The Power of No

This will be title of my second book, if I ever finish the first one. I’ll get to cash in on Eckhart Tolle’s Amazon searches and make a mint!

power of no

But seriously, with ‘the silly season’ upon us I have been thinking a lot about the power of that little word, ‘no’.

Anyone else have trouble with this word? I sure have. It has plagued me with its miniscule elusiveness and my inability to utter it when I want to.


It sounds so simple, so why have I always had such a hard time with it?

Because saying ‘no’ means not giving people what they want in favour of what I want.

It’s a self-esteem issue through and through and I since am a recovering people pleaser from way back, I’ve been experimenting with this powerful little word.

Because, you see, I am developing a pretty clear vision of how I want to live.

Slow. Connected. Inspired. Free.

I love my own company more than I ever have and I gather my energy in stillness, not through busyness.

I am more concerned these days with what I think about myself than what other people do.

Believe me, this is massive turn around from how I lived the first 30 years of my life, which is why I am still finding my feet with it. But with the new year (and my 34th birthday) almost upon us, I am thinking about the things I am saying ‘no’ to in order to make space for my deepest desired ‘yesses.’


Yep, I am saying ‘no’ to the force which has driven me through most of my life. Whether it’s striving for ‘success’ or popularity or creative accomplishment, I am saying no to that urgent, impatient way of getting there so that I can say yes to following my bliss and know that all I desire will manifest in divine timing.


I have pretty much let go of my old friend, ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ but I do occasionally use the word ‘should’ in regards to our travels. The truth is, I like doing nothing in exotic places sometimes. This is my life, not a vacation and like the seasons, my energy ebbs and flows, along with my desires.

I want to honour that and listen to my inner being, rather than stick to pre-determined schedule.

We’ll be spending my birthday and New Years’ eve in Salt Lake City on our way to Colorado for a house sit and I can think of nothing I’d rather do than stay in the hotel room eating Thai food and watching TV. If Mick Dodge or The Kardashians is on, I will be the happiest girl alive.


Of myself and others. Letting go of the jury in my head who analyzes every interaction. I lose my cool, I react negatively sometimes, I have ‘a past’ but I am human and so is everyone else. I don’t hold any grudges to any person on the planet, so why should I hold any against myself?

We are all just trying to find our way in this world and I truly think the ultimate lesson down here is compassion. For ourselves. For our fellow humans. We may have different opinions and ways of doing things, but there are reasons for that and many of us are the product of our experiences.

Things that don’t bring me Joy

If it’s not going to raise the joy-meter, I’m not doing it. That goes for all things professional and personal.

I’d rather have a few, high-quality relationships and focus on a couple of deeply satisfying projects than try to be everything to everyone.

Of course, I will wander off course with this one because I am still figuring out what I want, but I have begun to follow my joy into everything I do. No more putting it off until tomorrow ‘until I get this done or keep that person happy.’

Saying a (simple, respectful) ‘no’ to the noise ‘out there’ allows me to say a resounding “Hell Yes!” to the things which matter to me: Time. Stillness. Self-love. Presence. Joy. Freedom. Connection. Creativity. Adventure.

The things we love are the things we’re meant to do, and since those things are different for everyone it is vital to get clear on them so we can be true to ourselves.

I don’t think we will have a true sense of fulfillment until we do.

As 2015 approaches, I encourage you to say no to whatever is preventing you from saying YES to that which lights you up from the inside out.

For you will be doing yourself and the world a BIG favour when you do.

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The Power of No — 16 Comments

  1. Yes! I mean…NO! 😉
    I absolutely agree. I am so bad about trying to please everyone that I end up feeling depleted and angry about not having any time. That’s totally my fault! It’s a good habit to say no once in awhile. I have been practicing letting go of my perfectionism at work. I tend to not only want to do a good job, but do the best job anyone has ever done ever. In doing that, I’m overloading myself, feeling bad when I make mistakes and then end up maybe missing out on lessons early on.
    “I don’t hold any grudges to any person on the planet, so why should I hold any against myself?” That is such a good point. I am not a grudge holder – I can’t stand the thought of holding on to things in the past…unless it’s something I’ve done. Then I can hold a grudge for years. Decades even. I will try to think about this next time I’m tempted to feel crappy about choices I’ve made in the past.
    Carmel recently posted..MERRY CHRISTMAS! THIS IS YOUR CHRISTMAS CARDMy Profile

