“Thank you, but No thank you.
Thank you, but that’s a Graceful No for me.
Thank you, but I’ll pass.”
These sentences are pronounced by highly successful people.
Indeed, successful people say Yes to almost every opportunity.
(I love the movie Yes Man ! with Jim Carrey. If you feel a little stuck in your life, I recommend you watch it and say Yes more in your life.)
But if you feel that there is too much on your plate right now, you need to start saying “No.” much more often.
Very successful people say No to almost every opportunity.
Opportunities I passed
I’d like to take you back in time. Back in 2017, as I came back from India and was back in France, I felt stuck. I was in a bad place in my life ; I felt depressed. A contact introduced me to a man he knew, who was based in Hong Kong. This man was recognized in his field, and was an expert in Tech, an investor, a professor in a top university in HK and a thought leader in the field of Consciousness. During our call, this man was deeply compassionate and understanding with me. He also very generously offered that I join him and his team in his lab in Hong Kong. He told me I could have a stipend and do some kind of research internship there. I felt that the opportunity was so generous, and on paper it seemed like the right fit for me.
Yet, I asked him for time to think about it and process.
I ended up politely declining while expressing my deepest gratitude for this opportunity.
Inside, I was broken. I had been a cow-boy, and I knew what it was like to fly to the next cool thing. I have also been reckless at times and did crazy things in my life. In that moment, I needed to heal, reground myself, re-root and reboot. Going to Hong-Kong after 2 months in India, and 11 months in San Francisco was not going to help me. I needed to take my time.
A few months later, I was thriving in a new job as a Career Coach at ESSEC Business School near Paris. There was a US coach who was on tour in Paris, and who offered a free day of coaching to become a public speaker. A lot of it was a pony show, there were some fun moments, some bizarre and awkward ones. There were also great insights, and one on opportunities in particular:
“Opportunities are never wasted, they just go to somebody else.”
That day did get me clear on what I did NOT want to do in my coaching, but confirmed that I was committed to this path.
At the end of his show, he was offering a few spots at a very low price (around 397€) to go to L.A. and have the chance to interview celebrities on stage, to build one’s brand. The celebrities on the pictures looked depressed, zombified, fake, and I did not want to hang out with these types of people, although it would probably have done miracles for my burgeoning coaching career (showing up gets 80% of the job done, right?).
Showing up at the right place with the right people will get 80% of the RIGHT job done.
I passed this opportunity too.
A year later, I was at the Deep Dive with Rich Litvin, in L.A., with 10 other amazing coaches. No celebs, but extraordinary people. That cost me 12 times more $$$, but was worth every penny.
More recently, I was at a party in Munich. I had fun, and also met several people. The ones who touched me the most were the ones who had a desire to make the world a better place. One of them told me about a project he had on democratizing circular economy with a strong and well-known investment partner. Another one told me he had two companies and wanted to become a billionaire. I was interested and liked the casualness of his ambition. I asked him:
“And what will you do once you are a billionaire?”
“I will help animals.”
My health melted. I loved this guy, and felt unconditional love for all the animals of this planed in that instant.
I told my coach about this party and said:
“There was something weird. At that party, I took the contact info of these people. Yet there was also another person who was the CFO of a start-up doing COVID tests, she was employee #5 and the company has grown to 1000 employees in the last year or so. There was also a person who worked in the retail sector, as a head of business and financial or something, yet, I didn’t connect as well with them.”
I almost had regrets for not connecting better and following-up with these two conventional-finance oriented people.
And then I got it: I connected with the others because they were On Purpose.
From FOMO to JOMO
Instead of buying into the famous FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), create the story of JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out).
This year, I passed on at least 2 great opportunities for extra coaching training with 2 extraordinary coaches out there (Rich Litvin and Michael Neill). I decided to focus on my lifestyle and serving my current clients, as well as time with my family while being supported by another great coach. I know I can participate in some of these transformational coaching experiences next year, and already capitalize and serve my clients with a fraction of all the tremendous trainings, experiences and Deep Inner Work I did over the years.
What if when you passed an opportunity, you were secretly planting a seed for a better one for the future?
What if by gifting some of your great opportunities to others and helping them succeed, you were planting abundance seeds in your own subconscious mind?
What are some really opportunities you would love to say YES to, but not right now?
How would saying No to these shiny objects actually free you more and catapult your success to new levels and make it sustainable?