Design Your Dream Life with Natalie Bacon | When To Say Yes And When To Say No

You are probably familiar with a lot of the work out there around how to say no, and why we, particularly as women, tend to say yes to everyone around us, before taking care of our own needs. But there’s another side of this paradigm: where we say no to everything that puts us outside of our comfort zone. And that’s what I’m discussing today.

Living your dream life is impossible if you don’t know when to say yes and when to say no. However, sometimes we get so used to saying no, saying we’re too busy, when really that’s just an excuse to keep us in our comfort zone. And in this episode, I’m helping you see whether you’re doing exactly this.

Join me on the podcast this week to discover why you might be saying no for the wrong reasons. I’m sharing where I see so many people making decisions that are out of integrity and alignment with what they genuinely want to do, why doing this keeps us playing small, and most importantly, what you can start doing about it right now.

If you’re a mom, you’re in the right place. This is a space for you to do the inner work and become more mindful. I can help you unbusy your time, reduce anxiety and overwhelm, and live every day a little more soulfully and purpose driven. Click here to learn more about Grow You, my virtual life coaching program.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
  • The best reasons to say yes to something, and when it’s right to say no.
  • Why saying no to everything that puts us outside of our comfort zone is limiting our growth.
  • The way we’re acting against our own will and out of integrity when we say yes or no but we don’t really mean it.
  • How to start paying attention to where you’re saying yes out of obligation and saying no out of fear.
  • The changes that saying yes to things outside of your comfort zone will make in your life and how you’ll see yourself growing as a result.
Listen to the Full Episode:



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Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.

Hello my friend. Welcome to the podcast. I hope that I sound how I’m supposed to sound. I’m going to ask Pavel after I record this if I’ve connected everything correctly. It’s amazing the equipment that I have, and somehow miraculously put together and have used in Chicago and now I’m using in Charleston. Because I’m looking at it right now, and it’s really above my head in terms of understanding what’s even happening.

All I know is I speak into this beautiful mic. It goes through a bunch of cords. It goes through this radio looking thing with all these knobs on it that I’ve barely ever touched, and then into the computer. Hopefully, it sounds good enough for you, and I will find out if I’ve connected it all the right way.

Other than that, we have been settling into Charleston for the last month, and it’s been wonderful. I’m looking out my window right now. To see palm trees outside is kind of a trip. If you are someone who’s lived in the Midwest or even the east coast, palm trees are where you go for vacation. So it is very weird still that they’re in my front and back yard.

We are kind of loving it. We love the vibe here, the culture, the charm. It’s so fitting for us. We have the beach 10 minutes away, and we’re starting to meet people. I have to say that having Benji and Penny, our little puppies, makes it so much easier to meet people. Go to dog parks and on walks. Really, it’s a great way to meet people.

I feel like puppies and babies, that’s how you meet people. If you have kids or you have dogs, you sort of meet people that way. Otherwise, I don’t know why, but as adults we don’t generally go up to strangers and just strike up conversations. We do that when we have sort of kids playing together or dogs. Dogs love to play with each other, which is great. So we’ve been meeting people.

Really on that note I just want to encourage you to be redeciding where you live very intentionally, not with that anchored history bias of, “Oh, I’ve just always lived here.” Really think. Would I redecide today to live where I live? It’s such a good question. You don’t have to act on it. If the answer’s no, it’s just good to notice and think about, and decide like do you want to change that?

There’s a lot that goes into moving. Particularly I run my own business, as you know. So moving a lot of the business and just things that I didn’t really need to think about when it was just me. Even just moving from Ohio to Chicago was a lot easier, but it was so worth it, right. It’s always just a matter of things that you put on a list, or you put on your calendar, and then you just do it. Then it’s done. It’s amazing. It’s just like all the things I teach with calendaring, with planning. I did the exact same thing for moving. It’s all worked out.

Of course, there are little things that sort of come up, but you just do it. One of the things that came up was my iMac got a little shattered on the screen. Fun fact. Did you know that if you have AppleCare, the Apple Care will cover a shattered screen like once a year? It’s a certain type of damage that they’ll give you coverage for once a year. I did not have AppleCare. Now, I have a new computer, and I do have AppleCare. But that was sort of the worst of it. Everything else came in one piece. We got all our stuff.

