Motivation/Advice, V1

10 Ways to Say 'No' That Won't Damage Business or Relationships

Every entrepreneur I know can’t find enough hours in a day to do the good things they want, and yet they often find themselves saying yes to new requests. Perhaps because they are optimists by nature, or they just hate to disappoint others, they end up hurting their health, credibility, and effectiveness by not being able to deliver on everything they promise.

In addition to saying yes too often, some entrepreneurs under pressure say no poorly, by attacking the requestor or by avoiding any definitive response. Either of these approaches always makes a difficult situation worse, often leading to guilt or later accommodation.

Girlboss desk-2.jpg

A successful entrepreneur must be accountable for all commitments and manage expectations to make this possible

So here are some tips I have learned over the years from strong leaders that can help you say no without damaging current business relationships or future opportunities:

1. Establish boundaries and honor them for all to see.

Let your constituents know your priorities and limits. Don’t continually break your own rules about when you are available or what requests are acceptable. Your actions must match your words, so don’t say yes when you mean no.

2. Ask for time to check your calendar.

It’s an acceptable business practice to review your schedule or converse with other principals before committing to an answer. Don’t respond with a quick yes that you can’t deliver, or a quick no that will ruin a relationship. In all cases, it’s important to commit to a date or time for a final yes or no.

3. Give credence to your initial instinct.

Recognize that your brain and your body often register information that is more accurate than an optimistic emotional reaction, or a negative reaction after a long hard day. Take a deep breath, clear your mind of any external distractions, and analyze your gut reaction before providing an answer.

4. Voice both the pros and cons to a trusted cohort.

Speaking the considerations out loud will help you make sure you understand the full implications of either a yes or a no answer. Every yes answer increases your workload, and every no answer may cut off an opportunity you need down the road. Talking it out also buys you time.

5. Explore the possibility of a reciprocal favor.

This will help the requester understand the impact of the request, and potentially reconsider. In other cases, you may actually get back more than you give up. Every yes should be a win-win proposition, just as strategic partnerships can bring huge growth to both businesses, despite the work.

Read the rest here.


V1, Motivation/Advice


A change in leadership can feel disruptive to your life at work. Disruption is a powerful force that can be harnessed for good. It can be tempting to focus on the ways a new boss will upset your routine—which might be just what you need. Here are five ways to embrace this change and let it propel you forward. 

 Image  via

Image via

  1. Welcome. Take time to sincerely express to your boss that you look forward to working with him or her. Be genuine and warm, but don’t overdo it. People can smell when you are disingenuous from a mile away.
  2. Communicate. Your new supervisor does not know you or completely understand how your department works. Being conscientious to be clear in communication will keep things running smoothly. A quick email such as, “I will have the monthly numbers to you by Friday like normal. Let me know if you prefer them differently” can keep processes and expectations clear.
  3. Reflect. Any shifts in your work life are natural opportunities to evaluate your career goals and take fresh steps to grow. Are there any courses you have wanted to pursue or organizations you have wanted to join? Use the energy from the changes to propel new growth for yourself.
  4. Grow. One of the benefits of having multiple supervisors is that each has unique experiences and strengths. Does your new boss have expertise that you want to learn?
  5. Relax. It will take a while for things to settle into a new, productive flow. Be patient with your boss, yourself, and the process. 


V1, Motivation/Advice

How to defeat the competition?

Ever feel discouraged by the threat of competition? Anytime you initiate something that is beautiful, new, amazing or creative; others will follow and mimic, and you need to establish and maintain your audience. Competition is okay because they are emulating you.  However, how you handle it is what matters. 

Here is a guideline on how to compete, what to do and what not to do to keep you motivated.

