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I was about 22 years old, and back in Michigan when a friend invited me to a Sunday school class she was teaching at Church. Now I don’t know if she was just trying to get “butts in seats”, or if she, being a counselor, saw this as a class I really needed?


The class was on Dr. Cloud’s book, Boundaries. during this 3 week study I learned for the first time, that not only was it ok to say “no”, to a request of me, but that it was actually healthy for me to do so, and even more so, it was unhealthy, wrong, and unfair to myself, my family, and my business not to say no.


Growing up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, I wanted to be everybody’s neighbor.

Now, you might be thinking, seriously Steve?

YES!  I never understood boundaries growing up and was a full-blown people pleaser. Well then, now obvious, the problem with that is it is not possible to please everybody all the time, but I tried as much as I could and fretted the many that I did not.

No More

I had to reevaluate my time values. Those being God, family, health, and running my business. Then friends, acquaintances, and strangers, but not before God, my family, health, nor my business.


Now, I am not suggested that you go to the extreme, like in the beginning of Jim Carey’s movie, Yes Man, because like the movie that extreme of saying “no” to everything will also leave you unfilled, empty, and flat-out lonely.


Here Are 3 Areas You Do Need To, No, Your Way To Success


1. No To Committees. 

The idea or thought of being on a committee is often misleading. It’s the idea of smart people being invited, to get together, to move a project forward or solve an important problem is very rarely the result.

Instead, they are usually 6-12 people gather on a regular occasion to solve a problem and what usually ends up happening is the committee effectively multiplies the one what was a minor issue or project into a major issue. Everybody leaves feeling drained and close to hopeless at the end of this meeting.

Committees = Biggest Killer Of Time Management

Then the e-mail’s, phone calls, and text messages really start flying around. “can you believe what so and so proposed? “What’s their agenda” DO you think they have an agenda’ and so on and so on.


Take a note from Steve Job’s, Aiding Obama’s Reelection Campaign.

Jobs suggested that Obama meet six or seven other CEOs who could express the needs of creative businesses — but when White House aides added more names to the list, Jobs insisted that it was growing too big and that “he had no intention of coming.”


Say, “Yeaaa-NO” to almost all committee invites!

2. No to Lead or Prospects.

The biggest reason for myself having an 84.5% close ratio when I was the estimator for Burnett Painting, is that we did not take every lead that came in.

We got crystal clear on who our target market was. That being, Easiest to work with, easiest to set up, and manage, and most profitable. For us, they were exterior stucco repaints of home ranging from 2,000′  – 3,000 square feet in gates and golfing communities less than 10 years old for retires, primary residence.

Almost everybody else, we referred away with the exception of a few here and there.  to another painting contractor explaining they are set up to best service there needs and would be a better fit for them. They were grateful and it was a win-win.

3.   No To Opportunities.

Crazy right? Especially coming from me, “Mr. Positive”.  Yeah, I know. Well, this one is not easy for me.

Here is the thing. We as Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Sales Professionals, only see opportunities. But we must decide what our top 3 goals are and only engage or entertain those opportunities that support or move you toward your committed goal.

This really materialized when I heard Darren Hardy share the story on one of his SUCCESS CD’s that come inside the SUCCESS magazine about Richard Branson.

An organization called Darren Hardy to ask if he would reach out to Richard Branson’s office to hire him to come to speak at their event for $250,000. So Darren Hardy or his office reached out to Richard Bronson’s office and they politely declined the request.

The organization offered $500,000, and again Richard Branson’s office politely declined.

The third request they asked him to name his price, and guess what?   Richard Branson’s office politely declined again!

Darren Hardy now very curious, ask them why he would decline such an offer.

They replied that they were instructed by Richard Branson, that unless the offer or opportunity supported his top three goals, they were to decline them all.


And so should we. Now, this is not an easy thing to do and I imagine not that easy for Sir Richard Branson either, or he may not have that gate-keeper in place.

Like the picture at the top of this post, we need to install boundaries on each side of us to keep us focused and aid us to our goal.

Fortunately, I have an amazing wife to help keep me focused and I also leverage my Mastermind Group to hold me accountable to this one. If it were not for the two, I may very well chase a new shines opportunity every week.


How about you?

How do you, “No,” your way to success? Please share in the comments below.

About the Author

As a newly single father of two from MI, he struggled to start over as a paint contractor in FL, going door to door. His situation was so bad, even the IRS had mercy on him.

 Feeling completely hopeless, he remembered the story of King Solomon praying for wisdom. Could it be so easy? 

He felt he had absolutely nothing to lose. So, as a bankrupt, divorced, high school dropout, single father of 2 young kids, now living 1250 miles away from all friends and family, started to pray for wisdom.
 And while he continues to wait for the wisdom to arrive, what did come was an insatiable desire to learn and read books… 
Thanks to God for giving him the burning passion to read books, and attend seminars, (oh and winning the wife lottery) he not only cracks the success code and overcomes the struggle, but also streamlines his painting business in less than 3 years, published a how to book, then sold the company. Now he leads a business coaching company for painting contractors so he can help other businesses, like yours, to do the same. Hear more... Or