I’ve been on mat leave and decided I wanted to make the most out of this time I have with my new baby and older 2 kiddos. I’m not saying I said no to everything, but to the “extra stuff”. There will always be time to say yes but my kids won’t always be this small! I’m learning to slow down, define and refine my priorities, and enjoy this season of life!

    I’ve been following you since your Extreme Transformation days on TLC! You inspire me in my fitness and life goals!

    You can find me on Instagram:
    @tiffany.gibeau

  20. Anne Peterson - April 13, 2018

    I find it incredibly hard to say “no.” As a people pleaser and someone who loves to help others, I often forget to refill my tank. Sometimes I think of self-care (as pictured with you and Chris above getting a massage) as a luxury/treat and you’ve helped me realize it is necessary to take time out, nurture the body I push so hard with workouts, work and relationships. A massage, stretching, a bath and saying NO are all ways to do self-care.

    Always enjoy following the fam and its adventures … @anneeliz_peterson

  21. Katie - April 13, 2018

    Saying no is a skill everyone can benefit from – and yet it’s a skill that so much easier to talk about then to employ! Thank you for breaking down the steps of prioritizing, keeping your focus on what’s most important, and creating space to fill your own bucket!

    IG: marathonmama05

  22. Kami johnson - April 13, 2018

    Love this! It’s so hard to say no! @kamijohnson

  23. Nicole - April 13, 2018

    Absolutely love this – what a great reminder! Balance is continual work, but selfcare is key to finding it 🙌🏼
    @naames

  24. Morgan - April 13, 2018

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m learning to ask, “Is this loving to me?” Before agreeing to add another task or responsibility to my plate. 😘

    Xoxo, you are awesome!
    Morgan_Larkerbrink on Insta

  25. Tiffany Francis - April 13, 2018

    So so so great! I am reading Think and Grow Rich for Women and the chapter I just read coincides with this post! Saying no to things that don’t align with your goals makes room for finding things that do align with your goals. Love it

    @tiffanyfrancis

    I would also love to win those booty bands you are giving away!!!

  26. PAMELA S MULLIGAN - April 13, 2018

    Saying NO is difficult, but I am learning to say it more frequently these days!! I have been mediocre at everything I take on because I say YES too often – spreading myself too thin! I don’t want to be mediocre! Saying NO is key. Thanks for taking the time to write this blog post! I feel empowered to keep saying NO and focus on the most important things! 🙂
    @psmulligan

  27. Briana caraballo - April 13, 2018

    Love this!! I need to learn to say no sometimes!!
    Instagram handle @breezysfitness

  28. Ashley - April 13, 2018

    Thank you Heidi for this post! I am a coach as well, and I always afraid of what the reaction is to inviting to the business. For all the reasons you listed, that is my Achilles heel! This really helped me get over that fear and really start charging forward because at the end of the day, it’s people helping people be the best version of themselves.

    IG- ashley.radetich

  29. Samantha B - April 13, 2018

    Love this post! This is something I’ve always struggled with. Thank you for this great article and reminder.

    IG HANDLE: @sammyjo1205

  30. Emily Lightsey - April 13, 2018

    I LOVE all these points. I’ve had to say no to some things in order to keep myself focused on my SMART goals, and for my sanity! It’s important to have that self care time too. Love this!

    Instagram: @_toloveandlive_

  31. Heather Campbell - April 13, 2018

    I struggle with this so much. This is so helpful thank you!

    IG handle: heathcampbell

  32. Stephanie Limesand - April 13, 2018

    This is so important. I always was saying yes to everything, and overextending myself too much. I was starting to feel resentment which was a signal that I needed to re-evaluate what I was doing. Thank you for sharing this!

    IG handle: slimesand

  33. Briana Neumann - April 13, 2018

    Love this! I’m a people pleaser so I need to do this
    Instagram: briana_neumann for the band contest!

  34. Jill - April 13, 2018

    I love this! I tend to spread myself too thin and needed to hear this. Thank you! @moenteamfit

  35. Wendy - April 13, 2018

    Love this! Thank you for validating our own right to say no! You inspire me daily in so many aspects of life! This is my favorite post to date.

  36. Jilliam Gartner - April 13, 2018

    This is my favorite blog post! I have the HARDEST time saying no to people, whether it is in my personal life or business life. This has really helped me grow from that! @jilliam_gartner

  37. Kimberlee - April 13, 2018

    I love this! I am constantly spreading myself too thin. I have a really hard time saying no. Thank you for writing this! Definitely one of my favorite blog post you wrote! I also love the one about water because I have a hard time getting it all in! My IG handle is Kimberleejoy02.

