UPCOMING: Co-Creation 101  | March 12th, 2024 11:00am - 12:00pm MDT

Mastering the Art of Saying “No”

January 11, 2024

Show Notes

Saying “yes” feels like the best way to be an empowering leader. More often than not, however, it leads to cluttered priorities and diluted impact. Tucker and Sarah tackle a truth that often gets lost in the hustle: not every opportunity is worth taking.

Choosing what to say “yes” to is about figuring out what really matters, what aligns with your values, and what will truly drive your mission forward. Easier said than done? Definitely. Worth it? Also definitely.

Key Moments:

  • The Art of Saying No: A Leadership Challenge
  • Personal Insights on Refusal as Empowerment
  • Strategies for Effective Decision-Making
  • Aligning Choices with Core Values and Vision
  • The Impact of No on Personal and Organizational Growth
  • Embracing No for a More Focused Future

Through candid conversations and personal stories, they uncover the transformative power of leveraging “no” to amplify the impact of your “yeses.” Packed with practical applications, this episode showcases how saying “no” can actually be (and usually is) more empowering than giving every idea and opportunity a green light.

For leaders looking to refine their decision-making process and bring more clarity and purpose to their work, this episode is a compelling call to embrace the power of saying “no” for a more focused, impactful, and authentic leadership journey.

Listener Resources:

10x is Easier Than 2x Book – https://amzn.to/44EKQVR

Letting go of the 80% – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76qipuL9eXk

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Transcript

Tucker Wannamaker:
Welcome to Thrivers Impact-Driven Leadership for the next normal. I am your host, Tucker Wannamaker, the CEO of Thrive Impact. Our mission is to empower impact-driven leaders and organizations to create impact from the inside out. Burnout is the enemy of creating positive change, and we want to connect you with impact-driven leaders and ideas, so that you can learn to thrive in today’s landscape. I’m joined by my co-host, Sarah Fanslau, our Chief of Impact at Thrive Impact. Good to be with you here, Sarah, today on the podcast.

Sarah Fanslau:
So good to be here, Tucker, and I’m really excited for today’s episode. I mean, I think we say that every time, but I am because-

Tucker:
This is like your episode.

Sarah:
Yes. We are talking about my world-famous quote, your no’s give power to your most important yeses. And we’re really going to try to unpack what that means, why it’s so hard, and why people should do it anyway in a world where it’s easy and feels good to say yes. So with that being said-

Tucker:
Can you just say the quote one more time, just slow it down.

Sarah:
Our no’s give power to our most important yeses.

Tucker:
Now, I encourage all of you to just pause the podcast and just sit in that for just a moment. Okay. That’s all I got.

Sarah:
Okay, perfect. Well, this quote is easy for me to be totally honest because I’m a no person. I’m like, “Nope, nope, nope. No, no, no, no. I don’t think that’s right. No, no.” But you are not a no person, and so it’s hard for you. So I want to know Tucker, why is saying no so you can say more yeses so hard?

Tucker:
Thanks for diving into the deep end right away, Sarah.

Sarah:
I’m just jumping in.

Tucker:
Oh, I mean in my head I know some of the language around, no. For example, the word decide means to kill choice. And killing choice feels like killing maybe even a level of autonomy or killing a level of my own freedom or something. It’s a killing of choice. And that feels tough.
I will say more of a deeper level this year, and I think I’ve shared this in the podcast, I can’t remember, but some of my own, frankly, my own healing this year. That’s a word that has come up for me around a word that kind of represents this year personally/ but I’m going to go real deep in the deep end right now, which is what I realized, I was going through a process earlier this year of, I had a guy on our team, Aaron, who used to say to me, “Every time you say the word revenue, Tucker, your energy totally changes. When we talk about relationships, you come alive and you love it. But anytime we say the word revenue, your energy changes and it goes down pretty significantly.”
And it went through a variety of sequences that he really guided me through that were very mindful. It was some … I can’t remember the term for it, but it kind of goes back into your past and where does your body feel that energy? He invited me into a time where I had a recent fundraising or business development conversation where it didn’t quite go as you planned. And then he said, so go get yourself grounded in that, and then where did you feel it in your body? And we’re in this mindful space, and he invited me to think back into … or ask my body literally, when was the first time you ever felt that feeling? It may have nothing to do with revenue. It could be anything. Just when did your body first feel that feeling?
And I remember it was a time for me what had come up and emerged for me was it was a time when I was a teenager. I remember I was actually at church and some of the pastors were there and some of the just other guys. And I remembered this feeling of really, really wanting to fit in and be relevant. And I felt it in my shoulders, which is where I felt it for that revenue conversation. This feeling of like, I might not fit in or this feeling of, I want to fit in and I want to belong, and in order to do that, maybe I need to be more relevant and more interesting. And I’m using this story to speak to this no issue because some of the things that … and that was just the beginning of this journey for me, that was healing in me, was this feeling of missing out. I mean, straight up FOMO. I mean, we of course pervasive in our culture.
And I had this so deeply ingrained in me that for me to say no to something totally tapped into this deeper space in me that it means I could be alone. It was going to that or I’m not relevant in the world, and relevance to me is a big thing. I want to be relevant in the world on the leading edge of stuff and saying no to something brings up that emotion in me. I feel it saying no. And that’s not for everybody, obviously, that’s my own just personal lived experience.

