Seven things that happened when I started saying ‘no’

“Phoebe can you organise this for me?”

“Do you have a moment to show me how to use this?”

“Could you quickly do that for me while I finish up here?”

We sometimes underestimate the power our words have, and ‘no’ is a word that holds a lot of power.

Here’s what happened when I started saying no more often.


1. I had more time to create dope content. 

Now don’t get me wrong I love helping people, but I also love working. I was automatically saying yes to everyone’s requests to go out for dinner/to the club/accompany them shopping, and working to their schedule instead of mine.

Learning to say no to non-essential outings meant I had time to spend on my priorities (like this blog.)

2. I stopped feeling bad, eventually. 

I have to admit at the beginning I felt like a monster, but once I saw how much more comfortable I felt working to my own schedule, all that guilt subsided.

Remember: You don’t have to tell someone why you don’t want to do something.

(Unless it’s your mum, sorry.)


Black dress: Zara. Gold shoes: New Look

3. I found out that I actually don’t like being busy. 

There’s a myth among creatives that being busy means you’re successful. Hmm, waking up to see more than five engagements on my calendar does not make me feel successful.

Let’s stop glorifying all this late night hustling, and start looking for results from this busy work.

4. I really committed to the invitations I did accept.

Do you know how nice it is to have a whole afternoon to get ready for a dinner because you said no to all the other weekend plans and tasks?

Turning up to an event well-rested, with my to-do list finished, in a well-thought-out outfit, with a gift is my new favourite feeling.


5. People got very confused. 

You don’t realise how often you say yes, until you start saying no. Most of the time people just assume you’re going to say yes before you even reply.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying no, in fact my no is now stronger than my yes.

But: you have to be polite. This is not an exercise in cutting everyone off and being selfish, it’s about working to your own schedule.

This means saying; “sorry I won’t be able to make it this time” instead of “no Sharon, I’m not coming to your seventh flat warming of the year.”

See the difference?

Other polite no phrases include:

“Thanks for the opportunity but writing/photography/modelling is not something I’m prioritising at the moment”

“I’d love to but my schedule just won’t allow it at he moment!”

“Sorry, I need to rest after a crazy week! Can I take you out to lunch next month instead?”

6. I felt liberated. 
I refuse to let people squeeze their way into my schedule without my consent. I’m ticking more tasks than ever off my lengthy to-do list.

This week I challenge you to try going a whole day only doing things that you really want to do, then tweet me and let me know how you feel.



7. I finally understood the phrase “I’m doing me.” 

Laugh all you want but I had been singing ‘Over’ by Drake for quite some time, really thinking I was ‘doing me.’

I was so wrong.
What I was actually doing was spending the time left over after everyone else had taken what they needed from me to complete a few tasks I wanted to.


See how the outfit in this post was shot below.


Photography by the talented Gabrielle Cooper

Encouragement, banter and behind the scenes video by Asia V (to be released July 20)


Further reading (and listening): 

TWO Types of “HUSTLERS”: One Isn’t Hustling At All – Myleik Teele’s pocast

The Power of Saying ‘No’ – The Entrepreneur

Say No So You Can Say Yes – Zen Habits


You can now sign up to my email list to receive my free workbook on how to market your content effectively on and offline:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

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