Unmistakable No.

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The final Quest2016 nudge is from Srinivas Rao, host and founder of The Unmistakable Creative podcast where he has conducted over 500 interviews with thought leaders and people from all walks of life.

The Big Question:

What will you do in 2016 to assure you and your best work are unmistakable?

The Big Answer (It’s actually small.)


I’ll be the girl yelling NO from over in the corner. You’ll know it’s me. It’ll be unmistakable. And maybe my firm stance in NO will help you to practice this tiny (but powerful) word as well.

I want to, need to, practice saying NO.

I have hit some threshold. Maybe an age, maybe a sense of overwhelm, maybe a desire to linger more, to diver deeper. Maybe I have just seen the light.

The overwhelm is no longer satisfying. The small tasks no longer enjoyable. I don’t need to, and no longer want to, take on every (often undesirable) task doled out around the conference room table. That request where everyone looks down at her notepad as to avoid taking on yet another task, but where I would not-at-all-sheepishly raise my hand and say “Sure, sign me up for that!” with every legitimate ounce of enthusiasm. Because, when you are young and new and underfunded and trying to make your value known – that’s part of how you do it. Because, that’s what I was taught. Because, that’s what’s gotten me this far. But, that’s not what I need anymore, at least right now. I get it now. I get that I don’t need that now.

I’m practicing delegating. Honing. Valuing myself enough to get paid, and sufficiently, for the work I am doing. Because, what I want is to do a better job on fewer things.

Because now, now I feel solidly lodged in the places I want to be professionally (okay, at least at my job-job). I actually am somewhere. It feels good. It feels comforting. And I have appreciated that arrival, and savored it. And, quickly decided that I’m secure enough that I can actually just hold still, and do my own work. And that means saying NO. And focusing on making good of the work at hand. And delegating. And building a tiny wall with a sign that says “Keep Out. I am Important and Busy”. (That’s sort of tongue in cheek, but sort of not) Because, the biggest lesson I have learned this week is that I have to own it. Own the pitch. Own my sense of value. Work into the big, fullness of my self. And the only way to do that is to really puff out my chest a little and see how much I can expand. Because if I don’t believe I am big and good and worth it, no one else will.

I want my job-job to feel manageable and contained, because I want to make the space for the creative work, the farm work, the real work in this year ahead. Because that feels like the meaningful work, the heart opening work, the direction I want to go.

And, to get there, it involves NO. No to overwhelming job-job projects. NO to social events I don’t really want to attend. NO to the tiny things that turn into the big, time-sucking things. NO to washing the dishes right away if there is writing jumping out of my fingers instead. NO to things that don’t support, grow, expand or explode me. NO to anything I have started that just doesn’t fit the way I want (because quitting isn’t always quitting.) I think you get what I’m saying…so I’m just going to depart here and go out and do what needs to get done…

A few helpful resources of overwhelm, focus, NO and big projects…

Note to Self: A Neuroscientist’s Guide to Getting Organized
SARK: Micromovements