What not to do

  • DO NOT cave.  Confidence will help you persevere.
  • DO NOT focus on what they are doing, instead focus on you and what you need to do to perfect your brand.
  • DO NOT copy, instead, create. It is okay to be inspired by what others are doing, however, use that inspiration to create something amazing and not the same thing.
  • DO NOT waste time feeling jealous, frustrated or angry. That keeps you from perfecting your brand. You have no time to lose dillydallying, get to work! 
  • DO NOT follow them on social media. Seeing their posts could potentially give you anxiety, and will only discourage you. 
  • DO NOT visit your competitor's website/social media more than once a week, if you must. More than that may cause your stress levels to rise, bring you negative energy and deflect you from your creative process. 
  • DO NOT dwell on what you could have done and what you should have done. There is no time to focus on the past. You already know how to move forward, now concentrate on that. 
  • DO NOT rush. Take your time, and do it right. What's an extra couple of days, weeks or month? Taking your time allows you to be happy with the result. 
 Photo via

Photo via

What to do

  • Kill your competitors with kindness. Acknowledge them when they do something amazing. Eventually, they will reach out to you to collaborate somehow. 
  • Comment and interact. Acknowledging keeps you in control.  You might even inspire them to change their tactics and clean up their copy.  
  • Fight for what you created by pushing it harder than ever before.
  • Dedicate 1 hour daily to just promoting your brand. Social media is a great way to get the word out but can take up too much time and interfere with your creative process. Organize your efforts to one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening.
  • Remember it is business and stressing too much about what others do in business can affect your health and wellness. Maintain a healthy balance without crossing over into your personal or family time. 
  • Keep your hours 9-5 if possible, you need a break. Maintaining the proper time to yourself keeps your brain alert and aware. 
  • Take some time daily to think of your next power move.  Leave emotions way behind.  With strategies in place, you will always win.

Remember, competition is healthy. 


V1, Motivation/Advice

3 Ways to Use the Ancient Practice of Yoga to Heal Yourself

To achieve the full benefit of Yoga, we must first understand what Yoga is.  

While many know the literal translation as being “Union with God,” the Sanskrit word Yoga, like most Sanskrit words, is understood from a deeper internal level. Much like saying “a picture speaks a thousand words.”

“Union with God” means you are one with the sacred.  There is no difference between one and the other, you are wise, you are love, and you are that which is everything.  You are the god.  When you attain union, healing becomes nonexistent.  This Union is achieved through the practice of Asana, Meditation, and Pranayama.

Asana exercise is the physical aspect of development, Meditation is the mental aspect of development and Pranayama is the spiritual aspect of development. All three attain Yoga.  The Human body hosts both the manifested and the unmanifested form of Man.  Balance within these three aspects is essential to holistic wellbeing.  

Yoga is a profoundly spiritual practice.  You cannot practice union with God, but you can attain union with God.  Healing yourself using the Ancient Practice of Yoga is pursuing the path to sacredness.  



  • Asana practice is not Yoga; it is a physical exercise to attain Yoga.  Asana practice has a myriad of names; Booty yoga (booty union with God), Chocolate yoga (chocolate union with God), Hot Yoga (Hot union with God), Trauma Yoga (Trauma union with God). Names attached to yoga are mere descriptions for marketing purposes.  If Yoga is truly understood, one would see that no labels nor explanations are needed, the word ‘Yoga’ speaks volumes on its own.
  • Practicing asanas that are right for you is beneficial.  The labeling is implying different types of Yoga benefits only the marketer.  Often this labeling re-focuses the individual from the reality of Yoga to illusion and imagination disease.   In other words, since the ego seeks that which makes it comfortable, you will subconsciously choose a class based on what your ego thinks will make you feel good and not what is good for you.  
  • For example, Hot air lowers your life energy or prana.  Cold air raises your prana.  Asana practice is to increase prana. Most yogis climb the Himalayas to meditate because of cold air raising prana.  Why then would you practice Hot Yoga or Hot union with God? One must use intuitive wisdom to ascertain that which is supportive of them.


  • Meditation, like Asana practice, has received many different marketing names based on various techniques.  However, they all aim for the same result: thoughtless awareness. When one achieves thoughtless awareness, mental healing occurs.
  • In thoughtless awareness, one can dive deep into the recesses of the mind, releasing the electrical charges causing suffering.  Mental pain is like a painful scar.  
  • Thoughtless awareness allows one to be aware of the origins of the scar, the pain of the injury and the healing of the scar.  
  • Often people do not heal because when they feel the mental pain, they often repress or suppress it instead of moving through the energy and releasing it. Avoidance of psychological distress is like a massive rock blocking the flow of all possibilities.
  • When energy is released, you may forget painful memories altogether, or even if you recall them, they will no longer carry a charge.


