October President's Message

The Power of Saying No… It’s not What You Think!

In late September NAWBO hosted its annual Women’s Business Conference in charming Spokane, Washington. Hundreds of women business owners gathered to share best practices, learn from industry experts, and network with peers. Keynote speakers provided inspiration, including headliner Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, and one of my absolute favorites, Big Magic, who urged us to make change in life and business, or take action in new and different ways. 

Gilbert was deeply moving and humorous. She shared her stories of personal love and loss, provided insight into her entrepreneurial journey, and revealed how she created the life she imagined despite working three jobs in her twenties and not having “enough time to write.” So how did she go from that multi-focus rat race to a major bestselling author with a cult following?

She embraced her power to say “no.”  Sounds like advice we as business owners have heard before. 

But wait, it’s not what you think. 

Gilbert changed the advice to say “no” to the things she most wanted to do, so she could say “yes” to the life she deeply desired.  For her that meant sacrificing the vacation she wanted to go on with friends, time with family, even canceling her cable so she wouldn’t be lured into wasting time with her favorite TV shows.  At the end of one year of empowering herself to say “no” to what she wanted to do, she completed her first book, viewed herself as a writer for the first time, and found herself on the journey to living the life she imagined.

Before you dismiss this advice as not practical, think about what you could “give up” just once or for a short time, that would have long term benefits. Gilbert didn’t give up vacations permanently, just that one summer, along with TV temporarily, time with family for a season, etc. – all of which resulted in her feeling happier, her life being richer, more fulfilling and what she envisioned it to be. 

What are the things you want to do that you could say “no” to, which would give you the time, singular focus, and freedom to truly create the life you desire?

This is a new way to step into your power.

As women business owners we are lucky that a group of women from NAWBO and the Women’s Business Council said “no” to focusing solely on running their businesses in 1987-1988 so they could say “yes” to creating the means for women like you and me to obtain access to capital without requiring a male to co-sign for us.

This month marks the 30thanniversary of HR5050.  The willingness of our NAWBO predecessors and sisters to sacrifice the short-term necessity of running their businesses, to instead spend countless hours on Capitol Hill influencing the passage of this bill, has helped many of us live the life we always imagined. Talk about a powerful way to say “no” that resulted in critical business and life impact.

Consider how the power of saying “no” to what you want to do would look like, feel like.  What would this create for you and your business over the next 30 days or six months? 

If someone says “no” to you, to get to her “yes”, try not to take it as rejection. Instead, think of it as supporting another business owner to embrace her power. Let’s celebrate the “yes” we’re creating together.  

To your continued success,

Tonya Tiggett

President, NAWBO Columbus