What an incredible phrase. While it was unfortunately tarnished by the drug war in a failed attempt to educate about the dangers of drugs, the real value is still there if we shift the perspective just a bit.

From my own challenges to the numerous clients I've worked with, learning to say NO is a tough lesson. We're a culture built on fear and scarcity. What you lack deserves your focus; what you're missing out on creates FOMO. We even coined a term to describe essentially the idea that wherever you are and whatever you're doing just isn't good enough.

We end up saying yes to everything: Yes to second helpings, yes to binging the new show everyone will be talking about, yes to another drink, and yes to countless actions and behaviors not aligned with our overarching goals.

It wasn't until my late 20s that I fully grasped the power of NO. It came after I found focus on something I wanted more in my life than any short-term distraction could offer. For me, that was Highland Games and strength training.

Saying "Yes" to this path required me to say "NO" to the things that no longer aligned with it. Saying "Yes" to becoming a world champion meant saying "NO" to anything that detracted from that larger goal.

That fear of saying NO often brings a host of follow-up questions from people. "Why not?" You're welcome to explain, but please understand, at the end of the day, "NO" is a complete answer.

The further I progressed on my journey to unlock my BEST self, the more I found myself saying “NO”. This application of NO is how you edit your life in the second draft. You don’t write a better story by merely adding more details and distractions. You have to edit it down to focus on what truly matters.

In doing this, you find focus, you discover the most powerful tool in your arsenal for creating greatness: Radical Accountability. This removes any responsibility from anyone else in your life for how you feel, what you do, where you live, and how you take care of yourself. Embrace the consequences and the empowerment that comes with this philosophy.

When you say YES to things that no longer align with your path, you're essentially saying your path and your dreams aren't as important as the other thing.

Once you're clear on your purpose, it becomes easy to discern what aligns and what doesn't. When you're lost, everything entices. When you're focused, distractions reveal themselves for what they truly are.

Realize that saying NO is a form of self-love. It's a declaration that you matter. This is how you build confidence to choose what's best for you, not what others think is best. It's how you build discipline. You can say NO to the voice in your head that wants 20 more minutes of sleep. It's how you achieve any goal. You need to focus your efforts consistently until it's accomplished. Your ability to focus will determine the length of your journey.

Set your sights on something great. Something that demands greatness from yourself to achieve it. Just say NO to everything else. There's no balance in the pursuit of Greatness. It's all focused effort on what you love and want to achieve.

Greatness awaits those who confidently say NO to the distractions life offers.

April 15, 2024