When to Say No to New Ideas & Opportunities (FS054)

A bunch of ideas. They’re written on index cards and spread all over the table. They’re all yours. Which one (or ones) do you choose?

You don’t want to waste time on a dud idea.

You also don’t want to miss out on a hidden golden goose opportunity.

You also don’t want to choose too many ideas and end up restricting airflow and letting the fires go out.

So which one do you choose? How do you cull down to the most worth while ideas? How do you know when to say no?

That’s what we get into in this episode, including:

  • My failed cigar blog project, why it was a great idea and why I quit anyways.
  • A simple “policy” tip for negotiations.
  • Soft tips and hard costs.
  • The “out of the emotions” trick Chase uses
  • And, of course, the real answer

Push Play: When to Say No to New Ideas & Opportunities (FS054) /

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Too many ideas and not enough time… Know when to say ‘yes’ to new ideas and opportunities.
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Show Notes

Urban Dictionary: how’s your father “According to Michael Kelly, a writer and historian in New Zealand, “the origin of the expression ‘how’s your father’ can be traced back to Victorian times.”

Where Do Great Ideas Come From? (Hint: Not Where You Think) “Do your best ideas come from sitting down, focused with a pad of paper, and trying to come up with them? Or do they come spontaneously, when you least expect them to, and then quickly float away before you can capture them?”

Ideas are just a multiplier of execution | Derek Sivers “It’s so funny when I hear people being so protective of ideas. (People who want me to sign an NDA to tell me the simplest idea.)”

My website mockups for Cigar Apprentice This was the site I designed for Cigar Apprentice. All of the cigar, none of the tommy bahama :)

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama “President Barack Obama sits down with Zach Galifianakis for his most memorable interview yet.”

Chris Johnson Founder’s Story — Masterclass In Sales “Sales is simply being intelligent enough to be in the right place at the right time.” A great conversation about turning pro in any sales role. Sensational.


“You can follow me by the trail of my failed projects.” ~ @chase_reeves
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  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    For all of 2012 I said yes to everything and got nothing accomplished. In 2013 I said no unless I could implement right away, that made all the difference.

    • http://calebwojcik.com/ Caleb Wojcik

      I love that you tried both (and were diligent about sticking to your guns for a full year).

      • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

        Thanks Caleb, I’m a huge fan!

  • Spouse Dates

    This episode reminded me of a book I read a few years ago called “The Power of a Positive No” by Wiliam Ury. The idea of the book is that a positive “No” is couched between two yeses. First you have to say yes to something so completely that all other options are eliminated. Then you say no to what does not align with that first yes. Then you say yes to a creative alternative option that fits with both your driving yes and the request that is being made. What you all shared and how you approach things fits really well with this paradigm. Loved this episode and hearing so much from all of you. Steve

  • Laura Brennan

    Justine Musk has an excellent TEDx talk called “The Art of the Deep Yes,” but what it’s really about is learning to say no to whatever takes you away from your big, important yes. It’s not just business opportunities you have to say “no” to — it’s the requests and expectations of family and community.
    I’m curious if you guys (Hey, Guys!) feel the same pressure to give time and energy to outside obligations. I don’t want to frame it as guys vs. gals, and frankly I see it as both an opportunity and a burden, but women more than men are constantly expected to be room moms, playdate-organizers, chaperones and cupcake-bakers. There is a lot of pressure to say yes, especially when children are involved. And, just as you said, each time takes away from every other yes.
    Do you guys feel that? Can you say no as easily to family obligations as to work ones?

    • Chase Reeves

      When it comes to family, yes, I feel a huge responsibility to be available and say ‘yes.’ They’re only 5 for so long, i guess… some yes’ are better than others, and I try to stay in the story where the family ones are more important than the “be on a podcast interview!” ones :)

      • Laura Brennan

        That’s true, and in terms of being there for one’s child, you won’t get any argument from me. But there’s also a huge community machine that runs on parents willing to give time and energy to things *around* their children – fundraising, PTA, volunteering – that also requires learning to say no. And it’s harder for me to say no there than for my own business and goals. But maybe that’s just me!
        On another note, I think you guys have mentioned Maria Popova and Brainpickings in your podcasts – I love her, and coincidentally she posted Anne Lamott’s ideas on priorities and learning to say no just last week. I don’t know the policy on adding links to responses, so I won’t put it here, but it came up under a search for “perfectionism” on the brainpickings site. It’s called “The Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters.” Really good stuff.

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    annnnd I lol’d 5x+

    really gettin’ into this guys, love your style!

    • Chase Reeves

      thanks, man.

  • Princewill

    I’d say I used to be guilty of having so many ideas and not getting any acccomplished, I tried to do so many things at a time I end up not giving any the amount of attention it deserved and that lead to alot of them been abandoned…

    Being decisive and optimistic about a particular idea is the key, lay down the ideas, set a time frame for each, check out the resources available to get them accoplished, then choose the most important and workable within the given time frame and set to work on one…

    Only go to another if you are done with one…

    An idea may look sweet but not workable, With your post I can now deduce which to go for and not to go for…

  • alexpcoleman

    The bit where you mentioned you need to adjust for having tons of ideas all of the time really hit home. It’s definitely taken a lot of personal mental observation–and constant testing of new strategies–for me to get to the point where I’ve gotten (decently) good at deciding what ideas to actually execute on.

    That constant observation coupled with giving myself time *after* I come up with an initial idea has been huge. If I subconsciously revisit the idea, that’s a great start. And if I let the idea work itself out in my mind, *and* it continues to seemingly get better and better as I do so, *that’s* when I really know I might have something worth running down.

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