Sarah:
Of course.

Tucker:
But I’ve definitely learned since some of the experiences that I went through with Aaron that I feel like I’ve been able to speak into that part of my teenage self and bring him forward into my life now. Because I don’t need those old beliefs that have been so deeply ingrained in me. And I think through some of that healing, quite literally, I was able to come to some of the conclusions that you’ve been hitting me with graciously, for the most part, I would say 95% of it is graciously.

Sarah:
Cannot be gracious.

Tucker:
Every once in a while you’re like, “Tucker, what the hell?”

Sarah:
That happens too.

Tucker:
Is because what was really going on inside of me is I feel very deeply. And so to say no to something like for example, our last podcast episode was a closer of a version of our Thrivers program that we’ve had. That was so hard. I mean, that was a year and a half in the making. And it was a beautiful space, we had created such great relationships and y’all listened to some of what people shared in the last episode. And it was also not a part of what we are going to continue to build on is our 10 x future as Thriving Pack.
And it was important for me to say no so that I could say deeper yeses into some of the things that are emerging for me around my role in our 10 x future, my 10 x role in our 10 x future. And by the way, I’m using this language, 10 x, it’s based on the book by Dr. Benjamin Hardy, which is 10 x is easier than two x. He’s an organizational psychologist that … and we’ve actually been using some of his concepts directly in our facilitated workshops around things like strategic planning and your future orientation is letting go of some of the past that may be not serving you anymore. But it’s really psychologically heavy. And he hits it on that a little bit in the book too, of your identity of saying no to things so you can go deep into what’s the best and most unique value you bring. That requires a shift in your own identity, which is the stories you tell about yourself and the standards you hold for yourself. And I realized I needed to shift … I’m going through an identity shift, and that’s just hard stuff.
And especially if you’ve been in nonprofit for a long time or an impact driven leader who’s been building a lot of things and have already way too many yeses, which by the way, what is it? Probably every single one of our clients that we work with.

Sarah:
Yeah, all of them.

Tucker:
Every one of them have too many yeses and not enough no’s so that they can double down on their most important yeses. That it’s not just like an easy thing to do, especially when our work is so close to our hearts and we care so deeply. It is not an easy thing to do, but it’s a really important thing to do.

Sarah:
Well, yeah. I mean, first of all, thanks for sharing that story, I think it’s a really powerful one. And one of the things it raised for me was that sometimes when we’re talking about saying no to organizations, we can look at the numbers and say, “On paper, this makes no sense.” And that is actually the easy part. On paper we can say, “Okay, is this thing bringing in more money than we’re spending against it? Is it having the impact of the value we want to have?” And we can ask and answer those questions relatively easily.
But what it comes to, I think, and you were pointing this out, is really it’s about people and it’s about relationships. And so when we’re saying no, it may say, “Oh, we’re saying no to this program.” But nobody thinks about the program, they think about the person and the program they know. They think about the person in the community group they know. And I think what you hit on so beautifully was that it’s about disappointing people in some ways. And that’s really hard for us as humans to do.

