Glow Up With “No”
Success that is not fueled by happiness, is quite frankly, a pretty empty game.
I can testify to this because; been there. Bought the t-shirt.
Ten years ago, while on the phone and staring out at the Hong Kong view from my hotel window, I was being told that the line (of footwear) I just spent two weeks designing on my development trip was completely dropped.
Every. Single. Shoe.
Without anyone from the company I worked for, who sent me on the trip for this very critical project, having ever laid eyes on them.
This moment was the catalyst to finding my inner “no,” and letting it fly.
A single event finally turned loose my suppressed creative spirit, and began my roaring solopreneur adventure.
After 15 years designing in-house and “up the ladder” of success, I was ready to say “no” to: straining relationships (with factories and vendors, due to the poor business practices of my employer), the exhaustion of missing my family to fruitless business trips, and feeling divorced from the passion that propelled me to become a designer.
This wake-up call of “enough,” and finding the power of “no,” is what catapulted me from a successful career into a creative and fulfilling life.
When I returned to The States post-life-changing epiphany, I officially said “no” to my job, and “yes” to the biggest risk of my professional life … going on my own.
Best. Decision. Ever.
I’ll fast forward by simply stating that the most important thread woven through running a consultancy and creating Design Seeds, was my continued ability to say “no.”
“No” to online blogging trends that compromised reader privacy.
“No” to commercializing Design Seeds content.
“No” to opportunities which were essentially a return ticket to the in-house job I leapt from.
“No” to Quotes that were taking me on a ride that would only drain my bank account, and not move my brand or business forward.
“No” to media trends, and use the time to nurture community.
Today’s post shares ways you too can open up opportunity by dialing up your “no,” and fuel your business with the right kind of success.
Success connected to what inspired you to do what you do, the dream that launched your product line, or the people that made you fall in love with the game.
So if success is found in saying “no” 99% of the time, and “yes” that critical 1% … how do you know “no”?!
Personally, what has guided me this past decade in the 99% No Flow, is having a defined vision of what I am trying to achieve and what I want my brand(s) to stand for. I also have a little mental checklist that helps me connect to my gut instincts.
Considering how something aligns with your vision and checking in on how it makes you feel, helps clear the way to no.
Defining Your Vision
A vision is the backbone of your business and brand. It keeps you standing.
A handful of cornerstone statements is all it takes to define a vision to help know “no.”
By building an overarching vision for your brand from conception to the dream goal, it allows the vision to grow with your business, while grounding it with your beliefs.
The following questions are to help you create your vision by considering principles that inspired your brand, and what your brand aspires to be:
What does your brand stand for? (making people happy, raise awareness, inspire, cutting edge fashion, or make something easier for someone?)
Who are your ideal clients and customers?
What do you want people to feel and think when they see your logo or hear your (brand) name?
What is the tone and environment of your brand? (even if you are of the interwebs, your website is your environment)
What is the success you hope for? (making the best cookie ever, building a large social following for your brand, being able to be an independant specialist, working with only with your preferred clientele, cold cash flow, or inspiring others?)
When you define this foundation for your brand, it makes for an easy decision when people, inquiries, opportunities, or critical decisions present themselves by determining if they align your vision.
And if all of the above does not align with the principles of your vision (people, inquiries, opportunity, or critical decision) … it is an easy “no.”
Gut Check Pop Quiz
While your vision provides guiding principles, “checking your gut” is also essential before a final yes or no answer, because our instincts can often perceive what logic sometimes misses.
Quick gut checks for a potential vendor, client, contractor, opportunity, inquiry, or event:
How does _________ make you feel?
Does working with _________ move your brand and business forward, without the cost (emotional, logistical, financial) being greater than the benefit?
Does _________ grow your business in a way your want it to? (not all growth is good growth, it can just become more overhead with minimal growth to overall profit)
Does _________ align with what your brand represents?
Does _________ stretch your brand from its core competency?