Dare to say NO with Lisa Hammett

When you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. What are you saying no to? @lisahammett

If you’ve ever experienced burnout, it’s like hitting a wall. You’re done. You’re mentally and physically wiped out. You’ve lost your capacity to see beyond your present situation. Your life has become gray, devoid of color.

Lisa talks about her experience with burnout and how saying yes too much can contribute to this. This is a great conversational interview that covers a variety of topics that causes stress and burnout in the workplace.


Brent: Welcome to this episode of Talk Commerce today I have Lisa Hammett.

Brent: Lisa, go ahead. Introduce yourself. Tell us what you’re doing in a day-to-day role and maybe one of your passions in. 

Lisa: Thanks, Brent. It’s so nice to be here. I am Lisa Hammett. I am a success and mental fitness coach and I help executives and business owners reduce stress. Hopefully to prevent burnout, but I have helped others get through burnout, by developing mental fitness so they can leave a healthy, happy, productive life.

Lisa: And having been through burnout myself, I am really passionate about helping others get through that because oftentimes when you reach burnout, you feel like you have no hope you’ve hit a wall. I like to equate it to the world kind of goes gray devoid of color and it can really seem like there’s no hope.

Lisa: So I like to give people hope. 

Brent: That’s great. And I know that what sparked my interest was that you had a article on LinkedIn and I think it was about just say no. So tell us a little bit about the reasoning behind that and some of the things you found out of that. 

Lisa: Absolutely. So one form of stress management is setting healthy boundaries and that falls into the self care equation.

Lisa: And oftentimes when we think of self care, we think of what we eat, how we move our bodies, our sleep water, which are all amazing, but setting healthy boundaries is just as important. And especially for managing stress. So just say no was about how you can set those healthy boundaries and you don’t need to apologize for it.

Brent: in just say, no, your article was directed to both entrepreneurs and employees. 

Lisa: Yes, 

Brent: absolutely. And maybe speak to how entrepreneurs sometimes would say yes to everything which causes them to have more stress. 

Lisa: Oh, I can so relate to that, cuz I’ve been an entrepreneur for quite a while and when you’re hungry and you’re starting your business, you don’t wanna say no because you don’t want to develop a reputation of, oh, I can’t do that.

Lisa: Or, if you’re in the business, Sector. You don’t want people to think that you’re not a team player, but what I have found is when you learn to say no the right way and set those healthy boundaries, it actually commands more respect and you don’t need to apologize for it. In fact, apologizing for it sets a negative example.

Lisa: It’s okay to say no, in fact, it is encouraged. 

Brent: Do you think there’s some truth to focusing on a couple of things is better than trying to do everything and by saying no, you’re really just targeting those specific things that you’d like to work on. 

Lisa: Absolutely. Absolutely. So somebody explained to me and I thought this was such a unique way of looking at it is, when you say yes.

Lisa: To something you’re actually saying no to something else. So it then begs the question. What are you saying yes to? Are you saying yes to the wrong things, which ties into what you had just asked? Are we focusing on the wrong thing. So we are not able to really drive our business or move forward in a relationship, make positive change in our life.

Lisa: It really begs the question to assess and say, okay, what am I actually saying no to, and should I be saying yes to it a way to shift it a little bit. 

Brent: Yeah. And I think there’s some things in there that business owners would say yes and no to, and I want to break it into two parts right now.

Brent: There’s the customer portion of it. And then there’s the inner drive to do something new portion of it. And I think Verne Harnish calls it the shiny object where that thing is making you add something more to your list. Let’s talk about the customer first. You mentioned that they would have more respect for you for saying no.

Brent: Talk, just dive into that a little bit. 

Lisa: If you are saying no, from a place of authenticity, you’re not apologizing. And you’re being honest without providing a dissertation, people will respect you because oftentimes other people want to say no as well, but they don’t know how to, or they’re afraid of offending somebody.

