Just Say No!


In the late 1980’s while the controller of an international training company, I had the nickname “Just say NO Vicki Suiter.”  I hated being called that.  It always felt like I was the bad guy.  I was in a tough spot because my job was to control expense and make sure we met our bottom line goal numbers. If revenues were down, my job was to cut costs, and hold the line on spending.  As you can imagine, that didn’t make me very popular. I felt torn between wanting to do a good job and wanting to be liked.

When I left that job and started my own business, I didn’t think that attitude would help me attract clients so I began to focus on ways to be “Just say YES Vicki Suiter.”   Over time, I became more discerning in my yesses and found ways to say “no” with more grace and kindness.  Learning to do this has helped me keep my business growing – while keeping my clients happy.

In the last few months, I’ve been getting an itch to grow in some new directions.   Among the things I’m considering are “Leadership Through Cooking” courses.  The problem is that I cannot do all of what I’m doing now, AND take on new things as well. I simply lack the bandwidth.  While I love all the things I’m currently doing in my business – consulting / coaching; writing a book; speaking; training; volunteering on a non-profit board. I realize that, I have to be willing to say no to one or more of those things if I want to take on more.

In other words, in spite of wanting to say YES to everything, I have come to the difficult realization that sometimes we all have to say NO.

A blog post I saw today “Using the 5/25 Rule to Learn to Say “No” helped reinforce that idea for me. I think it’s brilliant and I encourage you to read it. The author asks what I found to be a very compelling question: “What are the top 25 things you want to do in life?” He then says, “Now take the top 5 and separate it from the bottom 20. And never look at the bottom 20 again.

A few weeks back I celebrated another year of being alive, and it occurred to me that I’m way more than half way through this gig called life, so I especially appreciated this question. It was a like a message from the universe saying “Say YES only to what is truly most important to you Vicki – life is too short!”

So here is my current business top 5 list:  Coaching; Writing a book; Training, Teaching Leadership through Cooking; and Speaking.  They’re all big yesses for me.

What’s on your top 5 list? I’d love to see it!

Make it an extraordinary day!



Author of the forthcoming book “The Simple Truths of Business” Your key to amazing business success!


  1. Larry Wendt

    Vicki – great blog post. You have me thinking. I’ll share my 25/5 with you soon. I’m inspired to try this as saying “No” is also a difficult thing for me.

    • Vicki Suiter

      Go for it Larry – it is liberating! I’d love to see your list.