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Jul 26, 2021

Regardless of your profession or career, there will always be times you need to say no. But even though it is a necessary skill, many people find it difficult to say no in personal or professional situations. In today’s episode, Linda is joined by the CEO of Cleo and Coco Suzannah Raff to learn how to say “no” and be okay with it.

Suzannah has worn many hats throughout her professional career.

  • After receiving an MA in business, Suzannah worked in high technology before pivoting to a tech startup that eventually went public.
  • She later went on to receive another MA in social work and worked another five years before launching her brand Cleo and Coco, where she is the current CEO.
  • Cleo and Coco make clean and luxurious personal care products, transforming the personal care industry by putting “care” back in personal care.

She’s had to say “no” in virtually all of these career steps.

  • As a brand founder, she has values for her product that she holds firm. 
  • She found that manufacturers will say they can produce her products more cheaply by using an alternative ingredient that isn’t as clean or pure. Suzannah has to hold firm and say no in those instances.
  • As a Sabbath-observant Jewish woman, Suzannah doesn’t look at her phone or computer for 24 hours, starting at sundown each Friday. She has had huge business opportunities occur within that timeframe that she’s had to turn down (like going on-air for QVC) because they went against her values.
  • But Suzannah doesn’t feel guilty about saying no because these instances go against values she has for herself and her life.

How can someone learn to say no?

  • It’s much easier to say yes and keep the peace (saying no can cause conflict.) But to start saying no, Suzannah has three strategies:
  • Stop and think about the situation or problem. 
  • Have a list of your values and what is important to you. Run it against your list of values, and if it goes against any of them say no.
  • Instead of saying “no,” determine the smoothest route to accomplish the same goal. Explain why you can’t do it, say complimentary things about it, come up with another solution or compromise.

When to say “yes” instead of “no”:

  • If the opportunity or problem doesn’t go against anything on your list, ask yourself why you want to say no in the first place. 
  • The opportunity might be a chance to push yourself and try something new. 
  • Suzannah also says yes anytime something is within her bandwidth and brings value to someone else. But remember, it must be within your bandwidth for it to be worth it. 

How did Suzannah discover her values?

She makes lists for any major life decisions she has to make.

Where is she at now? Where does she want to be? What does she need to do to get there?

Have a brainstorming session with yourself, write down all of your ideas, and turn it into a list of your top 10

What would you say to someone struggling to say no after saying yes

Sometimes just talking it out with somebody might make you feel better. Recognize that there are times you just need to set a boundary, find a friend, and vent to them to get it out of your system.

Barrier looking to break?

Access to capital for female founders.

Less than 10% of venture capital goes to female founders.

Been interrupted?

SHe’s interrupted her own career a couple of times

Throughout those interruptions, how has overcoming them been helpful?

Beginnings are always difficult, but Suzannah enjoys the challenge and likes starting new things.

Do you have stories to tell? Connect with Linda to share them. This podcast is produced by TSE Studios. Check out other podcasts by TSE Studios, including this episode’s sponsor, The Sales Evangelist, helping new and struggling sellers close more deals and achieving their sales goals.

Subscribe to the IntHERrupt Podcast so you won’t miss a single show. Find us on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher. Audio created by Ryan Rasmussen Productions.