Tucker:
Yeah. Oh man, I’m sitting in that one. That is so much of what I felt. And I remember the moment I had shared even with our current Thrivers group of I need to step away. Yeah, I mean, even just thinking about it right now. I still am wrestling with, frankly, some guilt with, am I abandoning people? I mean a lot of things. And I just had to be honest about it and just say, here’s what is here. Not make a judgment on what it is. Just say, here’s what is.
And frankly, it goes back into so many of our podcasts, of course, about co-creation. I was spinning so much inside of myself and I realized I just needed to let it out and share it with the group. And share just where I am. And I want to leave well, that’s another important thing. Is I want to leave well, and how do we create spaces for people to leave well? That’s a whole other topic. But this is just the reality of where I am and I’m not sure how do I really figure this out and can you all help me? But yeah, there was that deep level of, am I disappointing people?

Sarah:
Yeah. What is that going to mean?

Tucker:
Am mean letting people down? And the reality is I probably did still.

Sarah:
Yeah. Well, this is the interesting thing, ultimately, and this probably makes it even harder to say, so I debate about whether to say it. But ultimately it’s a trade-off. And so if we can’t say yes to all of the things and all of the people, which we can’t, then we have to choose about what was and what is. And that means saying, it’s almost like when you’re younger and you’re in a relationship that you’re like, “This was good for a while, but now I’ve grown and I need something else.” And you shift. It’s almost that in that we’re saying, and to your point, it’s not really a judgment call. It’s not to say it’s necessarily about the other, but it’s really about the shift in the person choosing to say the no. And the path that that person is choosing to go on. But it’s hard because ultimately it means saying, “You know what? That was, and now there’s something else that is.”

Tucker:
Well, which goes back into the 10 x is easier than two x. And in the reality of when we let our past drive our present, it’s a lot less effective, and it’s maybe incremental in terms of your own growth. But when we let our future drive our present, it’s a lot different of a shift. And that’s some of that 10 x again, I’m not going to go into that because that’s Benjamin Hardy’s work, and I totally recommend getting his book or looking up his video series. We’ll try to put some of those links in the show notes.
But it is really transformational and fundamentally a shift. And he even says, our brains just want something to work on. So if you give it a two x problem, it’s going to work on that. Which is a lot of complexity, which is a lot of … there are so many paths to two x because you have so many yeses. So there’s so many things that you’re working on, which is ultimately creating a space where you’re burning out and you’re stretched too thin. And I mean, how many words can we come up with around burnout? Doing too many things, too busy, whatever it might be.
Whereas when we really jump into that future, and that’s what we’ve been wrestling through, and we’re going to bring this forward in some of our podcasts here in a little bit over the next few months. Is what is our 10 x self as Thrive Impact? Which means that if we want to double down on our unique value in the ecosystem that we exist in, which is around impact-driven leadership, then what do we need to let go of in order to say the big yes in order to go into that space?

Sarah:
Well, so Tucker, we’ve talked a little bit about saying no, we’ve talked about why it’s important and why it’s hard. I’m curious from your perspective, as someone who’s recently done it, what are some tools and tips that make it easier? Especially if you’re a person who really struggles to say no, what are some ways that you can make it easier for yourselves and others?

Tucker:
Well, I mentioned one already, but I would say is to get it out.

Sarah:
Yeah, share it with people.

Tucker:
I think so much of the no it’s the old Viktor Frankl quote of between the stimulus and response, there is a space. And the stimulus is I need to say no to something. The response is like my assessment or now judgment based on that. Well, there is a space in there, and I realized for me that I knew that it was there. And so I just said I just needed to be honest about what is. And not what that now means, but what is. And what is I need to step away from this particular group. And then literally getting it out and sharing it with others of what I’m noticing, I’m feeling around that. And then asking people for support around how to leave well and how to do it because I just didn’t want to disappoint people.
And so I think fundamentally it’s co-create. Straight up, get it out. And that’s the same thing that happened with me earlier this year with you all, with the team. Where I’d gone through some of that healing around revenue and we had hit a really significant cashflow crunch earlier this year too. And I knew almost in a sense I needed to come clean. Not that I was doing anything bad, but I was creating isolation in revenue because I was so afraid of … I didn’t realize it, but it was ultimately me being afraid of people leaving. I was afraid of loneliness. And I just had to come out with it all and be like, “I’m changing and I need help on how to change.”
And so I think the biggest tip is get out of isolation as fast as possible because it does not serve you. When you know that it’s there, share with others. And especially those who are really relevant to the situation. That can help you and invite them and just say, “I don’t know the answer here on how to go about doing it. But I know that this is what is true about where I’m at right now.” And I think people want to help. I mean, maybe somebody doesn’t, and if you try this and you have some of that vulnerability, maybe they don’t. Either way, I generally have the belief that … and especially if you’ve built relationships with people, that they want to help you. And it’s okay to be a part of the receiving of their help, because I’m guessing you also give to them too. And when you have that reciprocation with each other, it really creates a more beautiful space.