We love where we live. We’re just going to enjoy summer. We did a lot this year in the last six months. Getting married and moving and getting Benji, our baby. It’s just fun to settle into it. Penny and Benji are like besties, and I’m so grateful for that. You never know. You never know how it’s going to go. It’s going amazingly well. So we are just beyond thrilled for that. If you haven’t seen a picture of Benji yet, you can head on over to my Instagram @natalierbacon. You’ll see at least one, maybe two over there.

Also I know some of you had asked about pictures of him and pictures of the wedding. There is a highlight on my Instagram called ‘My Life’. If you click through that all the way kind of towards the end, you will see pictures from the wedding. That’s because I posted them on stories. So if you miss them on stories, then I add them to that highlights. They’re always there.

What else is going on? Okay. So this comes out June 30th, 2021. What that means is that tomorrow, if you’re listening to this in real time, on July 1st, the Creator Program is opening for early registration. We are going to have a lot of applicants this round, and that really excites me. The program is doing so well. The students are doing so well. It’s really the best program if you want to build your business and make more money in the next year.

You get to work with me very closely. I mean it’s 24/7 access to me in our written coaching community which is on Slack. You also get a monthly coaching call with me plus the private portal. All of the sort of step by step processes and tools that you need to build your business. Most people join, and they’ve already started their business. You can join if you’re brand new. I just like to give the analogy of swim lessons and say you are jumping in the deep end if you do that. That’s totally okay.

I don’t want to limit it to people who have made a certain amount. Because I know that if it were me, I would have been the type of person who would have thrived with a program like this when I was just starting. So if you are all in and you’re ready to take a bunch of action, and you are looking for that business mentor and coach, and you want to make more money online selling programs, come to the Creator Program and apply. You go to

I’m pretty selective with who we let in, and that’s just because I want it to be a win for you. So I can tell by our application and your answers if it’s a good fit for you. I never want to invite someone to join who I don’t think is ready yet for the program. That doesn’t necessarily have to do with your results and your business so far. It has a lot to do with your mindset and where you’re at in your life in terms of being ready to grow. So that’s going to be fun. I can’t wait to add the next round of students in.

What else? Okay, today I want to talk with you about when to say yes and when to say no. So you’re probably familiar with a lot of work out there that talks about how to say no, right. Sort of this tendency for us, particularly as women, to say yes to everything. I was thinking about that.

I read the book Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. If you haven’t read it, you must. It’s fantastic. Shonda Rhimes is the creator of many TV shows, including my all-time favorite Grey’s Anatomy. She also created Scandal among other things. So super successful brilliant writer. It’s an easy read, and it will keep you really engaged. So that’s my plug for that book.

Kind of relevant here is what I’m noticing is there’s this paradox. So we end up saying yes to things we don’t want to do, and that’s where the body of work comes in where people are teaching you how to say no. It’s like we say yes to everyone else’s desires, and then we say no to ourselves. Well, that’s part of it. Also what I’m noticing and what I really picked up from reading this book is the other side of it where we say no to everything that puts us outside of our comfort zone. Because one, we’re in the habit of saying no. Two, we’re kind of afraid to do the thing.

So let me give you some examples. So on the one hand when we’re saying yes to things we don’t want to do and no to the things we do want to do, it sort of sounds like this. Let’s say your friends ask you to join their weekly book club. These are acquaintances and friends, but it’s not like your best friend. It’s people in your community, and you like them, and you want to be included. But you really don’t want to do this weekly book club. Typically what happens is we’ll say yes, and then we’ll kind of resent going every week. Right? That’s what I want you to be aware of in your life when you’re doing that.

Another example, let’s say you go to church or you’re part of something else in your community. You’re asked to volunteer by doing something really specific. Let’s say like planting a garden. Let’s say you hate gardening, but you say yes because you want to avoid like the negative judgement. You are worried what they’ll think. So you say yes, and you resent going and doing it. But you do it anyway.

