No, and Yes Live Together in The House You Build for Yourself.

When I was younger I could say no without guilt, worry, or fear.
In fact, at least once I not only said “no”, I also made a deal out of that ‘no.’

It was during my short stint on the track team where I ran the mile run, now called the 1500 meter run (which is not the same but that is a different battle).

I lost every single race I competed in.
Every. Single. Race.
I didn’t know how to train, nor was I genetically gifted and while I liked being on the track team the mile was not the race for me.
In my senior year, the track coach said to me,
“Please don’t run this season.”
This was before Title IV and before anyone cared about a kid’s self-esteem. The coach’s name was Roland Antilla, and he went on to say, “It’s painful to watch you and what’s the point anyway?” (*side note 1: I LOVED him. He was brash and taught history and I actually miss him to this day…you know but still Roland, give a girl a break).
I’m sure I was embarrassed, but I knew I was slow. (*side note 2: I can run forever but I just can’t do it fast.)


“I’ll make you a deal. I won’t run if I get to be on the track team, ride the bus, and hang out with my friends.”
“Deal,” he said.
Let’s be honest, I didn’t want to be a miler, I didn’t even want to run, but there were cute boys on that track bus, and I was all about the boys.

He told me, ‘no,’ but in effect, I said ‘no’ right back.

I was my own champion. As I aged, things changed. No, stopped being a simple utterance and became a very complicated life question.  Now, ‘no,’ is about prioritization. Because for every ‘no’ I say I am making way for a ‘yes.’

Sometimes the easy no’s are the ones we say to simplify our lives. No, I’m not baking cookies for a second-grade soccer team who doesn’t need bakery after a game. No, I’m not going to fill a volunteer spot that already has too many volunteers scheduled.

To decide when a ‘no’ or ‘yes’ is right for us we have to examine your values and put them into play. Oh, and also we have to do something about that guilt that rules our lives. That’s just gotta’ go. I wrote about that here too.

I find the harder ‘no’s,’ or for that matter, the ‘yesses’ are the ones where someone says ‘no’ to you first; where someone or something has stopped you from your intended progression and stymied your plans. The real-life questions, the real struggle are choices about perseverance and/or rest read: giving up.

Should I accept this roadblock? Should I endure or accept?

In graduate school, when a professor told me I wasn’t cut out for an advanced degree, I changed schools, mentors and finished my Ph.D.
When my body said,
“Good grief that pregnancy was hard maybe two kids is enough for you.”
I said, “Yep. Bring on the birth control.”

Sometimes when a no is flung at you, you should say ‘no’ right back and stick with your dream. But, there are times that no means no, and it’s time to accept and carve out a different path. The thing to remember is that while there is no medal for giving up, acceptance can be just as rewarding as going for the gold-and the whole process is entirely up to you. Less Hustle More Joy….maybe.

How did I come to think and then write about this?

My mom and I were world class shopping partners, and often I’d ask her if I should say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a sweater or a chair, and she’d say, “It’s up to you. It’s not my house it’s going into.”

As usual, she was right.No and yes live together in the house you build for yourself you just have to figure out what you want in that house, and it takes a whole life to figure that out.

xo Ann

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