If it’s not a ‘Hell Yes’, it should be a ‘No”!

If you’ve ever struggled with saying no to someone or something, then read How to Find Your ‘No’ So You Can Start Saying ‘Yes!’ to What Actually Matters. Moral of the story: if it’s not a ‘Hell Yes’, it should be a ‘No’!

Saying ‘No’ is hard for me. If I see potential for something to make an impact I want to do it. I also don’t want to miss out on meeting new people or having fun with existing relationships. FOMO (fear of missing out) is so real!

The problem is, when I keep saying ‘Yes’ to people and new projects, I end up putting myself last. Particularly in the sleep, exercise and eating right categories. And then I feel bad about myself, and feel like I racing to keep up.

Enough. I’m making some chchchchanges!

Changes I’m making at work:

  • Maker mornings, manager afternoons.
  • Working from home one day a week to crank.
  • On Sunday, map weekly priorities and top of mind tasks. Print it off and if I haven’t checked off most of the Has to Get Done items by Thursday, something is wrong.

Changes I’m making at home:

  • Recommitting to prioritizing sleep, daily exercise, and healthy eating.
  • Extra weekend time to for food prep, sleep catch-up, and fun.

What will you say ‘No’ to in order to make room to say ‘Yes’ to what matters to you most?

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Take Conversations Past “So, What’s New With You”

Big family and friend gatherings are often filled with a lot of small talk. It’s a lot easier to ask the most basic of questions so most of us end up asking the same default questions like “so, what’s new with you?”

Thanksgiving can also be a great time for reflection. Reflection about what we’re grateful for and a great time to connect with those we love at a more intimate level.

How can you take the conversation past the weather? For me it helps to think of some interesting questions ahead of time.

Here are some questions I’ll have in my back pocket:

  • What are two things you’re grateful for?
  • Who is a person you’ve met this year who’s had a big impact on you?
  • What’s one of your favorite holiday memories?
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world for a month, where would you go and why?
  • What’s a habit you’ve building or changing?
  • What’s a book you’ve read and loved?

Asking a good question is just the beginning. We must also bring an inquisitive mind, genuine interest, and empathy in order to spark rich conversation. This then leads to deeper connections and helps us expand our worldview.

I’ve found that these questions aren’t just for adults. I’m always pleasantly surprised at the answers from the youngest family members.

What other questions help you inspire rich conversations?

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Make Time for Peer Networking

When was the last time you met with your peers outside of your own company?

It’s really easy to get trapped in the company bubble, and divide life into work and outside of work. I find it hugely valuable to meet with peers or colleagues who are either at similar stage companies (yes I work at a start-up) or at a slightly bigger or more funded company.

I also pick people who are in the same role as me, or have the role I want to have. And I purposefully pick people who work at companies that aren’t competitors so that we can be really transparent with each other.

When I did this over the past few weeks, it had multiple positive effects: it gave me the confidence that we’re on the right track, gave me a few new tactics to implement immediately, and gave me a sounding board to test ideas I’m thinking about. It also helped me prioritize our strategy, and help me decide which skills I need to prioritize cultivating.

You’ll never actually have time for this… you have to make time to do this. It’s worth it. (If you don’t know how to find these peers, here’s one way I do it: Hack Mentorship with Twitter).

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On Cultivating Willpower & Finding The Good

Has the election got you down? Are you questioning your belief in human goodness?

If so, check out Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s article How You Can Find the Good in a Nasty Election Cycle. It suggests that times like these call for heartfulness – courage to stay engaged, with an open heart and a determination to hold onto your faith in what connects us. She provides three strategies to transform moral distress into moral courage, moral elevation, and compassion.

It that’s enough, watch Isaac Lidsky’s TED Talk: What Reality Are You Creating For Yourself? It’s about why we have faulty assumptions and harbor bias, but also how we can let go of excuses, limitations and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.

He challenges us to answer the following questions:

  • Are you living your life eyes wide open?
  • What do you fear?
  • What lies do you tell yourself?
  • How do you embellish your truth and write your fictions?
  • What reality are you creating for yourself?

By holding ourselves accountable for our moments and thoughts, we can see beyond our fears, recognize assumptions, harness internal strength, and silence our internal critic. With empowerment comes complete responsibility. So choose to step out of fears and choose to build there a blessed life.

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Make Your WHYs Bigger Than Your BUTs

To get what we want, we have to make our WHYs bigger than our BUTs. How we handle our ‘whys’ and our ‘what nexts’ separates people who thrive versus people who languish.

Emiliya Zhivotovskaya is a leading voice in the world of positive psychology and the science of flourishing, but after a gut wrenching childhood and life riddled with loss, how does she remain focused on the positive?

Find out how in her talk: The Key To Optimism Is How You Explain What Happens To You.

Instead of giving up and blaming the world, she found awakening, strength and a renewed sense of gratitude. Now her goal is to help others flourish in the face of adversity.

It comes down to this: “Your thoughts create your reality. If you’re living a reality that doesn’t serve you, then change your thoughts, because then you’ll change your reality.”

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