Lisa: And when somebody is honest and authentic, it’s very refreshing. For example, when dealing with customers saying something to the effect that. Unfortunately, I cannot do this for you right now, due to X, Y, Z, in my schedule, I want to make sure that I am able to provide you the best service. And by saying yes to this, I won’t be able to do that.

Lisa: Somebody said that to me, I would be thank you. I might be disappointed, but I would be so appreciative because how many times have you been in a situation where somebody told you yes to something and then it surpassed, it went the deadline just kept pushing out and you never got constructive feedback as to what was happening.

Lisa: And it really developed some resentment. 

Brent: I think a real life. Way of looking at it for a business owner would be to look at the restaurants that have a list for you to sit down. They are telling you no. You can’t sit down right now because either we don’t have enough room or we don’t have enough staff to handle all this.

Brent: That no, then sets your expectation for when you’re going to be able to eat. There’s a direct correlation with that. That’s more of a quick thing where, Hey it’s gonna be 45 minutes, but I could see all these open tables. Well, we don’t have enough people to cover all those open tables.

Brent: So if we were to seat you, you would still sit there and wait. Do you think there’s a, a way that business owners can work or let me just back up a second, are there some exercises they can work through to help them to understand when they should say no? And when they shouldn’t. 

Lisa: That’s a good question.

Lisa: I think a lot of times it boils down to what is most important, and I’m gonna go to the shiny object thing that you were talking about earlier. It’s we get distracted by things that we put too much importance on, so it really boils down to prioritization. And what is of the utmost importance and when we are,

Lisa: squirrel squirrel shiny object. That is not helpful. So sometimes, it’s as simple as doing a brain dump and just writing down. Okay. These are all the different things that need to be accomplished and then start prioritizing them in need to be done now, need to be done. And X number of time can be done later.

Lisa: And. It sounds remedial, but it really does work. 

Brent: I think too, the making sure that you, from a customer standpoint, when you do say yes, looking at that entire journey that the customer’s gone through and then going back and doing a little retrospect on how did that actually go and are we serving them in a good way?

Brent: Maybe we could talk a little bit about the monetary side of that. Cause I think a lot of times newer business owners always wanna say yes, and they don’t realize where their profit comes from. And there is a actual monetary value that you could put on saying no. In economics it’s opportunity cost, right?

Brent: So every time you say yes, you’re giving up potential opportunity for a higher revenue. In your coaching, how do you like coach that into somebody that isn’t sometimes very receptive? 

Lisa: Oh, gosh, I personally went through this when I lost my lost launched my business. You almost want to be something for everybody and then just see kind of where it sticks, but that doesn’t work.

Lisa: I mean, it’s really more effective to narrow down specifically who your clientele. Is and be very, very specific because oftentimes we get so focused on, oh, here’s something here. Oh, here’s a little bit here. Well, what happens is that just takes time to prevent you from really going after that ideal client it’s just becomes like busy work.

Lisa: If it’s somebody that isn’t really going to help you develop your offering in a sense that can actually help you move forward. Do they have people that they could refer you to? Is it really the, the area that you want to.

Lisa: become involved in, as opposed to, oh, here’s just something that’s gonna get me some money. Does that make sense? 

Brent: Yeah, that’s a really good way to look at it. Okay do you think it’s harder to pivot from nos to yeses at some point? And I’ll give you the example. The agency that I run was specifically a Magento agency and Magento’s an eCommerce platform.

Brent: The name of the agency is Wagento. And a couple of years ago, we took on another brand, another partner called BigCommerce. And it was very difficult because we were so hyper focused on the one platform to get people to understand that we’re gonna add another one. So that pivot took a little bit of time.

Brent: Some may argue that, Hey, if I’m so hyperfocused, it’s gonna be harder to branched out when we’re ready to branch out what sort of advice or coaching can you give to somebody like me? Who was so hyperfocused for 10 years?

Brent: And then suddenly I’m like, oh geez. You know, I’m gonna have to do something new. How do I start saying yes again to something. 

