Thursday, 12 September 2013

Knowing when to say 'No'....

Don't worry this isn't a 'moral dilemma about eating cream cakes' blog post, I just thought this was an apt picture to include for a blog post about knowing when to say 'No' as this is something that has been on my mind for a few weeks... (FYI the answer above would usually be a big YES for me!!)

As you may know last year I had the opportunity to work with a Creative Business Mentor and I found this to be a most fulfilling and valuable experience, one which I personally and creatively benefited from hugely. As a result of my new found confidence and enthusiasm I found I was more inclined to say 'Yes' to opportunities which came my way and as a result my business was improving and growing which is all great!!
I was finding that I was stepping out of my comfort zone more often, collaborating with other creative practitioners, doing things I would never have thought possible (live-drawing at the Festival of Words Launch event springs to mind!!).

So, my new motto was to say yes more, and to do more of the things I would normally say 'No' to. A good motto don't you think?

The reason I'm telling you all this is to share a little story about a lesson I recently learned about not ALWAYS saying 'Yes' and knowing when you should say 'No'. I was approached a few months ago about a commission, which sounded like a fantastic opportunity to work with someone new. Always liking to keep my customers happy I tried to think of a way to work with a new media on completely different scale to that which I'm used to. I did have my reservations but there was a little voice the back of my mind niggling away at me, telling I should have politely thanked the customer for their interest but declined.I didn't, I said Yes and committed to delivering something I wasn't sure I could. Long story short, I was really unhappy with the outcome. The customer came to the studio to collect the work, I was ultra-apologetic but they were understandably a little disappointed I think.

The moral of the story - it is ok to say 'No' sometimes. Listen to your instincts, whilst new opportunities are fantastic, they won't always be right for you and sometimes it is better to listen to your heart and decline!

Has this ever happened to you??
I'd love to hear about your experiences of this, and whether anyone else has been in this position, how you handled it and what the outcomes were....


  1. Hi Sue, I really admire your honesty and openess about a tricky topic rarely discussed.

    Due to the sometimes unpredictable nature of being a creative, we are made to believe that you should take every opportunity that comes along. I too have been guilty of this on more than one occasion (and also had that niggling little voice inside my head).

    However, I truly believe that sometimes to say 'no' might be hard to do, but ultimately it opens a space for another more appropriate, and often more fantastic opportunity to come along.

    Great article.

    1. Thanks Heather, I agree, I think sometimes it is harder to say no to something than yes. I will definitely listen to my gut feeling next time.

  2. Now, I just want a cream tea.


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