Learning to Say No is Overrated

Give Focused Attention to Your Intentions

Timothy Eldred


Do you ever struggle with saying no? Most people do. Why? Why do we jump when someone says jump? Why do we let others pull our strings? I’m not talking about our 9 to 5. I’m talking about our life.

I’m sure you know the feeling. The invitation arrives or the call comes and our first thought is often, “Shit. I don’t have time for that today.” But we go anyway, right? For some, it’s just easier. After all, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. For others, it’s a way to avoid rejection. For most, it’s a lack of priorities that prevents saying no.

Or maybe we like being busy. After all, busy equals productivity, right? Rarely. Being busy isn’t a redeeming quality. Most of the time it’s an excuse or a failure to focus. Today, my life is busier than ever! The difference is I’m busy doing what’s vital to my mission, priorities, and goals. Those aren’t just ideas. They’re tasks on my calendar.

Making the Pivot

About eight months before my 50th birthday, I decided to make a major change. I was tired of the road. Tired of hotel rooms. And tired of flying 100+ days a year. Changing my routine would mean changing my career. But it was time. My passion had expanded. After 30 great years, I was ready to explore and sail other waters.

I was warned by my CompleMentor that when you try to leave the aquarium, people won’t let you. He was right. Beware: Drastic change requires tenacious resolve. But I was committed. And scared. Not of the risks. Of drowning. What if this didn’t work? What if no one cares about what I have to say? What if I can’t pay my bills?

My plan rested on the foundation of my new mission statement with a framework built on clear objectives I wanted to accomplish in the next season of my life.

Sailing in Stormy Seas

I finally got the courage to embark on this new adventure. On June 3, I celebrated a half-century. And then I started a summer-long sabbatical to get my bearings. Little did I know I would be sailing in stormy seas. About the time I embarked on my voyage, I was also swamped with health issues with the power to sink my life.

My plan was harpooned. Not only would I be diagnosed with a suspected brain aneurysm but also a rare and debilitating nerve disorder. I was forced back to shore.



Timothy Eldred

Writer, speaker, bourbon drinker, and friendly disrupter of the status quo helping people live with authenticity. timothyeldred.com. I also write on Substack.