Another example would be maybe you have kids, and all the moms at daycare who your child is friends with ask you to be a part of the carpool. It’s in your neighborhood or something like that. You don’t want to do that, but you say yes because you sort of want to maintain a certain image in their eyes. You’re sort of worried about what they’re going to think about you, so you say yes.

What happens is you end up taking action against yourself, against your own will. So you don’t want to do the thing in each of these scenarios, but you want someone else’s approval, so you do it. Every time you do this, every time you’re saying yes to something you don’t really want to do, you’re using your time, your energy, maybe even your money. You don’t have those resources to do what you actually want to do.

The way that you know the difference is the reason behind the yes or the no. So if the reason is you just want to be liked or the reason is you want their approval or the reason is you don’t want them to be upset, that’s how you know you’re doing it sort of out of integrity with yourself.

The other side of this coin is saying no to everything that puts you outside your comfort zone. It’s the Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes. So I looked up the description of this book on Amazon just so I could give you a really quick intro to it. Here’s what it says.

It says, “With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was afraid. And then, over thanksgiving dinner her sister muttered something that was both a wakeup and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge. For one year, she said yes to everything that scared her.”

So I love this because you might be in the habit of saying no to everything, and kind of using the ‘I’m too busy.’ But really you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone. So let’s say you are invited to do some sort of intramural sport or speak or just do something that would require a little bit of courage. But you say no, and you use sort of the ‘I’m busy’ excuse. That is saying no in a way that limits your growth. So on the one hand we’re saying yes to people please. On the other hand, we’re saying no because we’re afraid.

So what I want you to do is just start to notice when you say yes and when you say no, and do you like your reason. So why you’re saying yes and no is the most important part to look at. If you’re saying yes because you want to be liked by other people, not so great. If you’re saying no because you’re scared and afraid to get outside your comfort zone, also not so great.

So instead consider saying yes to things that you want more of in your life, even if it’s scary. That’s sort of the Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. But also consider saying no to things that you genuinely don’t want to do, even if it means you think someone will judge you. I think the result of doing this and saying yes to get outside your comfort zone and saying no when you genuinely don’t want to do something is that you end up living so much more authentically. You’re in your own integrity. So you end up leading your life and having more experiences. You sort of live so much more fully.

You will also stop feeling that resentment when you do things and sort of blaming the other person. You’ll stop living small because you’ll be using that courage and bravery to get outside your comfort zone. You’ll just ultimately stay in your truth. If people judge you, they judge you. They have opinions about you. They do anyways. But this way at least you have your opinion about you where you love yourself and you love the decision that you made.

It does take both intentionality and courage to do this. So by default, our brains want to people please. So you have to intentionally decide to act in a certain way that aligns with what you want. Then you also have to use that bravery and courage to say yes to things that feel really uncomfortable because you’ve never done them before.

One sort of caveat that I want to mention here is saying yes simply because you want to say yes for that other person not because you genuinely want to do it. So here’s an example that comes up actually a lot, and I’ve actually experienced it myself. So I’ll be coaching someone in Grow You, and they’ll say, “My husband loves movies, and I think movies are a waste of time. So when my husband wants to watch a movie, I say no but then I don’t spend time with him.”

The options are not say yes because I want to people please and I’m going to resent him and I’m going to be thinking this is a waste of time or say no because I don’t want to. Those are not the only two options. There is a third option. The third option is saying yes because you want to be the type of wife who watches movies with her husband because that’s what he likes to do.

I coach on this actually a lot, specifically with this example of movies. I’ve experienced it myself. Steve loves movies. In the beginning of sort of dating him, I wasn’t really that into it, but I really wanted to be the partner, the girlfriend at the time who did something he wanted to do. That’s a really good reason to do something.

So my energy going into the decision, my feelings going into that choice were positive. It wasn’t that I was resenting him or thinking that I was living out of integrity. I was thinking, “Oh I’m doing something he likes to do, and I want to be that person.”

