August 11

Just Say No-then Focus

Just Say No-then Focus

By Deborah Johnson

August 11, 2023

Confident Decisions, Deborah Johnson, Embrace Authenticity, Empower Others, Healthy Boundaries, Just Say No, personal growth, podcast, Prioritize Yourself, Resilience Through No, Saying No With Grace, Self Care Matters, Self Respect, Setting Boundaries, Stress Reduction, Value YourT ime

Saying no is not easy for many Type A personalities, including myself, but to just say no helps us focus on saying yes to what is more important. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with demands, commitments, and opportunities, the power of a simple two-letter word often goes unnoticed - "no." Yet, behind those two letters lies a remarkable force that can shape the course of our lives.

To just say no is not a declaration of negativity or selfishness, even though it can feel that way at times, but rather an empowering act of setting boundaries, honoring our priorities, and safeguarding our well-being. Learning to embrace the art of "just saying no" can lead to a life of greater balance, focus, and authenticity. Here, we will briefly explore five benefits of saying no, how it can positively impact various aspects of our lives, and why it's essential to embrace this tiny but mighty word. Get ready to unlock the potential of a simple "no" and embrace the freedom it brings.

Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson Just say NO-Then Focus with Deborah Johnson 8-15-2023
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One: Setting Boundaries

Saying no allows us to establish clear boundaries in our personal and professional life. Saying no has become increasingly crucial for maintaining my well-being and preserving my sanity. The simple word no allows us to draw a line between what we can reasonably accommodate and what will bring the feeling of overwhelm. With that small word we communicate our limits and signal that our time and resources are valuable commodities.

In our personal lives, saying no helps us to prioritize our needs and nurture our relationships with intentionality. It takes away the guilt of carving out quality time for ourselves and our loved ones, like friends and family members, also focusing on self-care. Professionally setting boundaries can prevent burnout and boost productivity. It helps to identify core values and align decisions that involve spending time based on those values. This brings feelings of empowerment and fulfillment. Also, saying no helps to prevent others from taking advantage of our time and resources, ensuring that we maintain a healthy work-life balance, which has become even more important with the ability to work remotely.

Two: Prioritization

Prioritization is the compass that guides us through the maze of life’s demands with purpose and efficiency. By saying no to certain commitments, we free up time and energy to focus on the most important tasks and goals. This prioritization enhances productivity and allows us to excel in the areas that matter most. Decluttering our schedules becomes even more important when we realize at the halftime of life that the sands of time are slipping faster and faster through the hourglass.

As we unburden ourselves from the non-essential tasks and meetings, we can maximize our impact and avoid being consumed by a never-ending to-do list. We can also experience a profound sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, knowing that we are channeling our time and resources towards what truly matters. This helps with the feeling of guilt that we always should be doing something, which has been a feeling I have often faced.    

Three: Reducing Stress

In a world where the demand for our time seems limitless, the weight of constantly saying yes can become burdensome. We can stretch ourselves, but there is no way we can meet every request and accommodate every demand. What we will experience is overwhelming stress and burnout, which none of us really want to face.

Stop Circling Book-1

Saying no when necessary helps alleviate this pressure, promoting mental well-being and overall good health. By recognizing our limits and setting boundaries, we regain a sense of control over our lives. To just say no when necessary allows us to prioritize self-care with time for rest and rejuvenation. It gives us space to recharge and re-center our lives with mental clarity and emotional resilience. For example, when my office desk is cleared of clutter, my thoughts are clearer and many times, my work is more productive. The same principle applies when our calendars are reduced to what is most important according to our priorities and cleared of clutter.

Four: Respecting Yourself

Respect is the foundation of strong core values which produces personal growth and happiness helps to define a clear purpose. When we say no to certain demands or situations that don’t align with our values or aspirations, we send the message that our well-being matters and our purpose matters. Saying no demonstrates that we understand our own needs and are courageous enough to prioritize them. This is an act of self-respect.

Saying no is not just rejecting external requests but it’s validating our own worth and inherit value. Time is one of our most precious resources and guarding our time demonstrates its value not only to ourselves, but to others. Focusing enough to say yes to what is most important nurtures authenticity and courage as we assert ourselves to make choices that aren’t just good, but that are the best for our lives. Saying no shows that we value our own needs and priorities, and that we’ve thought through those priorities, fostering self-esteem and confidence in our decision-making abilities.

Five: Empowering Others

To just say no extends beyond our personal benefits. It impacts those around us. By saying no, we create space for others to step up and take ownership. This encourages them to seek solutions independently with accountability and self-reliance. It nudges them to explore their own capabilities and find solutions on their own terms, ultimately building their confidence and problem-solving skills.

Sometimes it feels risky to say no, entrusting others to handle what we could easily handle ourselves. But by doing so, we offer them the chance to rise to the occasion and discover their potential and even to give them the opportunity to fail, which can be a wonderful teaching tool. It demonstrates that we trust and believe in their abilities and their resilience. This empowerment creates a more self-sufficient and confident community which ultimately will free us up. If we are truly responsible for our own growth, having others do what is not a priority for us will build the team and set us apart in our leadership style.


The ability to just say no can be a transformative superpower that brings a bucket-load of invaluable benefits upon our lives and those around us. Embracing the art of saying no grants us the freedom to live authentically, confidently navigate life's complexities, and positively impact the world around us, all while staying true to our purpose and personal growth.


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Saying no is not just rejecting external requests but it’s validating our own worth and inherit value.

deborah johnson

Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author

If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning

1,090 words

Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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