Lisa: I think having somebody to coach you through the process is really important to have somebody who’s outside of the situation. And I’m not saying actually hire a coach. It could be somebody, a mentor that you really respect.

Lisa: A fellow business owner who has gone through a similar transition, but somebody who can look at it objectively and really provide you with some great feedback because when we are so focused on one thing, it’s really hard sometimes to shift that focus, cuz it’s been so ingrained in us and it served us well, but now we need to take take the lens back and really look at it from a different angle.

Lisa: And I think that’s a good place to start is to find somebody that you respect to help you with that. 

Brent: Yeah, I think that’s a lot of businesses do QBR or quarterly business reviews or quarterly business planning. Mm-hmm and when we’ve had a facility come facilitator, come in and help us do that. I feel as though we’ve been way more productive than if we just did it as a leadership team.

Brent: Cuz I think sometimes as you said, it’s hard to see other perspectives without somebody who doesn’t have a perspective to come in and look at it. And maybe some of those questions they ask help you to spark those new questions to ask about your business. I wanna ask specifically then about if how do you coach a business owner to not be defensive when they say, how about this?

Brent: Why aren’t you doing. In EO, we don’t should on people. You should do this. You want to sort of do some experience sharing. Do you find it delicate sometimes when speaking to business owners about some of these topics to help them through that, 

Lisa: I think they need to focus on, and I know this can’t always a hundred percent of the time be the case, but

Lisa: oftentimes when we get so focused on a goal and something that is not going right. We just dive in and focus all our energy on what is not going well, instead of really focusing on what is going well. now with that said, I’m not saying put on rose colored glasses, and if you have a problem that needs to be addressed, throw it under the table.

Lisa: Absolutely not. But I think when you’re having a conversation with somebody that. They need some coaching and development. It’s really, it’s starting with their strengths and maybe they’re in a situation that isn’t leaning into their strengths and maybe it needs to be shifted into something else.

Lisa: I think that’s really what needs to be understood first is where is everybody best suited? And sometimes it isn’t the right fit and that can be addressed, but. When you’re leading from strengths personally how does that make you feel when somebody is saying, you know what, Brent, you are so talented at this.

Lisa: It’s just, it’s a real natural fit for you. You did such an exceptional job and X, Y, and Z. So if somebody were to say that to you, how would you feel. 

Brent: Obviously it makes me feel a lot better so leading with those type of questions is much better than leading with criticizing questions.

Brent: Right. 

Lisa: Right. 

Brent: We’ve talked about the kind of customer dynamic as a business owner. The other dynamic, a lot of business owners have, would be I’m gonna rescue everything. And then suddenly. If you have a team of 20 people or 50 people or a hundred people, your bandwidth becomes completely lost because you’ve now said yes to your entire team to rescuing them instead of helping to enable your team

Brent: to solve some of the problems. How do you work through that type of situation where you want to encourage the business owner to delegate some of that work? It might even come from a lack of trust in your team to solve those problems. But I, and again, then you need to lead with the strength.

Brent: How do you encourage them? Not to say yes to everyth. 

Lisa: That’s oh, that’s a great question. And I’m gonna lean into Brene Brown, who I just think is phenomenal. And she talks a lot about this type of thing in Dare to Lead, but it’s, it starts with first of all, creating a safe space for people to be vulnerable and authentic and to be able to share when they are struggling and

Lisa: if your culture does not have that type of environment then situations like you just described arise. And the manager for whatever reason, supervisor, business owner may not feel like they have confidence because they’re not having open ended dialogue with their team and they’re not encouraging that.

Lisa: So they’re feeling compelled that they have to do everything themselves. Well, that’s not an effective leader. I mean a leader is taking the spotlight off of themselves and developing and encouraging their team. So again, it starts with having that open, honest culture where you can share ideas without judgment and criticism, which can be challenging.