  • Pranayama is described as breath control.  Prana, however, is more than breath. It is the energy that carries consciousness.  Prana can be understood as an energy field that transports the highest knowledge. Without awareness, all life would be unable to experience itself. Prana is the active aspect of breath and consciousness is the inactive character of breath. Prana is our life force energy.
  • The practice of Pranayama techniques brings about changes from a subtle, atomic level resulting in a change in the gross level.  It is said that the practice of Pranayama alone can be done to the exclusion of all other methods.  The consciousness within the Prana is supreme intelligence.  This supreme intelligence cleanses and rearranges your atoms, creating new supportive energies which expresses itself as health, wisdom, and vitality.


The Ancient Practice of Yoga is not about healing from a limited bodily perspective but instead uplifts and evolves you to an expansive immortal state of being.  The journey is filled with varied experiences, one being the realization that there is nothing to heal.

“Union with God” differs from “Union with good feelings.”  ‘Feel good’ unions carry highs and devastating lows. Attachment, imagination, and expectation spur them. 

All spiritual practice requires the release of self-motive.  Even if the motive is to be healed, it must be released. When self-motive is released, then surrender and gratitude will naturally occur, and clarity appears.

Asana, Meditation and Pranayama, when practiced together, are the perfect recipe for human evolution to higher consciousness and the ultimate healing of oneself-- ‘Union with God.’  

About the Author:

Ashta-deb is a registered hypnotherapist and a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, Inc. She integrates Yoga Nidra (Eastern Wisdom) with Hypnosis (Western knowledge) to maximize supportive results. 

She offers several online self-awareness and self-development guidance sessions via Skype. Her unique ability to apply the centuries-old teachings of Vedanta to modern day life is terrific. Her psychic abilities allow her to see genuinely into another’s soul which at times can prove unsettling. Ashta-deb engages daily in meditation and pranayama, reading books on Vedanta and experimenting with ancient yoga techniques as described in the scriptures. She enjoys her family time with her husband, Sam and four children in Ontario, Canada. 

Connect with Ashta-deb on Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about Life Happens to Us at

Life Happens to Us: A True Story is available for purchase in paperback and e-book via AmazonFriesen PressAshta-Ashram website, and all major booksellers.

Header image by  Form 


V1, Motivation/Advice

The Everygirl shares their office space.

The Everygirl shared their office space today. But, not only did they share photos they shared answers to questions we all want to know. Solutions which may inspire your next move.

 Image via  The Everygirl  

Image via The Everygirl 

You started the Everygirl in 2012 out of your homes — when and how did you know it was time for office space?

Yes — we both worked from home for the first few years! The real catalyst for getting an office was because we were hiring full-time employees here in Chicago and needed a space where we could work together and produce photo shoots. We found this amazing loft in Chicago’s West Loop that rents as either a live or work space, so the rent was much more affordable than standard commercial office rentals, and it had a much cooler aesthetic than most office spaces, so we jumped on it. We now have seven full-time editors (the two of us included), one part-time editor, and two interns working out of our Chicago office.

Read more here.

 Images via  The Everygirl

Images via The Everygirl


V1, Motivation/Advice


Many people look at my travel photos and may be unaware that besides having adventures around the world, I work as a registered nurse too. It is one of the less glamorous hats I wear, but it is the most character-defining job to date.

In 2003, as a newly minted registered nurse, I had the privilege of working on the Burns, Plastics, and Trauma unit at Vancouver’s most significant academic teaching hospital. It was here that I not only learned to hone my clinical skills but also gained perspective on life through a few great life lessons. The most prominent lesson learned: resilience. 

 Photo by  Heather Schwartz  on  Unsplash

How can you be strong in times of adversity?  
For years, you might not imagine that your teachers could be the unsuspecting patients that you would encounter and care for. You know that these horrific and traumatic events would change their lives forever but didn’t realize they would change yours. After this enlightening moment, I became a keen student; I would listen, collect and recall their stories.