Sarah:
Yeah, I agree. And we’ve definitely seen in some of our work with folks this year as part of strategic planning, that folks are trying to figure out what to say no to. And maybe it’s who they’re serving, they’re trying to figure out how to reduce the number of groups. Or maybe it’s saying no to one of the roles they’ve been playing in the community, one of our partners was a convener, a capacity builder, a direct service agent, all of this thing, and they couldn’t do it all well. And so they had to really focus.
And now they had a group of folks inside of the organization helping them think about where to focus. And of course, they had us guiding them through these conversations. And I think there are times where even when a majority comes to a decision, there are people that will not like the no. They’re not going to like it. Even if they’re supporting you personally, they’re not going to like it. And I remember, Tucker, recently you sharing something actually that one of the Thrivers shared with you around energy. Do you remember that? That you were sharing with me?

Tucker:
Oh, yeah.

Sarah:
Can you share that with folks? Because I think there are cases where people are going to be angry at you for saying no, just straight up. And how do you as a leader figure out how to deal with that?

Tucker:
Yeah. Amy Alanes. Shout out to you, Amy, you’re incredible nonprofit leader. She had shared with me this concept called Ikigai, which is a simple way of thinking about it … Wait, was it this one? I think it was. No, Ikigai is a bigger one. I can’t remember the exact phrase. It was something in Ikigai, which is a more holistic thing. But what it was was about deflecting energy. And so many times as if arrows are coming at us, so many times we take the arrows in. So if somebody’s disappointed in you, then you actually take in that energy into you. And now you feel guilty and sad and whatever.
And so the concept, which I’m not going to at all give it justice and forgive me for not getting the exact name. But it’s essentially a form of deflecting almost as if your arm is going up or you’re a shield. And you’re helping to notice what energy is coming your way. It’s a little bit of pause, notice, choose, to be honest with you. It’s a little bit of notice what’s coming your way, what energy is coming your way from various different people. And how to deflect that away from sinking into you and choosing how you want to still move forward.

Sarah:
Well, sorry for putting you on the spot about that.

Tucker:
No, it’s okay.

Sarah:
When you shared it with me, it resonated with me. In part because at my last organization where I led a relatively large team through hard times, I felt that those arrows constantly. And it was actually a real reason why I struggled to stay there as a leader, because I didn’t feel supported in dealing with those arrows. And I didn’t know personally how to do that. And so constantly feeling attacked and wounded as a leader is a really hard spot to be in constantly. It is not a productive space as a leader to be feeling constantly attacked. And folks are trying to hurt you, and you’re often the person, even if you’ve co-created, sometimes you need to make a call that others don’t like.
And so in holding both of those things, this idea of hearing voices and allowing disappointments, but not taking them personally feels like a really important piece as leaders think about moving into nose. It’s not always easy and quite frankly, even when it’s personally easy, it can sometimes be externally hard.

Tucker:
I really resonate with you around … it’s a little bit of the old Teddy Roosevelt that Brené Brown always brings out too of if you’re in the arena, you’re going to get hit.

Sarah:
Totally.

Tucker:
But it’s still better to be in the arena and fight the good fight.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Tucker:
And I also think this is part of the whole purpose of this podcast is the good fight is you’re trying to create positive change. And this is where there are some organizational ways that you are able to be able to create a more objective approach to saying no than a subjective, I just don’t want to do this anymore.
Now, I was sharing a lot of very personal stories around knowing what’s up with me, but I’m thinking about one of the ones you were talking about earlier. One of our organizations we work with, they had too many roles in the ecosystem. They were serving too many people. They were direct service, they were convening, they were funding, they were advocacy, they were serving people across three different massive issue areas, education and maternal health. And I can’t even remember all of them at the top of my head. So there was so many things going on.
Sarah, I wanted to unpack some of the things that we were helping them to do to be able to bring that to light, to be able to help them. I was trying to think about some of our workshops as an example. I remember the one that we did with their board that was partly creating a false dichotomy to help them to think into, if you had to choose, what would you choose? Not that you’re making a choice on a particular topic or program yet. But we need to start to get a sentiment of what the group is believing is our most important direction and starting to learn into that. And so that’s where the no’s were a learning into process based upon what we’re noticing is most important now.