Lisa: But when you have that starting ground things really start to 

Brent: shift. Do you think there’s the opposite problem of somebody who’s giving credit to somebody else all the time, even though that person didn’t do it, 

Lisa: so like favoritism and 

Brent: nepotism, that type of thing, not favoritism, but I I’ll be honest that a lot of times I like to give credit to somebody else for an idea because it makes everybody look better, but.

Brent: Maybe, I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud right now. Maybe it’s not a great idea to give ever, or talk to them in, I suppose, in advance and say, Hey, this is a great idea. And I feel like you came up with it. I’m gonna give you credit for it. Well, I 

Lisa: think it’s important to give credit where credit is due, you know, and that is really, what’s going to build the authentic, open, honest

Lisa: environment, because if you’re starting, if you’re doing that and giving credit where it’s not fully due, other people are gonna start to pick up on it. They may not initially, but then it will start to cause resentment. So I understand why maybe once in a while you might want to, but it’s not a good practice to be in.

Lisa: And I’m not saying as a business leader to say, oh, I’m so awesome. I did this, blah, blah, blah. In fact, if anything, even if you did do something exceptional that shouldn’t come from you that should be noticed by other people and not, you should not. Toting that yourself, because that’s really demotivating to your staff.

Brent: Yeah. Is there something around the business owner, always being in the savior?

Lisa: Yes. It, that’s not a good thing either. They need to be there to support if something goes wrong, but if you are developing your staff the way they need to be developed then you shouldn’t have to save them if they do something that maybe they shouldn’t have, or they made an error, or it could have been done better.

Lisa: They can recognize that and learn from that and they don’t need saving. Does that make sense? 

Brent: Mm-hmm yeah, that’s a good way to put it. As a business owner, if I am overwhelmed with a certain thing, but I don’t know how to ask for help. Is there keys and is there coaching things that you could tell me to say, Hey, you know, and I think too, as business owners, sometimes we don’t feel like we wanna be that vulnerable to say, I can’t do this.

Brent: I’m gonna need help. Is there ways that I could express my myself better to say, you know, I’m a hundred percent on this. I don’t have any more capacity. How can you help me? Or can. 

Lisa: So I think that goes back into, if you’re in a situation where you can go to a mentor to help that. That’s awesome.

Lisa: Now, if you are needing to share this with your staff, you can do it in such a way where it doesn’t come across, that you are floundering because you still want to appear. I don’t wanna say stable. Don’t give a false sense of impression, but you want to be reliable to people, but you know, if you are really asking for authenticity, you in turn need to be authentic as well.

Lisa: And that doesn’t mean saying, oh, I can’t do this, blah, blah, blah. You know, but if finding a way to maybe integrate somebody else into the equation to help manage the load. so to speak Does that make sense? Yeah. And then when it actually comes down to maybe if you’re starting to feel as a business owner, overwhelm yourself, that’s where I illustrate mental fitness and how that can really help by shifting all that negative energy, which is in your left analytical side of the brain, which

Lisa: stems fear and anxiety and stress and overwhelmed that all comes from your left side, quieting it so that you can then transfer your focus to the positive right side of your brain. So you can be a little more clearheaded because oftentimes when we get in that space of being overwhelmed, we’re not clearheaded.

Lisa: It just snowballs and then we start over dramatizing in our mind and assuming that, oh my goodness this could happen. Well our thoughts are not facts. 99% of the time we tend to overdramatize them. So this just kind of grounds us. So especially if you have to have a difficult conversation with

Lisa: a person that you are working with an employer or mentor, whatever. It’s always good to come from that positive right. Side brain. 

Brent: Does that make sense? Yeah. And I’m left handed, so I’m using my right side all the time. As you know, as you were talking about that, I remember myself, let’s just say 10 years ago or five years ago, even that.

Brent: When I felt overwhelmed, I would start lashing out at people by saying, I can’t do this anymore. Or, I think that the emotional side sometimes comes out and that and employees don’t absolutely can’t and don’t understand that. I think one of the things I read was emotional EQ 2.0, which was a great book.