There is a physical (medical and surgical) aspect of caring for a trauma patient, but there was also an emotional one. No textbook could adequately cover the complicated emotional rollercoaster of a patient’s journey. Everyone’s story was unique as well as the way they dealt with their circumstance to rise above. These stories are strategies for strength that you can use in your everyday life, no matter what your situation.

  • A sense of Humor: Being able to remember to laugh helps to keep things in perspective. There’s the saying that if you do not laugh, you will cry. I have done both: I laughed things off when I reminisce about younger years with my high school friends, and I have also cried when I remember how lonely I felt on the first day of eighth-grade in a brand new school in a brand new city. I also saw this when I watched the movie Stronger, a film about Jeff Bauman’s journey of recovery after having bilateral above the knee amputations as a result of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. He compared himself to ‘Lieutenant Dan’ from Forrest Gump offsetting the severe nature of his injury. As Forrest Gump reminds us, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”
  • Self-Reflection: While some rely on their humor, others can depend on self-reflection and outward expression as their coping mechanism. As someone who keeps a journal to express my thoughts, I can relate to this method, mainly since I sat down years ago and penned my novella, The Love List. Extracting the swirling ideas in your mind can help provide clarity to your situation, whether you are contemplating your next career move or big life decision. I came across Jane Diamond, a trained ballet dancer who lost her ability to walk after a tragic motor vehicle accident. After countless years of multiple surgeries, loneliness, and frustration, she turned to ask herself practical questions like, “What am I waking up for?” and “How did I want to live my life?” Her answers became her short- and long-term guide and today Jane now works as a wellness coach, personal trainer and yes – she walks. Who, what, when, where and why. Start with that and see what flows out of your pen (or fingers, if you are more of the digital type). You might be pleasantly surprised how therapeutic this may be.
  • Social Network: As much as I enjoy my alone time, I am a social creature who surrounds myself with love and support. In good times, this may not be as important; in times of need, like when I have seen exhausted families sleep in uncomfortable plastic chairs for a chance to hear health care professionals provide their assessment of their loved ones, a secure social network is critical. I can also personally attest to this when I worked as a nurse to see the power of loved ones. Todd Green* was in a minor accident; however, a couple of his surgeries had failed outcomes. He was down-in-the-dumps, but his family and friends, and the steady stream of well-wishers shielded him from the actual emotional toil they felt. Instead, they banded together and kept his room a haven for positive vibes. I know who will lift me up when I need some TLC. Who is your go-to support?

Although I am no longer a front-line clinician, I am reminded of these strategies for strength when I hear success stories like those of Jeff, Jane, and Todd. All three were able to come back from their accidents and use the strength from those around them, and within, to walk away from being victims of circumstance to becoming resilient heroes in their own right.

*Patient name has been changed to maintain their privacy.*


V1, Motivation/Advice


All too often we set up our office whether home or work, to look beautiful and clean. Even more fun is when it is a new space with new furniture. Added to the mix are a new computer and some organizational utensils to finish off the look. So why is it at 5 p.m. our desk seems like a hot mess? What makes it worse is when you leave it messy and in the morning head straight to that mess. Your anxiety levels begin to skyrocket. No one wants to start his or her work with an unorganized space.


Let me break it down of what you are doing wrong.

  • All the fantastic organizing products you buy, but do not use properly, causes nothing but confusion. Buying things to make your desk look cute is excellent, but it makes your desk unusable by taking up space. Not utilizing any product for its intended use defeats the purpose of trying to be organized.

So let's see how we can get you to be a little more consistent, organized and happy.

