What if saying No all the time isn’t in your best interest?


Women today feel so much better about saying No. No more meetings, extra projects or back to back weekend birthday parties for your child’s classmates. You feel me, right? It’s cool to say No and when we do, there is no shame.

“I don’t have the bandwidth for that” is a common and acceptable phrase. For those who are a little shy, like me, it’s a go-to phrase that gets us out of an uncomfortable social obligation.

Being comfortable saying no has freed up loads of time! It can lift some of the daily stress and cut down on the constant running around. Living in the Midwest, this is a plus as nothing is ever close by. We spend the majority of our time commuting by car between suburbs negotiating crazy people on the road who don’t seem to be in a rush, like us.  

Don’t they know every mommy van is driven by a coffee-infused, frazzled woman skirting the real meaning of fashionably late? A flashing red light on the top of the car to signal other drivers she is in a hurry and they should just move over isn’t too far fetched. Am I right?

Saying No all the time has also alienated us from doing things that can actually be of benefit both personally and professionally.  We are so fixed on cutting things out and optimizing our schedule, that saying No is the primary and expected reflex.


What if…now bear with me…you started saying yes?

  • Yes to networking events
  • Yes to coffee or lunch with a friend
  • Yes to taking that call to help out a colleague with some advice

Oh! Hold the phone, Kelly. We just now arrived at the point where it is socially acceptable and empowering to say No. Now, you want us to retreat and go back to being overscheduled, overworked and underappreciated?


In a nutshell, yes.

Shonda Rhimes, television producer, screenwriter, and author, recently wrote a book about a whole year of saying Yes to everything that came across her desk. For most of us, that may be extreme so I’m thinking baby steps. How about just a day, or a week?


Last month, I completed my own experiment saying Yes and well, first, I didn’t die and second, it was actually fun.

At first, this was really awkward


I set out to a limit of 7 days but my teenager caught on to it by day 2 so I had to set some ground rules around her chores, sleepovers and driving her around everywhere. (You moms know how slippery this slope can get once they figure you out!)

When you work from home as a solopreneur, contractor or freelancer, you get used to working in your space. There is no time to dilly dally or play games on our phone. We have to pack 8-10+ hour days into the 6 hours that our kids are at school. And I have this schedule down to a science!

There is a saying among us online entrepreneurs that if we have to put pants on (or in this case, a dress, pantyhose, and Spanx), it is serious business.

At first, this was really awkward since I’ve worked from my home office for 18 years and am pretty used to taking phone meetings and doing online webinars. It’s just soooo much easier to do this from my home office. Determined to make a go of this, I completely flipped how I did most things, which turned out to be a lot of fun!

If there was a chance to meeting in person versus phone, I scheduled that meeting face-to-face.

I registered for all the local networking events that required me to actually put pants on, drive in rush hour traffic, attend and talk to people face-to-face. Registering required me to add it to my calendar and was a silent commitment to the organizer that I’d be there.

When a friend reached out to “pick my brain,” I didn’t immediately cringe. I scheduled that coffee and went for it! This was the fun part! My fifth-grade teacher called me Chatty Kathy, which I hated at the time, but she was right. I’m a storyteller. It’s true. I took this opportunity to be of service. 

So, I said yes to all the local networking events even if it wasn’t directly related to my field.


Do it scared!

Things I learned:

  1. Getting out of the office gave me an extra spark of inspiration. I highly encourage it.
  2. I did it scared and I didn’t die. That’s a phrase I jokingly use yet for those of use with even a slight tinge of anxiety, this is totally true. You get me, right?
  3. By saying Yes to networking events outside of my industry, I met so many great people that I would never have met through my usual channels. Several of us are collaborating on a project in Q1 2018.
  4. Making room in my schedule to attend events, made me realize I’m not as busy as I thought.
  5. It’s really not so much about the contacts I can make to further my business but more about meeting people I can connect with other great people.



  • Instead of saying No all the time. Think about what you might be missing by saying yes.
  • Take a chance on yourself.
  • Make a bold move.

Hey, if you need a wingman, er, wing woman, you know who to call!

[Edited: Extending this idea past one week has been super fun. I’m now past 30 days and nothing broke, no deadlines missed and have added more contacts and more income than previous months. WILL YOU GIVE IT A TRY?]


If something here resonated with you or you would like to learn more about how to turn your current job into a business, let’s chat about what that would look like for you. Use this secure online form http://bit.ly/meetwithkelly  to request a complimentary consultation. 

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Kelly O'Neill
Kelly O’Neill is a digital marketing and IT consultant with over 25 years of experience working on remote projects. She is well-grounded in SEO, media buying, project management, and network security. Kelly shares her knowledge through consulting and blogging.

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