Saying Yes to Less: The Art of Saying No


The common belief is that saying “yes” to every chance we get is essential, but there’s a significant impact in learning to say “no.” In this episode, hosts Rob Brown and Phil Calandra discuss the often overlooked power of saying “no,” and how it can positively change your life and business.

Many entrepreneurs and business leaders struggle with the urge to accept every opportunity, driven by fear of missing out or in the pursuit of growth. This can lead to taking on too much and to overload, resulting in poor performance.

Saying “no” isn’t about permanently turning down opportunities. It’s more about recognizing when something isn’t right for the moment or when other priorities need your attention.

Mastering the art of saying “no” involves being thoughtful about your choices. It means knowing what’s most important, staying focused, and making decisions that align with your long-term objectives. In a culture that often values saying “yes,” understanding the strength in saying “no” can be empowering.


In this week’s episode, Rob and Phil shed light on the following topics:

  • The Decision Dilemma: Navigating the Challenge of Rejecting ​New Opportunities
  • The Multitasking Myth: Understanding Its Impact on Performance
  • The Cost of ‘Yes’: How Desperation and Financial Motives Can Backfire
  • Focused Action Plan: Commit to Tackling 2-3 Essential Tasks Effectively


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Show Highlights



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Podcast Transcript


Phil Calandra  00:05

When things come at you, you want to say yes, instead of saying no, because you feel like you have to absorb and take on more and more and more. And what ends up happening is the train gets off the tracks, and then you ultimately underperform in every area of the business and your life. So I think that that’s a big, big problem, especially for success minded people, we all fall into this trap.


Rob Brown  00:28

I think what that is, it’s the false belief that multitasking works. In reality, you cannot multitask, you truly can’t do two things. At the same time. Artificial intelligence can do two things at the same time. But the human mind, that’s not possible. If you’re trying to do two or more things at the same time, what you’re going to end up doing is doing both of them or all of those things more slowly and less effectively. Welcome to the truest fan and blueprint, a podcast for financial advisors, and other professionals looking to get the most out of yourself and your business. I’m Rob Brown, and my partner, Phil Calandra. And I promise to walk you through a journey that will allow you to take action in your business and your life, so that you can be the best that you can possibly be. Thanks for listening. Welcome Time again for the truest fan. Blueprint. Rob and filled back with you. Hey, Phil, when I thought about saying no, no. Yeah,


Phil Calandra  01:49

I mean, yes, yes.


Rob Brown  01:50

Is that say yes to no or not? And don’t say no to yes. Anyway, we’re having some fun today. Because one of the things that Phil and I had been talking about recently is the importance of saying no, if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, that one of the tools that we encourage our clients and members to use is what we call the truest fan action plan. And that action plan details those things that our clients are committed to getting done over the next 90 days, because we like to work in short, 90 day sprints. And one of the side benefits to having an action plan is when something new comes your way. If that you you’re tempted like maybe I’m going to give that a try, you can look at what you said you are going to do, which other really important things for getting you towards what’s most important to you towards your goals. And you can say it’s not going to help me get there. So I can say no. And I think that’s really important to learn as you’re building your business as you’re trying to be a more authentic version of yourself. Is that your true to the things that you say that you’re going to do? And you say no to the things that are going to get in the way they’re going to be a distraction, that I get that right, Phil? Yeah,


Phil Calandra  03:12

I think if you’re a firm owner, or an entrepreneur, and you’re trying to build your ideal lifestyle and your ideal practice, the hardest thing for any of us is to is to do is to say no, because we feel like as the leader as we’re casting the vision as we’re clarifying what we want our business to be and do when things to your point when things come at you. You want to say yes, instead of saying no, because you feel like you have to absorb and take on more and more and more. And what ends up happening is the train gets off the tracks, and then you ultimately you underperform in every area of the business and your life. So I think that that’s a big, big problem, especially for success minded people, we all fall into this trap.


