Words We Heard: ‘It’s okay to say no.’

Growth and self-discovery have become actively important to my personal life as I have begun to enter the working world. I find it extremely hard to take a step back to think about whether a goal I have is truly in my best interest and contributes to my growth or if I’m doing it to check another box. It can be discouraging to analyze areas of improvement for ourselves, but it doesn’t have to be. It takes a lot of confidence and will to change yourself. Dealing with constructive criticism is the first step – something that I am still working on. While I am often my biggest critic, it is impactful to have others critique my work and actions, not out of spite, but to aide in the growth I’m striving for.

How can one expect to become the best they can be without a supportive, open-minded environment? Surround yourself with those who push and inspire you, even if that means pointing out your flaws every now and then.


  • “It’s okay to say no. I bet even Mother Teresa once said no. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and freaking out, check in with yourself; are you actually doing the work that you want to do? We all need to take a good, hard look at ourselves and ask, ‘Am I working because I want to? Am I working because I’m being productive? Or am I just working on these tasks because they just so happened to land on my desk?’” –Tess Robinson, owner and creative director of Smack Bang Designs, in an article on Girlboss
  • “In my opinion, the more diverse and interesting your background, the more interesting your community will be. And we have so many interesting people. The more we tap into that and share those things, the more appreciative we can be of each other.” –Justin Williams, senior editor at Cincinnati Magazine, in his article “The Impact of Immigration on Local Public Schools”
  • "When you are lucky enough to get an interview, you are now competing against a number of equally qualified and talented candidates. If you really want the job, you have no choice but to show why you are the absolute very best candidate." –Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide, in an article on Refinery29
  • “These women are our daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends. They are not second-class citizens who don’t deserve a second chance at community reintegration.” –Viann Barnett, Off the Streets director, in an article by Movers & Makers Cincinnati
  • “Effective women entrepreneurs are always improving themselves. They are always learning new things and creating personal growth. Many have life coaches, read constantly, and are always looking for new ways to broaden their own mental horizons.” –Monika Beck, web designer and entrepreneur, in an article on She Owns It