    • Yes, I think many of us over-extend ourselves in order to prove our worth. I know I have done it over and over and over and over, and I think a lot of other people (particularly women) will be able to relate to that, so thank you so much for sharing about here. It’s a paradox because we want to serve others, to help and support the people we love, but we simply cannot do it successfully until we serve ourselves first. We owe it to ourselves to nurture ourselves from the inside out. It has become a priority for me, and while it felt strange at first, it has made such a difference to my level of contentment I wonder how I got on before! Much love to you Carmel, I am so happy we got to meet in person and I am excited about your journey ahead xxx Happy New Year xxx

    • Right?! I am sure you guys can relate to the quote and the big YES which is burning inside you. I am so happy you are following it xxx SO great meeting you both!

    • Thank you Emily! I find it helpful to ask myself – what kind of life do I want? How do I want to feel? (and I recommend Danielle LaPorte’s book, Desire Map for help on that). When you know what you are saying yes to, the ‘nos’ are a bit easier to define. Lots of love to you and all the very best for an amazing 2015 xxx

  2. This is lovely Sarah and something that I could be a bit better at myself. Also, after reading the four billion books I’ve read on writing a book proposal and getting a book deal, I think your “POWER OF NO” book really has some selling power :) Finally, I can’t wait for your e-retreat to start. I need these gentle reminders in my days.
    Kim recently posted..4 Years in PhotosMy Profile

  3. I think one thing travelers (especially women travelers?) have in common is that we tend to say yes more than we say no. I would say that most of the best experiences in my life have come from saying yes and I do have such a hard time saying no… because what if I miss out? Or hurt someone’s feelings? Or think I know better when I really don’t? Saying yes often puts us outside of our comfort zones, but that can be a really good thing.

    That said, I think it is important to stand up for oneself and prioritize your own happiness, and sometimes that does mean saying no. It’s a hard balance to strike—I don’t want to close myself off to things, but I don’t want to overextend myself either. I know I have deep introverted tendencies and if I let that guide me, I’d probably never see other people which wouldn’t be good either. So there is power in saying no, but I think there can be enlightenment in saying yes too. As always, it’s about balance, which seems to be the hardest thing to find!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Roman RamblingsMy Profile

    • Yes, perhaps a better title for the post would be ‘The Power of Discernment,’ because that is what it is really about (but it wasn’t as catchy, haha!). My new rule of thumb is that I say yes to expansion and no if I am going to have to contract in order to do something. I wish you a wonderful year full of empowering discernment, Steph! xxx

  4. A while ago my spiritual teacher told me all about co-dependency and how so many of us suffer from it and this is why we can’t say no. I did so much work in this area and even took a frickin course on it. Four years later I still can’t say no. lol

    I’m not sure why but I really want to look after people and make sure they’re happy and so I always say yes to try to help them. Plus I overcommit and forget that there’s only 24 hours in a day.

    I still have no idea how I can get myself to say no so perhaps this will come up for me during the e-retreat.
    Karyn @ Not Done Travelling recently posted..And One More Special Announcement…My Profile

    • Oh yes, I hear you. I have SO been there and have to continually maintain awareness of it. That’s one of the reasons I launched the e-retreat, because I believe we need to nurture our inner being which exists in wholeness, worthiness and absolute ‘enoughness’ no matter what anyone thinks of us! xxx

  5. It is so important to say ‘no’ – and it’s surprisingly difficult. I made the decision to say ‘no’ in early 2013, and my life has been so much better since. The other thing I have learnt is that “because I want to” is a perfectly good reason for anything. No more justifying my decisions, trying to demonstrate to people why I do what I do… nowadays I do things “because I want to”.
    Tim | UrbanDuniya recently posted..With eTramping: Malé, Maldives for under $25 a dayMy Profile