Brent: And going through that book and learning more about my emotions and how those emotions affect your team, helped me through some of that. And I’ve realized as we’re talking now that it’s been five, six years since I’ve experienced that overwhelmingness. That has caused me to start lashing out at people about whatever the issue is.

Brent: So, not that I’m fixed, but I can now relate to the fact that I’m not that I don’t experience that anymore. 

Lisa: right. And that’s a, oh, that’s not a fun position to be in, but you know that we are emotional beings and when all that negative emotion bubbles up, that is one of the responses that happens.

Lisa: And yeah, if that is not managed oh, that can create a toxic mess. 

Brent: So. And just as a facilitator side of things we, as a group hired a facilitator to facilitate that book. And there’s some tests. If you read the book, there’s a test you can take in the beginning and then they would like you to go through a bunch of exercises and take another test.

Brent: So it was a great experience. And I would encourage any anybody business owner or not to read the book and do some of those exercises because I feel as though. I even thought maybe anger was a good tool to use. Cuz you think about coaches and you look at a coach in a locker room and they’re yelling at their players, right. 

Brent: at some point that doesn’t work anymore. And I think that’s not the most effective way of coaching your team yelling and getting angry with them. and that the book itself, that was one of the big things that I got out of. that’s awesome. I wanna switch gears now to the to the employer, employee relationship mm-hmm and the fact that some employees work a lot and they, they tend to not say new, no to their employer.

Brent: And there is a little bit of a conundrum in there. Like I am a results person. So I would expect less. I would love it if everybody worked less than 40 hours. If we were all in Europe, we all work 35 hours when we get August off plus another two weeks. Right. But in America it’s different, right?

Brent: We’re all expected to work 60 hours a week and not take your vacation. So there is a conundrum in there and I think the specific conundrum comes down to you want your people to work no more than 40 hours, but let’s just say somebody’s worked 40 hours on Thursday already. Do you expect them to work on Friday?

Lisa: That’s a really good question. I think it depends on the business and what is happening, you if there’s been a lot of turnover, it’s not ideal. Let’s kind of go backwards a bit. So let’s just say you are starting a new position at a company and you were informed that this is the expectation of the number of hours that you

Lisa: should work in order to get your job done. Well, if you start from day one, when you’re there telling everybody, oh, I’ll work the weekend. Oh, I have no problem working over time. Oh, I’ll take my laptop home with me and do this. You’re putting this expectation on yourself and sharing that with others.

Lisa: So then they will just come to assume. Well, this individual has expressed that this is not a problem, so they will continue to hold you to that expectation. And before you know it, you have no boundaries. You’re 24 7, you’re taking your laptop on vacation. So you’re not really on a full vacation, so 

Lisa: that is one thing that needs to be established upfront, and again, I’m not saying that in particular situations that maybe you are open to stepping up, but. You’re the one who sets that expectation up front. So don’t set the wrong expectation. And then if it gets to a situation where there’s staffing issues and there’s not enough people, and you’re doing the job of three people, If it’s getting to the point where you’re starting to get chronic stress, it’s impacting your work life balance, and you are working as hard as you can, but you need help.

Lisa: Then you have to say something. You can’t just, oh, well, no I can’t say anything. That’s gonna make me appear weak. No, you have to ask for help. I’m not saying you’re always going to get it, but you have to ask for help. And it’s how you ask for help. It’s kind of with the solution in mind, it’s like if you’re presenting a problem to somebody you don’t wanna just appear, like you’re a complainer, you want to provide a solution as well.

Lisa: That solution may note be taken into account, but at least it’s going to show that you’re trying to be proactive and you’re not sitting there complaining. 

Brent: I think that there’s a dynamic there where the employee may not have the skills to be able to delegate yet as a coach

Brent: how would you encourage them to do some of that delegation work.