  38. Breanne osborne - April 13, 2018

    I really enjoyed this post, Heidi. So often we try to be everything to everyone at the cost of burning out or sacrificing ourselves. Learning and practicing “no” is a challenge for me- and I’m imaging so many others. Thank you for your shared thoughts and tips.
    IG handle: breannemosborne

  39. Kasey - April 13, 2018

    Love this post ❤️ so much great advice! I’m going to head out and buy myself a lavender candle! ☺️
    IG: @kaseymarie1980

  40. Elizabeth - April 13, 2018

    Self care is so important and yet so easily overlooked! No and prioritizing can go a looong way.
    IG: e_swell

  41. Lauren Barron - April 12, 2018

    Hey there Heidi! I absolutely adore you and family. You all have wild personalities it makes my heart so happy! And I mean come on you and Chris are so pure hearted and encouraging it is a blessing to have people like you two in the health and fitness industry. Anyways everything you shared truly resonated with me. I am a people pleaser and I get that from my parents. Always saying yes and doing anything I can for others because well it makes me happy. But you are right, making time for yourself is just as rewarding! I keep saying I’ll treat myself to a massage and then don’t get around to it but darn gon it imma do it. I love the example of the yin-to-yang with your partner. My boyfriend and I are pretty spot on with that balancing each other out. It’s good to have your strengths and weakness complement one another, indeed makes a great team! Keep doing what you do Heidi! So thankful
    My IG handle is: @laurenbaronnn

  42. Emma - April 12, 2018

    This is such an important lesson!! The power of the word no is something that I need to put into practice more often! Time to reprioritize my priorities!

    Instagram @emnem12

  43. Hailey Dalton - April 12, 2018

    Heidi, I love this post. “No” is sometimes the hardest thing to say. Thank you for shedding some light.

    For your giveaway my IG handle is @mrshmdalton but I love you and that’s not why I originally came to your blog.

    -Hailey

  44. Beth Tupper - April 12, 2018

    This is my favorite! IG screen name is Betup. Learning to say no this year and putting me first has always been a struggle. But the more I say it and do it the easier it is getting. Realizing I’m worth way more and the time I can spend on me benefits my whole family. Finding my worth this year.

  45. Kathryn W - April 12, 2018

    Love this post! As a law student I’m crazy busy, and always struggling to say no and put myself first. Leads to so much added stress. Thanks for being such an inspiration 💜

    IG: @kwest10

  46. Sara - April 12, 2018

    @saraxedge yes! Every time you say yes you say no to something else! Love this.

    Would love to have those bands as a part of my transform work out! I’m coming up on a year with transform!

  47. Courtney - April 12, 2018

    Sweetheart020386 is my instagram name.
    I needed this so bad I am always struggling to say no and take on new tasks. Love this post. THANK you 🙂

  48. Lindsey - April 12, 2018

    This is exactly what I needed and something I’m currently working on personally! Thanks Heidi!
    @lindsey__kay

  49. Lizzie - April 12, 2018

    Heidi!! This is my favorite post of yours, and it helped me a lot, it’s so hard to say no, basically living in fear of what people will think if I say that scar word, “no”. Please pick me for your band giveaway 😃 @1luvleefitmommy @1luvleefitmommy @1luvleefitmommy

  50. Baley Schubert - April 12, 2018

    This is a very important thing for everyone to know. Saying No is a very challening thing to do, especially when you want to make others happy. But you need to be able to stay true to yourself and allow yourself time and energy.

  51. Nicole - April 3, 2018

    Very inspiring, motivational, and just moving. Thank you I need this!

  52. Anri van der Linde - April 3, 2018

    Beautiful and valuable post, thank you 💙Looking forward to the next one.

  53. Susie Zink - April 3, 2018

    Heidi, I would love to know how you manage social media for your lifestyle brand. You and Chris both manage to keep your posts so personal and poignant to your authentic selves as well as your profession but how do you go about accomplishing this and not let it take over your live. Have any social media management program or app hacks that help you accomplish this? How do you go about planning out your content and accomplishing authenticity to your brand at the same time…brainstorming sessions? And lastly, you are on all of the top social media forums…how do you accomplish this and not allow it to get in the way of family time and life takeover?

    Just love you, as an Arizona native myself, thank you for always being transparent with your life and faith. And don’t worry about not having gone to church as much as you would like lately, as long as you spend time in God’s word and continue actively pursuing a personal relationship with him God is wrapping you in his arms as we speak ❤️

    • Team Powell - April 3, 2018

      Hi Susie: Thank you so much for your comment and kind words – I know Heidi truly appreciates it! This is a great topic for a future business-related blog post, and I’ll definitely make sure Heidi sees your comment! I do know that Heidi tries her best to keep a balance between fitness, health, family, and personal posts, and she’s constantly thinking about how her posts can help others achieve their goals – no matter what they may be. It’s really all about balance…which can change from day to day!

  54. Rachel Rose Schlichter - April 3, 2018

    Hey Heidi,

    Love this article, and that you will start posting more about business. My husband and I own a gym together in Indiana and I 100% get what you mean when you say one is a doer and the other a dreamer.

    I just wanted to reach out and say hello and I’m looking forward to your future posts.

    Rachel

Leave a reply