Now there might be other things that he wants to do. Let’s say he wanted to go run a half marathon. No. I’m not going to go do that. Even though I love you and want to be supportive, I will support you as you go run your half marathon. So you can sort of pick and choose, but it doesn’t always have to be that you say no because you don’t want to do it. You can say yes if you do it from a place of, “Oh yeah. I just want to be the type of person who does X, Y, or Z for this person.”

So just notice that. You’ll notice it based on how it feels when you’re making the decision. If you feel really tight and restricted and sort of a little bit of blame or resentment, that’s a cue that you might be making the decision from a place of going against what you genuinely want to do. So you want to clean up that thinking and get to a place where you’re feeling really good about your decision and make it from there.

Another example that I want to give you from my life is when I was asked to speak at one of my friend’s conferences that she was hosting. I said yes even though it was my first time doing that. I was scared, and I had to use a lot of courage. But I thought about what type of life I wanted to live. I thought about is this something that I want to do more of? Can I provide value? Is this a good skill to build? I thought about my reasons for saying yes or no.

It would have been much easier to say no. I would have saved time. I didn’t get paid for it. It was something that I did just to bring value to her audience. I’m so glad I did it. I loved it. I actually think there are some Grow You members still from that, and that was years ago which is so fun. They heard me speak there. So that’s an example of where, it’s like the Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. Where I was saying yes even though it was something that scared me.

An example of saying no. Not that long ago actually I was at my in-laws when we were still in Chicago. Everyone was going to take the dogs on a long walk. I wasn’t feeling 100%. So I just said I’m going to stay back and rest. The old version of me would have never said that without having a lot of drama. I would have either gone sort of against my own will, against wanting to, and felt sort of like I was not in integrity with myself and blamey and all that resentment. Or if I would have said no, I would have been so worried about what they would think about me.

Sort of through this thought work and coaching, it was so easy for me to say, “I’m going to stay back. You guys go ahead. I’m just going to stay here.” I didn’t make it mean anything about me being a bad dog mom. I didn’t worry about what they thought about me. I just said, “Nope, I’m going to pass on this one.” So that’s just a little example. So it doesn’t have to always be these big things. I just want you to notice when you’re saying yes, when you’re saying no, and what the motivation is. Like the why behind it.

I want to encourage you to say no to things that you don’t want to do that don’t align with the future version of you, who you want to be. So maybe you want to spend less time overworking. So you say no to additional work assignments even though it’s scary to do that. Or maybe you don’t want to volunteer in the kid’s classroom. So you say no to that, but you offer to participate in another way.

In both of these examples, it takes acting in a way that you haven’t acted before. So there’s like a mindset shift that has to happen, but it’s totally worth it because you’ll feel so much better about being honest with the choices that you’re making. Then I want to encourage you to say yes to more things that really will broaden your experiences and help you live that intentional more fully alive life. Whether that’s travelling more, speaking more, being a more supportive friend or wife or whatever it is. You know what it is. You can always tell.

Typically when we say no and we give a lie, we’re too busy or we just make up something else. That’s a cue that that would be a place where you want to do this work. Where you’d want to examine okay. Why did I say that? Was I worried about what they were going to think about me? Probably. Did I not want to use courage to tell them the truth like hey, gardening, not my thing. But I’d love to help support you in another way.

Often, we think that there are only two choices. It’s yes and I feel resentment or no and they hate me. Those are not the only two choices. There are other options. There is always more to offer. You can say, “No, that’s just not for me, but I’d love to do X, Y, Z. Or I love you and no but thank you so much for thinking of me. Here’s why.” Or you don’t even have to give a reason why.

Hopefully, what this episode did is just provide you with some new ways to think about saying yes and saying no. And how it’s not just that we want to say yes more or say no more. It’s that we want to say yes and no more often. We want to say yes to the things that increase our experiences, get us outside our comfort zone, and align with our futures. We want to say no to the things that genuinely are out of alignment for us and that we don’t want to do. All right my loves. I will talk with you next week.

If you loved this podcast, you’re going to love Grow You. Grow You is my virtual life coaching program where I take everything on the podcast to the next level. I invite you to join our amazing community of women and moms and deepen your own personal development. Head on over to to learn more.  

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