Lisa: I think it really boils down to sitting down with them and, okay. So where is the fear coming from? Is it a fear that, oh my gosh, I am going to look like I can’t do my job if I delegate it or is it not going to be done right. Because I’m delegating it. So it’s really looking that fear in the face and then working on moving through it because fear ultimately can paralyze all of us

Lisa: at any point in time. And that’s the, one of the largest reasons why people do not achieve goals is fear. It’s either fear of success, fear of failure. And it can manifest in very weird ways like procrastination, or you become a hyper achiever because you won’t delegate and you have to keep doing it all yourself.

Brent: Do you think the other problem in that is, is also. The employee has so much to do that they couldn’t possibly be successful at everything they’ve been. They’ve said yes to doing. 

Lisa: In some cases that might be the case. Certainly the working world is very different today than it was.

Lisa: I know when I started decades ago, it’s very different. And especially now as we still try to get through the whole pandemic issue and the whole flexible workspace and it’s just it’s constantly evolving into different things. So it, that could be. But not always. 

Brent: And just to be clear, you and I have both established that we’re both in our mid twenties, so yes, decades we’ve been working since we were five years 

Lisa: old.

Lisa: yes. We’re amazing humans that way. 

Brent: absolutely. Lisa, we are running out of time here quickly. As we close out the podcast, I give everybody, a chance to do a shameless plug. What would you like to plug today? 

Lisa: Well, thank you for that opportunity. So I have a book, it’s my first book that I am publishing next month.

Lisa: That’ll be mid month and it’s From Burnout to Best Life. And it integrates my story of reaching burnout and how I overcame burnout, but it’s really a guide to your happiest, healthiest life. So after I went through burnout, I started my personal health and wellness journey and I lost 65 pounds. And I have been a health coach for many years.

Lisa: And then during the pandemic, I added the life coaching piece of it as well. So the book encompasses both areas. So it talks about healthy eating, and diet and everything, but also like we discussed fear. How do you deal with fear? Setting healthy boundaries? A lot of the topics that we discussed are in the book.

Lisa: I am starting speaking engagements. I’ve been doing podcasts, but I’m actually doing a Ted talk coming out at the end of August. So really looking at the book as a way to just get speaking engagements and just kind of open doors. So that’s, what’s 

Brent: happening with. Yeah. So let’s definitely do a another interview when your book comes out and we can dive into more of these topics.

Brent: It’s been a, it’s been very interesting and just as we close out too, I am a running coach. And so physical. And I recognize how important that mental aspect is to especially running. But even last night I had a conversation with another coach and I was asking about something and he said, I think you need to work on your mental toughness because a lot of times we think we can’t do something and as I’m running and I’m in a long run, I always say to people, I think running is

Brent: 90% mental and the other 15% is in your head. Then I wait for the reaction some, and it depends how well they’re doing or not, but it is a lot of that. And I think you’ve really illustrated how important a lot of these things are from a mental standpoint to be healthy. And how if we’re putting our employees under so much stress that.

Brent: Really degradates and it just didn’t people are gonna find a new place that is less stressful. The great resignation is telling us that people would like to be stress free rather than stressful. 

Lisa: Right. Absolutely. Yeah. I hundred percent agree with you. It’s I tell people all the time it’s, if your head’s not in the game, you’re not gonna be successful.

Lisa: And you have to visualize, you have to believe that what you want to achieve will happen and really have a clear mental picture. And when you do, you can be successful. 

Brent: Lisa Hammett thank you so much for being here today at thank you. I look forward to another conversation when your book comes.

Brent: Thank 

Lisa: you so much. This has been great. I appreciate it.


  • Brent W. Peterson

    Who is Brent Peterson? Brent is a serial entrepreneur and marketing professional with a passion for running. He co-founded Wagento and has a new adventure called ContentBasis. Brent is the host of the podcast Talk Commerce. He has run 25 marathons and one Ironman race. Brent has been married for 29 years. He was born in Montana, and attended the University of Minnesota and Birmingham University without ever getting his degree.

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