Margin

'No' Is A Complete Sentence

Photo by    Cameron Clark

Photo by Cameron Clark

As a professional speaker, I am sometimes involved in conversations that go something like this:

"Hi, we’d like you to speak on creatives charging what they’re worth."
"Okay, my fee is $X."
"Oh, we’re not paying speakers."

Entrepreneurs in every creative field run into similar situations: they are asked to plan a destination wedding for publicity, or produce an event for charity, or to design and provide stationery goods for a conference. At times it makes sense to say yes to working for free

Other times, you need to say no. 

Where we get tripped up – and I see this across cultures – is that we (or the people asking) tend to view saying "no" as us being ungrateful for the opportunity. If we want to thrive, then we cannot allow ourselves to buy into the lie that it is never okay to say no.

  • Saying no does not make you ungrateful.

  • Saying no does not make you disloyal.

  • Saying no does not make you arrogant.

  • Saying no does not mean you are not generous.

  • Saying no does not mean you don't value community.

  • Saying no does not mean you don’t consider it an honor to be asked.

  • Saying no simply means the opportunity doesn’t fit with your priorities in this season of your life and/or career.

You can say no to press opportunities that don’t position your brand in a positive way (ex: reality television shows that make you look crazy and your clients like bride- or groom-zillas).

You can say no to events that cause you to miss a family member’s birthday or milestone celebration.

You can say no to opportunities that don’t help you contribute financially to your family’s goals.

You can say no to projects that will suck the life out of yourself and your team.

"No" is a complete sentence. If you want your business to grow and be better, learn how to remove any shame either yourself or others try to attach to you saying no. 


Originally published March 2017

Creating More Luck For Yourself

The one thing all lucky people know.

Photo from a real wedding at Amangiri by    Cameron Clark   .

Photo from a real wedding at Amangiri by Cameron Clark.

Luck's kryptonite? Busyness.

People who find their identity through a jam-packed schedule are rarely lucky.

To be fair, busyness is often a symptom of something deeper: a desire to be seen as "important," an inability to say no out of a need to have everyone like us, fear of opportunities going to someone else even if they're a good-but-not-great fit for us, fear that if we slow down we might have to face the fact that maybe the life we've built for ourselves isn't exactly the one we wanted.

Lucky people have more boundaries, not fewer. They say no more often so that they have room to say yes to things that truly excite them. They are comfortable embracing a philosophy of JOMO (joy of missing out) rather than FOMO (fear of missing out). They are willing to risk not being liked by saying no. They are okay with being misunderstood for a while. They understand that your priorities do not need to be their priorities and vice versa.

Most lucky people don't plan for luck (or even believe it exists), but they do make space for it. They don't fly in to a conference for one session and then fly right back out. They stick around and talk to people. They know that "what's in it for me?" isn't always the right question to ask. They recognize that opportunities often look like work and show up through people or places they don't expect.

I call all of this "leaving room for the miracle."

Lucky people leave room for the miracle.


Originally published January 2012

Sweat the Details

Photo by    Cameron Clark

Photo by Cameron Clark


The best snorkeling experience I’ve ever had was off a coast in the central Philippines. Most of the memory has blurred together: warm sun, salty air, the sound of my friends' laughter echoing off the boat. What I remember vividly, with photographic precision, are the neon blue and purple starfish below the waves. Colors that seem like they couldn’t possibly exist in nature, yet they do.

If design didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, snowflakes would be ugly. Leaves wouldn’t turn red and gold in the Fall. Spring would arrive unannounced by bright yellow daffodils. And a world underwater that we rarely experience in the day-to-day would be bland and colorless.

People have a right to live fully, not just merely. Good design adds to the fullness of life. The fullness, ironically, allows for margin. Margin empowers people to dream big, enabling them to do things that change the world.

Sweat the details. The details go beyond ourselves.
 


Originally published October 2014