  • Start with a clean slate and strip your desk. Take everything off so you can separate what is trash and dump it.
  • Once the dump is complete, gather any loose papers and stack them to the side. Time is limited, so this is a quick fix for later.
  • Think about all the things you need on your desk that will allow you to stay organized. Don't reflect on the visual aspects yet, let's leave those for last.
  • You may have pens, paper, a desktop or laptop, figure out quickly where you need these things to be on your desk. All the important things should be within arm’s reach.
  • Consider using trays like the ones sold at West Elm. Depending on the size of your desk they are great to hold little odds and ends, things like your stapler and tape dispenser, pens and rulers, etc. Moreover, even a small space for something pretty, like a candle or your favorite nail polish and perfume.
  • To give additional room on your desk, consider getting a computer stand. It gives your computer some great height while creating extra space underneath for more storage.
  • Get a clipboard to keep all papers you are working on that day. At the end of your time only gather all your paper and clip them on the board. Leave it neatly on your desk or tuck it away in a draw.
  • Five minutes before shutdown, take a look at your work area and start putting things back into place.
  • One thing I have learned about staying organized is everything should have a place, and if it does not, then it does not belong. Keep that in your mind, and I can guarantee you will become more organized. When you are working, it may be difficult to have the perfect desk, but knowing there is a spot for everything will make cleaning up a breeze.


V1, Motivation/Advice



  • No offense to the hardworking 9-5er but I do not think most of them realize the company they work for is an entrepreneur. 
  • If they understood, then I am pretty sure they would have more respect for your grind.  When starting out a new business, you could expect work to consist of double, sometimes even triple shifts. 
  • If you are working on a new business, expect distractions to come. Think back to a time when someone asked you for a favor, especially a family member or friend and you had to say no. Only for them to respond to the assertion "but you are not doing anything all day" or, they make plans and expect you to either take part in or volunteer your services without even asking.  Assuming because you do not have a traditional (9-5) job, you are home all day, and apparently, you can find the time. 

It is, however, an unnecessary guilt trip that friends and family have placed upon the #GOAHEADGIRL (entrepreneur.)

  • While transitioning into an entrepreneurial role, we have all encountered these challenges.  Times when you said you could not participate because you were busy only to receive remarks such as "I work a full-time job," or "I do not have your luxury to sit home all day." 
  • If only they understood that working for yourself can be even more extensive than the amount of work they complete within their line of work at times. When they leave work, the work gets left at their workplace.  However, for an entrepreneur, there is no leaving work.  The work follows you. There is no off button or punch out a clock. 
  • As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats and with that comes great responsibility.  You have to balance your work time and include some you time.  Indeed, entrepreneurship is not for everyone.  
  • It is some of the hardest work you can do in your life.  It takes commitment and dedication. If only the 9-5 person understood, then maybe they would respect your time and understand when you have to say no, instead of dishing remarks when you are unavailable. 


  1. If you say NO, no longer explain why just say it and mean it. It does not make sense to try to explain anything about your business obligations particularly to people who have always been 9-5er's.  
  2. Learn to accept 9-5er's for who they are, people who punch the clock and are okay with it. Realize you cannot change people or make people respect you; you have to respect yourself. 
  3. Stop sharing your business stories, information, and statuses with them, especially if you are not making any money consistently. Yes, be happy and proud of what you do, but they may just not understand it. Only share new information with people in your entrepreneurial circle whom you trust, your significant other and kids. 
  4. Only say yes when you know you can. Make sure when you are doing a favor, it is coming from a right place in your heart. 
  5. Don't get angry, get even!  I mean that in a healthy way.  Keep doing what you are doing. Once you have achieved your goal, you can relish in your successes.  Stay focused, continue to pursue your dreams, and stand firm in your belief. 
  6. Last but not least: empathize with the 9-5er for they do not understand and they may never unless they try it themselves. It will make dealing with people easier. Trust me, if you have the opportunity to start your own business that means you are doing something right. You have creative freedom and time on your hands, and therefore, you decide how to use your time. You can enjoy oozing jealousy out of them. 

Above all, don't panic, don't stress, stand tough you are an entrepreneur! 


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash



V1, Motivation/Advice


Making an appearance on Shark Tank can be an excellent opportunity for a company looking for extra capital. As you may know, competition to land a  coveted spot on the ABC show is steep. Just ask Fresh Patch founder Andrew Feld. He successfully landed a spot in season 9 of Shark Tank. Below are some tips from Feld to fellow entrepreneurs on how they can also get in front of the sharks.