Rob Brown  04:01

Yeah, I think so. Because it’s I think what that is it’s the it’s the false belief that multitasking works. And right. And in reality, you cannot multitask. You truly can’t do two things at the same time. Artificial intelligence can do two things at the same time. But the human mind, that’s not possible. If you’re trying to do two or more things at the same time. What you’re going to end up doing is doing both of them or all of those things more slowly and less effectively. No been better to finish something or say no to something to get started. I think that’s why it’s really important for top performers to be really quick with the No Yeah. And


Phil Calandra  04:45

I think part of that also comes back to being really laser focused, really understanding what is it going to take and what is going to move the dial, what is it that’s going to move the needle and in whatever aspect Fact of your business or your life, but I think you’re right. Because as soon as you get, you could call it the shiny dot syndrome as a business leader, as an entrepreneur, something’s coming at you all the time. And if you’re always chasing the shiny dot, you’re saying yes, as opposed to saying no, and keeping your head down. And really focusing on getting from point A to point B, I think of I relate so much my endurance sports activity and my life journey as a triathlete, I’m trying to get from the starting line to the finish line, there gonna be any number of things that are going to come 1012 hour Ironman events, you have to completely shut those, you have to take them completely off the table, and focus on the next objective. It’s the next mile. It’s the next step. It’s the next WATERSTOP, whatever it is, you’re staying very laser focused. And you’re saying no to all the peripheral stuff. So or late that in your own life, maybe it’s in I always used that analogy, because it’s an important part of what drew me into the entrepreneur that I was, but think of your own life, how you said no, and and less was more.


Rob Brown  06:11

Yeah, no, that’s That’s exactly right. And I love that you said less is more because quite often in working with a financial advisors, a big question that I’ll get, even from some of my most disciplined clients is, I was referred to this person, they don’t have the financial minimum that I have set for the clients that I take on in my business. In fact, I don’t even like them. But getting the business will be real easy. should I should I take them on? And I quickly remind them is? No, that’s one of the things that you’ve said, you’re going to say no to? Why would you make an exception for somebody that you don’t even like? Because many of my clients are where our clients are really building practices where less is more is important, where the belief is, the fewer clients that you work with, who are of the type that really meet your ideal client standards, the more successful you’ll be. So that’s one like really, like classic financial adviser example of the importance of saying, No, and you don’t have to be like that to be a me No, it can you can, you can say, I am not a good fit for you. That’s what you can say to that prospect, and send them somewhere else. But you’ve got to say no, or else as Tim Ferriss likes to say they’re going to what he said, I think his quote is, what you don’t do determines what you can do. And if you don’t say no to those clients who don’t fit your business, that’s going to limit the number of clients who do fit your business, but see that that’s


Phil Calandra  07:56

a classic issue for the financial. iser, I think, Rob, what you’re saying is, if it’s not a fit, you don’t even like the couple, they don’t have your firm minimum or your ideal, what works best for you, and you bring them on as a client. And that stems from a whole nother issue. The reason that we bring on that I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I’ve brought on that client, why out of desperation, out of the feeling that I have a I have a articulated goal, my monthly or quarterly growth goal or revenue goals. And because you coached me for so many years, I wanted to hit the number. So you start to bend your own rules, so that out of desperation, you bring on that client? Well, then what you just did by saying yes, is you put all of the other ideal clients in jeopardy, you created a situation where you are giving them less than your best, because you’re giving something of yourself to someone that’s not an ideal fit. It’s not an ideal client. And I would contend the reason the advisors do that is be out of desperation. There’s another issue at at the core of this and that is maybe it’s your marketing engine, maybe it’s your referral gathering expertise. Maybe it’s the way you’re measuring the success of your of your signature solution, as we would call it where your your process your roadmap. Gosh, we could go on and on with that, but less becomes more. But when you’re desperate, more is more.


