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Say No With a Smile, Say Yes to What Matters

If you want your life to be less stressful and more fulfilling, you're going to have to say no to a lot of opportunities, even good ones. Your reward? More time for the contributions you were meant to make, the ones that light you up.

How I learned to say no with a smile

Someone once asked me to take over a volunteer newsletter, when my full-time job was overseeing two newsletters. By the sheer grace of God, I heard myself say nice as pie, "I need to let that opportunity go to someone else."

Bingo. It was true! I had to turn down the volunteer role so I could give myself fully to the professional role—and not burn out. What about you?

Which of your roles need nurturing and protecting?

For example, maybe you're the family breadwinner—or the parent of teenagers who will be soon be heading off to college. Or a proud grandparent. These are roles worth protecting, even if it means saying no to other priorities.

For myself, I want to take time to enjoy visits with my parents. I want to spend less time filing papers and more time creating. Right now I'm creating a book and a couple of speeches that really do light me up.

What lights you up?

Or to put it more simply, what's at the top of your priority list? How will these priorities be affected by new requests? Once you reflect on your answers, it becomes easier to say yes with conviction or no with a smile.

P.S. One of the best compliments I ever received was when a newscaster friend told me that Raoul and I are like Peaches and Herb. Who was I to question? ;-) This was one of my favorite interviews. Enjoy the laughs and practical tips!

Learning to say "No" creates more time for work that lights you up.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at