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Your busy does not impress me.

The email was returned, and she said “no”.

I stared at my computer screen trying to decide if I was upset or disappointed.  Then I realized I was neither, I was…jealous.

“Hey Kim

Thanks for thinking of me for the fundraising chair but I can’t commit to something  that needs as much time and attention as that position would require. I’d be happy to donate a gift certificate from the studio for the event, though!  Just let me know where I should send it or I can drop it off at the next networking meeting.



Here I was, staring at my screen JEALOUS that someone I reached out to, (a personal friend no less) had said no.  She didn’t whimper, or over-explain, or use her kids or her two very successful studios or her photography mentoring business, or her upcoming speaking tour, she just said no, she could not commit that amount of time or attention.

Straight to the point. Thanks for thinking of me, but no.

It was so brilliant I nearly fell out of my chair.  Because do you know what I likely would have done? I would have said yes, while not really wanting to. I would have squeezed in yet another commitment while feeling resentful that I had even less time to do the things I need to do because you know HELP. The people they need HELP.

And I would have whined.  Oh yes, I would have, because my altruism is apparently not all that freaking altruistic after all.  I would have been on the phone whining to Charo about my BUSY BUSY week, filled with this appointment and that networking lunch and that this board meeting and then my clients, and my kids and my dogs not getting walked and OMG when am I ever going to have time to edit??!!!

I was the kind of busy no one really wanted to hear about.  We’re all busy. Your busy is no busier than my busy, so really just shut up about how busy you are.


Instead of this

  • I’m sorry but….
  • I’d love to but…
  • I just can’t because…..


  • I’m unable to help with that project.
  • My schedule prevents me from attending, but thank you for thinking of me and please let me know of upcoming events (If I would really would)
  • That’s not something I am interested in attending, but I appreciate your email. (If it’s something I would not)


I can’t say that I still don’t have pangs of guilt, I do.  The biggest surprise of all was that behind the pangs of guilt were these two rewards:

Relief and Time.

Relief that I didn’t have one more thing on my plate, one more thing on the To-Do List, one more thing I had been avoiding and was now having anxiety dreams about.

Time to spend on my own business, my family and sometimes even time to do NOTHING.

Being busy does not mean you are successful, and saying no does not mean you are a meanie.   This week, I challenge you to mindfully say no to ONE thing that you know you’d rather not do.  Let us how it feels and leave a note in comments.




  1. Wow this is so relevant to me right now that I feel like youve been spying on me. Im going to copy this into my notes

  2. WOW. Good advice. I’ve been learning that lesson this past year, too. Tough at first, but good to “declutter” the obligations that get in the way of family, goals, etc.

  3. Thank you so much for this fabulous post!

    It was very timely for me because I was wrestling with saying no to something just this afternoon. Your post gave me “permission” to do what I know is the right thing. I will say no without guilt! :)

  4. Learning to say “No” was the hardest thing I ever did. Saying no without excuses was harder. Learning to say no simply because it’s the best thing for me is very difficult.

    Learning to do so was the BEST thing I’ve ever done. I have time, I have time with my kids, I have time to be with my husband, I have time to be with my family and friends, I have time to be me, I have time to have fun, I have TIME. I also have energy. I have confidence. I am able to spend the time positively, rather than all those commitments that are negative and suck your energy.

    I slip up sometimes. Sometimes I find the yes coming out of my mouth before I actually think about. If I commit to something, I follow through. But then the next time, it’s front of mind and I think twice. I love helping people but… I don’t want to resent it in the end. Then am I really helping?

  5. Ha! This hit a little too close to home for me . . . I am currently a homeschool student tutor (a 15-20 hr./week commitment), a part time classroom aide for children with special needs, a second shooter for a wedding photographer, and a photography business owner. My “work” life certainly rules my personal life. Not cool. I love all my “jobs”, but if you ask me what my top priority is (my family), you will not see that reflected in how I live. This post is a great perspective adjuster! Thanks!

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