Sarah:
Yeah, absolutely. That was a fascinating conversation with the board, and I actually … I really appreciated it because it did set up this piece around choice. And what was really interesting, and of course there are always folks, and I would be this person if I had been on that board that was like, is this really a black and white choice? And the answer was, no, of course it’s not. But if you had to, what would you choose?
And I think what was really interesting is that we really got a sense of where folks wanted to go, and there was a lot of consensus around it.

Tucker:
There was.

Sarah:
And so what’s so interesting is when we think about the no’s, I think sometimes that what gets in folks’ way is the perception that everybody else wants to say yes. If you have an ask to your point of you’re sitting in isolation with that question. And instead of that, putting it out and seeing where folks are landing is a great start in some ways to that journey. Because you may not know, everybody else might be dying to say a no.

Tucker:
Totally.
I’m also thinking of some of the other ways that we helped to build an objective process that did lean into the world of consensus, but also still invited dissent. Which I think both are important. Because it’s all consensus. I used to remember being back in the marketing world of design by committee is the worst branding process you can ever have. Yeah, we have consensus, now everybody’s happy and we have a bunch of crap laying in our logo now or whatever.
And so how do people manage some of this tension? We did a variety of polls to get a sense of where resonance was and where resonance wasn’t. And just starting to parse it out of our people within the organization … and this is also with a lot of data coming at them too, around external surveys, we did a community workshop. So we had a lot of data that came in from the outside, from community members and just the area trends and things like that. That helped them to start to hone and be like, “Oh, we’re aligned on this. We’re not aligned on this.” And we were able to start to parse out the no. So it wasn’t like big broad no’s. It was more honed specific no’s that we’re like, okay, we can spend our energy on that. Where we already know that some of the big yeses are here. What are some of the key areas that we need to lean into a little bit more to really dive into what a no might mean?

Sarah:
Yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah. I mean, to your point, and we have talked about this on the podcast before and can link the episode in the show notes. But we help folks go through a return on investment and impact analysis. Literally and that’s a great place to start. Is what is this thing delivering? What is it costing? And what is it taking? And that is a great first step. And then to your point, we go and ask the community, we look at external data and then we bring those pieces in and layer it on top. And say, “Okay, how do these pieces fit together?”
I think one of the interesting things in this example is that a lot of the pieces were pointing in one direction. But that direction didn’t align organizationally with some of the language that they were using. And so what we were able to do was open a space for conversation that then took time. But what we found out is that over time, it really came true. And so I think that’s the other thing, and we actually even came across this today in a workshop, is that a no is almost never immediate. You may be saying no, and it takes a year and a half, two years, whatever it takes for it to become that actual no. And I think a lot of the challenges when people think no, they’re thinking, oh, tomorrow I’m going to stop that program. Or tomorrow I’m going to stop delivering that service. It’s like, that’s just not how it works or how it should work. And so if we give it time to emerge, I think open the question and give it time to emerge. It’s amazing what can happen.

