The Joy in NO

Joy Christmas ornaments

We have trouble saying NO for many reasons. We are good people and don’t want to disappoint anyone, we are high-achievers and think we should be able to do it, or we thrive on the immediate rewards of attention and praise. We also may be challenged with NO when we underestimate the amount of time and energy everything takes—from driving across town to writing a newsletter. (I am quite familiar with this one).

I recently found great comfort reading that Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, and Lady Gaga all said their greatest success and happiness has not been defined by what they said yes to, but by what they said NO. Since we all want joy and meaning in our work and lives, the holiday month is the perfect opportunity to remember we can find it in our NO.

Here are 5 reasons we can find joy in saying NO:

1. Our Yes Has More Meaning
When we say NO to one thing, it makes everything we say yes to stronger, full of intention and energy instead of guilt or dread.

2. We Are More Open-Hearted
When we say NO to what we think we should do and yes to what we choose to do, it comes from our hearts and we feel aligned instead of resentful.

3. We Are More Present
Saying NO gives us the ability to slow down, pay attention, and really connect because we are doing less.

4. We Keep Our Word
I’m sorry I can’t is much better than I’m sorry I didn’t. Keeping our word to ourselves and everyone else for what is most important requires us to say NO to what is not.

5. We Feel Better About Ourselves
When we live with intention, an open heart, presence, and keep our word, we feel better about ourselves and can cultivate the joy and meaning within.

Finding the joy in saying NO is not refusing every party invitation or growth opportunity, it is intentionally choosing our Yes, with our hearts and eyes wide open. This is what brings joy and meaning to our lives and builds our resilience, for the holidays and beyond.


  1. Janet Dunne on December 10, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Always look forward to your newsletter. The Joy in No came at just the right time and covered it all!

    • Diane Sieg on December 10, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      Hi Janet,
      I’m happy to hear this one was good timing for you.

  2. karen masell on December 10, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Amen, sister! The more glitz and glitter I see, the more I run the other way. This morning Dick and I are going to get our Christmas tree. I do love doing the tree, as we have so many ornaments that we have collected or been gifted the past 50 years. I still have paper ones that my kids made. Another Christmas tradition is baking cookies with my grands. We did this this past Friday………sugar cookie cutouts with royal icing and sprinkles. Hadley is 10 and Harrison is 7. In between cookie baking we watched ET. They loved it! Also, both are very good at the baking. Very independent. “Hadley, there is no such thing as too much sprinkles,” Harrison declared.

    That, a few presents, and a Christmas lasagna. That’s it for us.

    And also thinking of family and friends. Miss you guys!

    • Diane Sieg on December 10, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      Wise practices from a wise woman. Thank you Karen!

  3. Mary Pat on December 10, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Well said Diane! The Power of No as one friend shared with me, is the best oral contraceptive. Keeping our hearts open with intention is key and helps to ground ourselves in this ever face paced world. We get to choose! I love the 5 minute mindfulness challenge and now teach my students a simple meditation practice and each encounter they ask me if we can be sure to take time for Self Care and Meditate! What joy this brings especially during our Holiday Season! Merry Christmas to you and yours and embrace a Very Happy New Year.

    • Diane Sieg on December 10, 2019 at 9:53 pm

      Happy to hear you are sharing such powerful practices with your nursing students Mary Pat! It’s never too soon or late to learn. Happy Holidays to you as well.

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