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  • Writer's pictureStacy Raye Kellogg

Empower Yourself: The Art of Saying No for Personal Growth

Empower Yourself: The Art of Saying No for Personal Growth by Stacy Raye Kellogg for SOULACY Magazine

Getting voice notes and emails of gratitude from clients is such an incredible treat that I never take lightly.

I recently received a thank you email from a client after six months of working together. Here’s part of her note... "I am so grateful for our coaching relationship, which is pushing me every day to be the happiest, best version of me. Looking forward to our next chat. Onward to the next big challenge!"

I’ll call her Abby. In our first call together, she shared that her current job was sucking the life out of her. She was working more than 40 hours a week in a small start-up and couldn’t depend on a steady paycheck. The startup was in an industry that she felt little to no passion for, and she worked for the founder of the startup as part of a very small team. 

She knew she wanted her life to reflect her values more but she had no idea HOW to get there. And because one of Abby’s primary values is stability, she was experiencing crippling anxiety about how she’d pay her bills every single day. On top of that, she was also feeling guilty for not being able to fix it, for saying yes to it in the first place, and for not being more “grateful” for the opportunity.

Let yourself feel how you feel without judging it.

One month into our coaching, Abby was offered a new job. Shortly after accepting the offer, she wanted to strategize with me about how to tell her boss that she accepted a new job and that she wanted to reduce her role and the amount of time going towards the startup. She hated the thought of letting her boss down, and she certainly didn’t want to burn any bridges. I helped her prepare for that tough conversation. The conversation with her boss went better than she thought it would, and she continued to support the startup from a distance after starting her new job.

A couple of months later, Abby realized how tired she was. Tired of squeezing in work for the startup on her evenings and weekends, tired of still being involved with a cause she never really cared about. Everything in her body was telling her that she wanted to be done - really done, not still working a little here and there. And that was waaaaaaayy scarier than the business-as-usual, head down, pretending-like-it’s-still-working strategy. 

In our coaching sessions, we got Abby in touch with her inner confidence so she could say NO to this and YES to herself. She felt guilty, and although she was tempted to offer to keep doing a minimal amount of work out of obligation (Oh boy, have I been there too!), she did say no. Her boss took it much better than she had even expected.

It was an honor to support Abby to prioritize what’s important to her instead of staying plugged into what’s important to someone else just because she felt guilty about going after what she REALLY wants.

You’re probably wondering - how do you say no to something even when it feels really hard?

  1. Tune into your values. Think of a time when you felt really lit up and alive. What was happening? For me, I need connection, creativity, adventure, authenticity to be fulfilled - if those values aren’t making an appearance, check please.

  2. Let yourself feel how you feel without judging it. Are you angry or sad or embarrassed or ashamed that you said yes to something again that you meant to say no to? Get out a blank piece of paper and write down all of the things you’re feeling (I like freewriting a long bulleted list). “I’m angry // sad // embarrassed // ashamed that …”

  3. Move your body. Go for a walk or a swim or turn on music and move. Movement gets you out of the spinning monkey mind and back into your body (Shakira is right on this - your hips don’t lie).

  4. How do you want it to be? Imagine how you’d love to invest your time. With Abby, she shared how she really wanted to spend that precious evening and weekend time that was going towards the startup. She came up with all sorts of activities that would be more fun / fulfilling / aligned for her - including running a marathon!

  5. Take small actions towards honoring your values. What are some bite-sized ways you can honor your values and schedule them into your calendar? For example, if you thrive on connection and you’re at your laptop 40+ hours a week, schedule a non-zoom phone call with your bestie once a week. It’s important to you, so it will recharge you.

I love getting to work with clients like Abby because I get to see them go from feeling guilty and apologetic about saying no to becoming re-aligned with their own needs, goals, and dreams. It was brave of Abby to trust that the startup founder would be fine without her. During our sessions, Abby realized that this decision would lead to hiring someone who was all in, and not just staying involved out of guilt. And that was undoubtedly better for everyone involved!

Is there a place in your life where you’re investing a lot of your time and energy into a dream that’s not your own? I’d love to invite you to schedule a free sample coaching session so you can share about what you’re experiencing and we can explore how I can support you.


TLDR: Discover the transformative power of prioritizing your needs over others. Learn how saying 'no' can lead to personal fulfillment and alignment with your core values, as illustrated through the coaching journey of a client named Abby who transitioned from a draining job to embracing opportunities that truly resonate with her personal and professional goals.


Stacy Raye Kellogg is a leadership and courage coach who helps people-pleasers and high-achievers weed out the daily energy-draining bullshit and cultivate more courage without sacrificing their values.



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