Tucker:
Well, even going back to my own personal stories, I think the vagueness of no is not supportive. It feels, to your point, my body is telling me that this is no right now. I logically can think differently, but how I feel is very different. And I love that you’re hitting on this point that there’s variations of no, there’s sun setting, which is usually the case. There’s pauses. What do we need to pause for right now? There’s not yet, maybe things that have been stirring that a board member brought to you or you’re wrestling through. But that you’re realizing we need to really strengthen our core and our infrastructure. And this is a not yet, and let’s put it on the horizon later on. So this is where there’s a lot of different ways of approaching no, that maybe are a little more palpable or get a little more specific, I should say.
But this is where I keep thinking about Kevin, the co-founder of Thrive Impact. And he, once upon a time, was the CEO of Feed the Children, huge nonprofit based out of Oklahoma. He had come on to really help turn them around because they were actually about to get shut down by the Attorney General in Oklahoma because of a lot of improprieties. But one of the stories is he’d really gotten things starting to turn around. But one of the things that also happened is that in that story, they did a lot of international development work. And he and his wife were struggling through infertility challenges, which many people do. In fact, he’s on the board of a wonderful nonprofit that we also work with too, called Resolve the National Infertility Association. But why that’s important to this story is because they had gotten to know … personally, him and his wife gotten to know some of these orphanages that they were supporting. In one particular, I think it was in Kenya, is how he tells the story.
It was personal. It was not only were they struggling through infertility challenges, but they were also now really connected to a bunch of kids who had some names for them. I mean, it was very, very deeply personal. Which was an orphanage that they served at Feed the Children. Well, his program officer comes along and says, did a little bit of a return on investment and impact type of calculation and said, hey, Kevin, I know we’re a mission-driven organization or impact-driven organization, we really want to create impact in the world. And one of the things that we’ve looked at the numbers and the data to suggest is that this orphanage that we’re serving these kids costs us about … and I can’t remember the exact number, but it was somewhere like $2,000 per kid. And he said, we have a similar program over here … because they are measuring their impact, and this is why it’s so important to be impact driven. We have a program over here that has the same outcomes and sometimes even better that costs us … I think it was something like $50 per kid, significant difference.
And so if you don’t bring in some of that objectivity, I mean there’s no way … if that program officer hadn’t have been wise, if they hadn’t have been measuring their impact and measuring their return on investment, if they hadn’t been measuring those things, they wouldn’t have had some objective conversation to a CEO who’s got a ton of personal investment into this particular orphanage. And so what they ended up doing, and as Kevin is very much an impact driven leader, is they ended up sun setting that program over the course of two years, to your point. It’s not a right now, but it was glaring in the face that if we’re truly impact driven, then we need to let this speak for itself. And they were able to find … and again, I don’t know the exact specifics. But they were able to sunset the program and find places for all the kids and to be able to make sure that they weren’t able to leave behind. So they were able to leave well that program in a sense.
So that’s why this is so important to get into the specifics because I think the vagueness of no hits us in such a way that hits us deep within our own … in our bodies. But if we can start to unpack it and parse through it, get specific about it, let ourselves deal in the tension of that emergence. It really gets you … what I’m coming to really understand why I appreciate 10 x is easier than two x is it actually is helping me to get where I want to go in my life. It’s helping us get where we want to go as Thrive Impact. So it’s actually feeding into what it is that we want.

Sarah:
Yes. Well, and to bring us back-

Tucker:
Not what the past is telling us.

Sarah:
Yeah, exactly. And to bring us back to the beginning, it may be that in our 10 x, we are bringing along and meeting new people, we will be than maybe what got us here. And I think one of the things that often folks also bring up in this journey of no, and we heard today was this question around what if we want to say no to things and we do, and for a while our performance dips because there’s a learning dip as we try something new.
Or what happens if the board isn’t aligned with the no’s that we want to make? And I think the important part here is that there needs to be a North Star, the vision of the organization that your no’s are tied to. There has to be, and we of course use the impact pyramid. But there has to be something to guide your no’s, and maybe it’s return on investment and impact. But above that it should be around the ultimate change you want to make in the world. And if everyone is not aligned on that, that’s where it gets hard. But if you have that, then you can say to folks, this is our North Star. It may not be yours, and that’s okay, but here’s where we’re going. And so you get to choose to opt in and out. And so the point is just that folks may fall off as you drive towards your North Star and say, no, and that’s okay.

Tucker:
Okay, that’s a really good topic too. Is your past self is not your future self. And your future self means that some people, including you, by the way, whoever you might be, I’ve been in that situation, including you, might not be the right fit for that future. And that’s okay like to what you just said, Sarah.
Well, which is why creating these objective understandings like we use the impact pyramid as you shared and co-create an impact pyramid. Which is really, what is your vision? What are the key impacts that you want to have out in the world? What is the impact you need to have internally in order to create that impact and creating impact from the inside out? And then what are the programs that you are going to do in order to create that impact? Sometimes that future that you all do co-create is not the future that others want to be a part of. But how beautiful of it to give people the choice to opt in or opt out.
We’re working with an organization right now where we’re trying to create multiple points of opting in or opting out into the overall organization to let people choose. Because if they choose versus being forced out, it’s a whole lot better. But we just have to get clear about what it is that they’re choosing as best as we possibly can. And so that’s where these no’s can be a lot better for you in terms of getting you where you want to go in your future.

