Tag Archives: saying no

Holding On vs. Letting Go

Holding On & Letting Go | iGnite Your Life

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever feel like you are chasing multiple things, and it’s preventing you from being fully present and being your best at any one thing?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

In pursuit of advice, during the summer of 2012 I met with one of my mentors. What I gained from our time was exactly what I needed, but it wasn’t an easy pill to swallow. In an effort to fulfill my personal and professional goals, he suggested I let go of leading my weekly classes, as this shift would create space for additional opportunities and allow me to be a better leader for our team, our members and the business at large. Even though this was a punch in the gut, I knew he was right and that it was the necessary next step. I loved leading classes and it was one of my passions, but my life had changed since the beginning of iGnite when I was teaching a lot. What was once a one-man show was now a nine-person team, and I had Durant, who was eighteen months old at the time. My life was very different and it was time to shift… so I did.

Interestingly but not coincidentally, six weeks later I became pregnant with Malaine (unplanned), and in an effort to iGnite more lives, six months later we launched our first corporate wellness program for Harden Healthcare, all of which I believe were direct results of letting go of previous responsibilities.

I am currently reading a book called The ONE Thing, which is going to uncover “the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.” I feel like it was written specifically for me because the first sentence, even before the Table of Contents, sent a shock wave down my spine. It was as if my son Durant shot one of his foam bullets square between my eyes. It was this Russian Proverb: “If you chase two rabbits…you will not catch either one.”

Do you ever feel like you are chasing more than one rabbit and it’s preventing you from being fully present and being your best at any one thing? If so, you might feel like this journal was specifically written for you. While we all have a story, our experiences are not unique, which is why it is essential that we share with one another. It’s also why The ONE Thing is a New York Times bestseller. Most of us are chasing fifty rabbits, which is likely why at the end of each day we feel off-balance, exhausted and often unfulfilled.

I know we all know this, but I’m going to reiterate: we can’t be everything to everyone, and wearing too many hats and saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes our way is unhealthy and causes irritability, stress and an unintended outcome: us being less than our best. I believe that less is more, and depending on the season of life, goals and desired outcomes, we need to evaluate what we are hanging on to and ask ourselves why? Is it out of obligation, guilt or joy? If the answer is obligation or guilt, I suggest you let it go. Or, if your life has changed and you can no longer do the ‘job’ to the best of your ability, it’s okay to give it a rest. ‘No’ doesn’t mean never, it just means not now. After all, who’s to say you can’t pick it up again at a later date?

I’m very visual, so the way I’ve come to peace with letting go of things is to imagine my life as a balloon. While I want my balloon to be healthy and full, I don’t want it to be so full that it’s on the verge of popping. So, in order to create more space in my balloon, I have to release some air and deflate it a bit so I can fit more inside. Long story short: If you are hanging on to too many things, it’s very likely that there is no room for more fulfilling and enjoyable things to enter. I always have to check myself and remember that I am always modeling either healthy or unhealthy behaviors to my children, and being a basket-case because my plate is too full is definitely not my intended goal or example!

Action Item:
Evaluate what things you are hanging on to and ask yourself why? Is it out of obligation, guilt or joy? If the answer is obligation or guilt, let it go. Or, if your life has changed and you can no longer do “the job” to the best of your ability, it’s okay to give it a rest.

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View Your Life as a Bank Account


If you allow people to make more
withdrawals than deposits in your life,
you will be out of balance and in the negative.
Know when to close the account.
-Christie Williams

Okay, okay. It’s quite possible we’ve sent mixed messages. Last month we encouraged you to say “YES!”, and this week we are urging you to say “NO!”. However, we think you know what we mean. Definitely say “yes” to the things that you really want to do, but for sure start saying “no” to the things that you really don’t want to do. For clarification and inspiration, check out our BFF, Brene Brown, as she describes her brillant “No saying” strategy…

Tell us what will help you get the courage to say ‘Enough!’ when it’s right for you. (Your comments can be anonymous)

Daring Greatly #1: Knowing When to Say ‘No’

A huge part of leadership is knowing when to say ‘no’ to things, even when you are attracted to the task or the work.  There is no substitute for self-care on this journey we call LIFE.
– Heidi Murray

Point to Ponder:
What are you disingenuously saying ‘yes’ to?

Action Item:
Start saying ‘no’ to things that do not serve you or that you are likely to complain about afterwards. Start saying ‘yes’ to things that you truly enjoy and that allow you to be your best.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Since listening to Brené Brown at last year’s Texas Conference for Women, watching her brilliant vulnerability talk on TED.com and Oprah, and then reading her book Daring Greatly, she’s my new BFF. She of course doesn’t know me from Adam, but her authentic and transparent communication style is wonderfully appealing. Maybe I’m partial because she’s a native Texan, but that she’d admit to becoming depressed and curling up to jar of peanut butter after reading nasty comments about her TED talk is refreshing- and that was even after her insanely popular video went viral. Now that’s my kind of woman!

In my opinion, Brené’s research findings that vulnerability is the key to living a rich, meaningful and fulfilling life are both fantastic and HORRIBLE! I love the idea of being vulnerable (on my terms, in the comfort of my home and playing by my rules) but when it comes to showing weaknesses in front of others or even my family…now that’s another story. But, that’s where I am wrong. According to Brené, vulnerability is not weakness, rather it’s just the opposite. Vulnerability is being bold, courageous and confident enough to love and accept ourselves despite our flaws fears, failures and insecurities. It’s also putting ourselves “out there” in a way that might possibly result in rejection, criticism or heartache. And, vulnerability is loving ourselves so much that we’re willing to say ‘no,’ even at the expense of disappointing others…which is my Achilles heal.

From birth, I’ve been a people pleaser. Well, maybe not that long, but being the youngest of two and my parents divorcing when I was seven, developing a comedic and “yes girl” personality (making people laugh and trying to never rock the boat) became my subconscious way of dealing with uncomfortable family dymanics. This not-so-ideal characteristic plagued me until a few years ago, when I realized the root of my chronic “yes-ness.” Despite wanting to say ‘no’ to plenty of things, I was so insecure and wanted to be liked so badly that I coudn’t bare to say ‘no,’ for fear of disappointing them (a.k.a, for fear of rejection). In addition, it became clear to me that I based people’s acceptance of me on actions, rather than them simply liking me, for me. Finally, saying ‘yes’ to everything was exhausting, unhealthy, unsustainable, and disingenuous, because most of the time I didn’t want to be doing whatever it was.

Clearly, I’ve thought this whole ‘saying no thing’ through time and time again, as I am super susceptible to reverting back to my old ways (what’s comfortable). However, I am determined to live vulnerably and am convicted to the power of ‘no.’ Ironically, saying ‘no’ is liberating, confidence-buidling and actually opens doors to opportunities that are not only important to me, but give me energy and allow me to be my best. And when we are at our best, we can wholeheartedly serve others and give our greatest gifts to the world.

What do you think? Leave a comment & share your thoughts