Rob Brown  09:25

Yeah, yeah, for sure. For sure. And you’ve had maybe you’ve had a slow month or two, it’s been a little while since you brought out a client, you’re like I’ve maybe I’ve forgotten how to onboard a client. So I’m gonna take this client that I really don’t want to work with and to just make an excuse for it. But that’s just that’s just one example. Another great example was something that happened with a client this week. I think it would be fair to say that this particular client has had more difficulty or last couple of years than any client that I can remember limiting the number of priorities that he takes on in a sprint and And part of it’s because he’s moved his business from being part of one of the big wire houses to starting up his own Ria. And now he’s totally got the the entrepreneur thing going of trying to do everything all at once. And I said to him, I said, I don’t want to, I don’t want to say his name, I don’t want to put them on the spot. But I said to him, I said, one of if you look at your left hands, and you think of your left hand is being all those things that you have to do is part of your ongoing business, like meeting with your clients for review, managing portfolios, doing financial plans, managing your team, doing some marketing, those are ongoing responsibilities that you have as a leader of your team. So that hands pretty full. And I said, Now what I want you to do is take your right hand and start counting the number of projects that you’re trying to work on this quarter in this sprints. And we ended agreed previously to three, we did one of the AV, both hands fall, but he started counting and all of a sudden, he was like six and seven. I said, Whoa, don’t you see what you’re doing? You’re saying yes to everything. And you’re saying no to nothing? And the truth is about no is no doesn’t have to mean no, not ever. It might just mean No, not now I’ve got I’ll have another sprint after this Sprint’s 2023 will end and there will be at 2024. And you don’t have to do everything right now. So it’s okay to say no to important things. Just don’t say no to the most important things that are going to move the needle the most right now. And that’s how you should be thinking about using your nose.


Phil Calandra  11:48

I think, Rob, that you just teed up our next podcast topic, because it sounds very familiar to me. We call it four D Yeah. Yeah. And we don’t have time to get into that today. But you’re exactly right. No doesn’t mean no, that’s not an activity that we shouldn’t engage or that we shouldn’t put into motion, it just means it’s not going to become the priority or the focus for this particular sprint or this particular timeframe. It can clearly be part of our vision casting, so no doesn’t mean no forever. It just means I’m going to keep my head down. I’m getting from this mile marker to this mile marker. Everything else stays out. Yeah. So that’s a whole nother podcast for us, Rob.


Rob Brown  12:33

Okay. All right. Well, well, the good thing is we will have more podcasts. But let’s let’s land the plane here. And as usual, give our listeners an action plan an action step of how to use No. And so what I would suggest that you do is if you have a really long to do list, or a really long list of projects that you’re working on, right now, ask yourself, would it be better to finish a few of them really get them done? Because being a finisher is really important, if you’re going to be have a really purposeful business to finish things. But what what are those things that you have going out there that you really need to finish now. And it’s probably only going to be two or three top priorities in a given sprint and grim quarter, on top of those things that you need to do on a regular basis. But pick those two or three. And for now, say no, not now to the rest and put those out onto a list that when you’re starting to do some future planning, you can go back and review that list and say, Okay, now is the time to say yes to this thing that I said no to before. But yeah, but maybe and maybe to make this fun. I wish we could have a contest. And maybe people will send us emails or post in the show notes how many things you said no to because I bet it’s a lot. Because we all try to take on too much. And you should be happy. Because the more that you say no to the more you’re going to be able to work on the things that are really most important to you and to your business and to those other things that you that you care about. So that sounds like a good strategy to implement.


Phil Calandra  14:26

I love that it’s really just focused productivity and putting first things first as Steven Covey put it, if you’re viewing this on YouTube, obviously we’d love for you to subscribe and hit the little bell and then you’ll get notifications but type it type right in there. like Rob said, here’s the little contest just type in the in the notes of YouTube. If you’re watching the video portion of it, subscribe while you’re at it, and then put down the two or three or four things that you’re saying no to and I’d be interested to read those. I think it’ll be a hassle for people. Yeah,


Rob Brown  14:58

that would be that’d be awesome. And for those of you who may not be aware, we do have a YouTube channel where we post the video of these podcasts as you can see our ugly mugs or our beautiful mugs however you want to call it. But we also put some shorts in there because we want to regularly kind of pepper our subscribers with ideas that help you stay on track because one of the best ways to remember to say no is hold yourself accountable to know and that’s what we want to do with these podcasts and with our YouTube videos. So let’s let’s let’s finish their fill rate conversation. I’m glad that you said yes to no and and we had to we had a great discussion. And we as always want to tell you our truth that we are your truest fans, and we are rooting for your success. Thanks for joining us for this episode of the truest fan blueprints. If you want to learn more, head over to our website truest On the site, you’ll learn more about becoming a true us fan. You’ll also find today’s show notes and links to the other gifts and resources we talked about during this episode. Again, thanks for listening and remember, we’re rooting for your success.

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