Sarah:
Well, Tucker, rapid round. As you think about it’s the new year, folks are thinking about their planning, or maybe they’ve already planned, let’s say. They already have too much on their plate or they’re really trying to figure out how to say some more no’s. What’s your one piece of advice?

Tucker:
I mean, it would almost be you’re doing too much and force yourself to go into the space of what can we cut? What can we sunset? What can we let go of? What can we pause? What can we not yet? Like force yourself and invite your teams into this because you’re doing too much. And again, we are doing too much at Thrive Impact, we are learners on this journey. And every single organization that we work with is doing too much. And it’s not serving you, it’s leading to more burnout. It doesn’t serve the world we exist in, and 10 x is easier than two X. But go into that space is really my strongest encouragement and come up with some answers and co-create some solutions around if we had to cut things, what would we cut for the sake of being able to double down? And every time we do this with organizations, many times there’s a sigh of relief because so many people feel it. They don’t know how to say no. And so just start to go into that space and do it.

Sarah:
Yeah, I agree. I was watching a coaching podcast the other day, or listening to it, and this woman said, and I forget her name, but she said, “Stop working so hard. People don’t appreciate it as much as you think.” And the more you have on your plate, the less you’re able to look out at the horizon. And so I agree with you, it is painful. And by choosing not to do it, that is a choice as well. It’s a choice as well. And you’re choosing to stay in the churn, in the craziness. And ultimately, it’s not going to get you or your organization where you want to go. So choose those hard choices, say your hard no’s, those yeses will come. And ultimately you’ll be so much happier and better off for it.

Tucker:
Well, and I would also say on the personal front, there’s a good chance that if you struggle with saying no, it’s because you need some healing. Straight up. And so when I say wade into this, do it with your organization. But wade into it internally in yourself. I mean, we talk about this, creating impact from the inside out starts with you. And if you want to lead well in the world and in your organization, the first place you need to lead well is within yourself. And so there’s a good chance that you need some healing from something in your life that is not serving you anymore. Oh, by the way, Sarah, I found that phrase that I was looking [inaudible 00:38:02]-

Sarah:
Yeah, what is it?

Tucker:
It’s Aikido, it’s actually a Japanese martial art. But it’s about deflecting and using energy that people bring at you to be able to actually neutralize them. So it literally says a martial art that effectively utilizes joint locks, throws, strikes, and pins to neutralize an attacker. And I actually learned a little bit of this when I was in Costa Rica earlier this year. And a guy named Michael Diettrich-Chastain led us in this exercise around Tai Chi, where it’s called push hands. Where you stay put and you’re actually … you can’t move, but you’re trying to knock the person off their balance. And it’s an act of understanding the energy of where they’re coming at and where you’re pushing and where you’re yielding. Super fascinating exercise to do. But that’s what Amy was talking about, which was how to use energy in a way that doesn’t just come into you, and now you are completely neutralized yourself. But you’re able to neutralize the situation for the better, ultimately. So it’s called Aikido.

Sarah:
Well, I just so appreciate that visual. When you did our movements as you were sharing with me, I was like, oh, yes. It is so hard to be a leader these days. It’s so hard. And we can’t take everyone’s energy in. And we need to hear their voices. So I love this idea of channeling energy in a way that serves both.

Tucker:
Yeah. Well, everybody, we got some things for the show notes. We’ll put them down there, the 10 x link to Benjamin Hardy’s 10 x book, Sarah’s awesome … well, your quote’s probably going to be the title of the podcast. But hey, in 2024, this is a year to say no.

Sarah:
Say no.

Tucker:
And to double down on your most important and unique value that you bring into the ecosystem that you exist in. So go down that path. If you need help, we do this. But go down that path of healing, of saying no, of finding what you can strip away. So that you can really double down on your most important 10 x cells. And we’ll see you on the next podcast.

Sarah:
Thanks.

Tucker:
Bye everyone.