3 Ways The Simple Art of Saying No Can Help You Grow Your Business | by Kristina Jancar | The Startup | Jun, 2021

Not every opportunity that knocks is a calling you should answer. This advice might seem counterintuitive as you start to grow your business.

When you work hard, take calculated risks, and are open to change, you will likely see any opportunities presenting themself to you as a sign that you’re manifesting the abundance you deserve.

You’re not. Sorry, I’m not sorry for hitting you with a truth bomb.

Pursuing every avenue that opens up is a sure way to spread yourself too thin. George McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, offers the way of the essentialist is about constantly pausing to ask yourself, “Am I investing in the right activities?”

And that’s where we’ll start. Here are three ways to check in with yourself to make sure you’re saying “no” to grow your business.

According to this article on Vox, “Shut Up, I’m Manifesting” was one of the culturally significant memes of the pandemic. Rebecca Jennings, a Senior Reporter at Vox, goes on to describe this practice:

Manifesting is the practice of thinking aspirational thoughts with the purpose of making them real. In 2020, Google searches for the term have skyrocketed 669 percent.

Confession time. I am guilty of manic manifesting.

Self-help author and entrepreneur Gabby Bernstein defines manic manifesting as “the ways we try to control our outcomes.” Even worse, when we try to control or manipulate our manifestations, she says our energy becomes frantic and needy.

When I launched my yoga teaching side hustle in the Spring of 2021, I convinced myself that success was equivalent to the number of students I could teach. Since the practice served me so much, I wanted to reach as many people as possible.

I connected with several local businesses and asked for opportunities to teach. I was shocked when everyone said, “yes.” Even more mind-blowing to me was how many opportunities started falling in my lap. People were reaching out to me to ask me to teach to their audience. I said “yes” to everyone. I thought this was what I had manifested.

I was wrong. I was overcommitted, drained, and burned out shortly after I began. I would show up to events where there was very little interest in learning the actual practice of yoga. I had a heart-to-heart with myself that I was out of alignment with my purpose. I wanted to reach people, but I was pushing too hard.

Instead, I etched a new intention in my manifesto: “I want to reach people and teach people, but I don’t want to push. I want to meet people where they are.”

I stopped soliciting people individually to come to my classes. I said “yes” only to the opportunities aligned with my purpose — for example, saying “no” to teaching yoga at a smoothie shop and “yes” to wellness-based experiences like an early morning Row & Flow (kayaking combined with beach yoga).

So, what happened? The people I was hoping to reach in my community loved the idea of Row & Flow. I didn’t have to solicit, I promoted the class and how lovely the experience is, and people started to book with me several months in advance. I quadrupled what I had been earning for a single day of teaching. And I love every moment of my Saturday morning excursions.

Based on my experience and reading the work of George McKeown and Gabby Bernstein, here are some signs you’re pushing too hard to manifest success:

  • You have a very specific vision of what success looks like for your business, and you exert too much energy in multiple places to meet the scope of your definition.
  • You are no longer meeting the intention behind the launch of your start-up or side hustle because you are pulling yourself in multiple directions.
  • You say “yes” to every opportunity that might grow your business. Even if you don’t really want to do something.

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