So That Yes Isn’t An Obligation

This week is especially pressure-filled; the final manuscript for Smart Growth is due on June 21st—Monday—and there is still a lot to do. Did I mention that it is intense?

So, because I’m on this tight deadline, I’ll be brief.

This morning I was feeling surprisingly calm. It may partly be because I have sworn off cookies for the week (a sort of personal Lent) to help me stay focused. But I think it’s also because something that I usually experience angst over, I’m not.

This week I am very clear on my priorities. I don’t weigh them or hem and haw. Pretty much, no matter what, the answer is “No.”

It is liberating.

I love it!

I want to do more of it—being so clear on my priorities that the pain of saying “No” is alleviated. I can do it and I will.

I don’t want to say “No” to everything, forever. Of course not. But I want to scale the S-Curve of saying “No” without regret—when I need to focus. Nobody can do everything, and I surely can’t. And, sometimes, I want to be free to say “No” just because I want to because my interest lies elsewhere. “Yes” isn’t very meaningful if it’s always an obligation.

Here’s my suggestion for you: listen (or re-listen) to the podcast with on learning to say “No” — and then, for some extra get-up-and-say-no, Pentatonix cover of Meghan Trainor’s No.

And the next time you say “No” to me, just remind me of this newsletter.

Our this week is Sarah Feingold, co-founder of Fourth Floor, and the former first General Counsel at Etsy. Her interview is one of our early podcasts recorded in 2016. We decided to re-broadcast Sarah this week because we are saying “No” to things like queuing up a new podcast. We wanted you to hear from someone great at encouraging people to say “yes,” who doesn’t readily take “No” for an answer. Sarah’s story embodies the willingness to take on market risk and play where no one else is playing. If you, or anyone you know, is trying to figure out how to make the idea or job of your dreams happen, Sarah will inspire and offer a practical example.

My best,


P.S. Next Thursday, June 24th, on LinkedIn Live at 9am Eastern, we will be hosting Jesse Iwuji, a professional NASCAR driver and officer in the United States Navy Reserve. Mark your calendar and so you will be notified when we go live.

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