  • Bring the energy.  The Shark Tank casting directors are viewing thousands of submissions so you must make yourself stand out from the pack.  My wife is a film producer, so I was lucky to have her help with my submission video.  Every time she recorded my pitch she would say "more energy, more energy!"  She had me doing jumping jacks and push-ups between takes.
  • Do your homework.  When you go on Shark Tank, you are walking into a room of big egos.  Sharks assume that you already know their backgrounds and that you know what each of them can bring to the table as an investor.  Direct your pitch to all of the sharks instead of just focusing on one. In fact, I was so sure that the pet-loving Robert Herjavec was the best shark for our dog product.  I was shocked that he was the only one who decided to pass on Fresh Patch.  
  •  Be passionate.    Sharks love to invest in entrepreneurs who wear their heart on their sleeve and are willing to do whatever it takes to make their company successful. Running a business can be a rollercoaster, and the sharks prefer to invest in entrepreneurs who won't let anything stand in their way.  
  • Definitely, haggle.   The sharks are not afraid to make a low-ball offer for your business.  If this happens, the worst thing a contestant can do is agree to the first offer.  Accepting a low ball offer devalues your company, but more importantly, it does not make for good television.  The back and forth negotiation process is an integral part of the show.  You might end up getting a deal with a shark. However, your episode may never see the light of day because it lacked entertainment value.  

About Fresh Patch Founder, Andrew Feld

After years of just making it as an actor in Los Angeles, founder Andrew Feld decided it was time to take control of his career. With love for animals, Feld always knew he would work with or help them in some capacity. When pee pads and synthetic grass toilets weren’t working with his dog, Chloe, he developed his solution - Fresh Patch!

Bringing home a new box or different type of grass to test out with Chloe each week, it took several months before he had a working prototype. With humble beginnings, he made his first deliveries out of his car. Now, Fresh Patch is quickly expanding into the ultimate in-home training system for dogs! Dogs want to “go” on real grass, and Feld is proud to give our furry friends a convenient way to do so, indoors.

Header image by Jared Rice


V1, Motivation/Advice


Our Founder Nicola Styles shares the secret to stopping social media burnout.  Covering why social media is getting to you and what have you lost about yourself. 

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V1, Motivation/Advice


  • Friday is known to be one of the most down days of the week other than Sunday. On Fridays, you cannot wait until the work day is over so you can kick off your heels watch a movie, go partying with friends or chill out with your love. 
  • Most Fridays you are not really in the mood to work. (Come on you know it is true.)That is why it is the best day to set your goals for the next week. 
Why you should schedule your weekly goals on a Friday.jpeg
  • Think about it. Saturday you are going to be busy getting weekend stuff done. Sunday all you will want to do is get mental rest.  Monday through Thursday you are busy getting things are done for work. So, what day is left to plan? The day when you are less likely to be consumed with work duties, hence "Friday."
  • When your mind starts to wander, quickly take hold and plan your goals, spend a few minutes writing down what you would like to accomplish next week. Try even to plan out your calendar. You will be surprised at how much more organized you will feel Monday morning. 

Friday could not be more perfect, to plan, gather, and organize your following week. Give it a go and let us know how it works out for you.


V1, Motivation/Advice


Busy in different ways, us women do not know when to quit! Appointments made, gatherings to attend, and deadlines to meet and yet never knowing if our mental state is in a desperate need of a break.

  • Feeling an intense headache, a stubborn cough, or a sniffle. Your immune system is under attack, and only rest can fix it.
  • Dwelling on the past Living in a time loop on a mistake you made earlier can only stress you out, and no good will come of focusing all your energy on something you cannot change. 
  • When you begin to skip personal necessities. Skipping dinner or sleep can begin to take a toll on you physically and mentally, so allow your body to rest and enjoy that extra scoop of mac & cheese.
  •  So exhausted you cannot sleep. Your body is so wound up it cannot mentally shut down and let your body rest.
  • Feeling anxious and sad all the time you are left with overwhelming emotion, and it consists of anxiousness and sadness. 
  • Taking a mental break and stepping back from stress-induced routines is psychological health 101 and needs to be enforced within the daily lives of women. 
  • Header photo by nick beswick on Unsplash
  • Second photo by Jakob Owens