Why Saying No Is Really Saying Yes

By Brianne Hogan, Guest Blogger July 25, 2015

Not to brag or anything, but I have a pretty stellar work ethic. As a freelancer, I kind of have to. There are no set hours. No hourly wage. No vacation time. When it comes to freelancing, time is, literally, money. If I’m not writing, editing, or pitching my next story, I am earning big fat zero dollars. So, it’s not totally surprising that when it comes to work, I’ve got a problem with saying the word “no.”

“Yes, I’ll contribute to that wedding blog at the height of wedding season!”

“Sure, I can write up copy for your ENTIRE website!”

“Ten thousand words in an hour? No problem!”

Part of the problem is my addiction to busyness, a big time issue with FOMO, and my fear of disappointing people. I want to stay in the (freelancing) game. I don’t want my current clients to forget about me nor do I want to lose current ones.


image via jennifersikora.com

Of course the downside to all of this is being overworked and, most importantly, not being a happy camper. So, as much as it pained me, I had to start saying no. I said “no” to projects, to people, and even to parties. I said it with confidence and kindness, but with firmness (because when you’re so used to saying yes to things, a flexible-sounding “no” can easily turn into a yes).

The cool thing is, once I did, I started realizing that a “no” really, really feels like a “no,” while a YES definitely feels like an OMG yes. That helped make it way easier for me to differentiate between what was worth saying “no” or YES to.

What is the difference?

A no feels gross. It gnaws at you. You procrastinate. It stays on your mind and not in an exciting way, but in that annoying-oh-it’s-you-again way. A no feels heavy and tired, and mostly, it just not feel like you.

A yes feels like a YES! It’s exhilarating. It gives you awesome butterflies. You can’t wait to do it. You think about it all the time because it makes you happy and passionate and determined. And it feels like you. The real you.

when I started saying no to things that didn’t rock my world, a whole lot of amazing Yeses began to appear in my life.

The more I started saying no to things, the more time I had to say YES to the things that I actually cared about. And guess what? My world didn’t come crashing down on me just because I said “no” to the medical journal editor who kept asking me to contribute to his site. Nor did the world stop turning when I said “no” to the party that was on the other side of town where I knew only one other person.

Because when I started saying no to things that didn’t rock my world, a whole lot of amazing Yeses began to appear in my life. Unexpected writing gigs, tennis lessons, a trip to Disney World – opportunities that I wouldn’t have been opened to if I had continued down my depressed path of saying yes to the no-worthy things.

This has been said many times before, but it’s worth repeating: if it’s not a HECK YES, it’s a no.

And that’s more than okay.

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About Brianne

BRIANNE_HOGAN_writer_bio.jpgBrianne is a freelance writer in Toronto. She loves animals, Hall & Oates and every kind of potato. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan.


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