How to Create Work-Life Balance By Saying "Heck, Yes!"A few days ago, I was waffling on whether or not to take on some work a prospect wants us to handle.

While the work would be exciting, the day-to-day contact has already been high-maintenance. The budget would be game-changing, but the quality of life for my team and me would be almost nil. 

You can see why I kept going back and forth.

And then I saw a livestream my friend Kevin Kermes hosted for his community.

He started it off by saying, “If it’s not a heck yes, it’s a no.”

Couple that with the advice I’d give any of my coaching clients and I knew it was time to stop waffling and take action.

I’ve gotten a bit philosophical on you the past few weeks, but I believe we’re at a time in our lives—because of everything we’ve experienced since last March—that we have the opportunity to reset our priorities and refuse to get back on the hamster wheel of the pre-pandemic. 

I have a girlfriend who said to me, “Can you believe we used to get on planes every week and run ourselves ragged? Never doing that again.”

Nope, me either.

What’s Missing In Work-Life Balance

An article in Entrepreneur magazine talks about what’s missing from the conversation about work-life balance.

It talks about what’s missing from the conversation about work-life balance is the need for self-prioritization in goal setting, work, productivity, and the desire to optimize one’s life.

The author goes on to say that there are three reasons why making yourself a priority is the key and foundation to achieving work-life balance: burnout stems from a lack of excitement for what you’re pursuing; the “work” part of work-life balance can’t overtake your identity; you’ll get more done when you work from a place of being complete. 

Now think about that from the perspective of going back to “normal” and getting back on the hamster wheel of running ourselves ragged.

If we are to optimize our lives, can we go back to pre-pandemic workstyles? I think not…it’s definitely not a “heck yes!” for me.

But I also recognize that I am massively type A, which means my inability to say no is a trap for people like me—we overcommit and then we take the brunt of it, which is bad for our health, for our relationships, for our colleagues, and for our businesses.

“Heck, Yes!” Lives In An Absolute

Kevin has this to say, “‘Heck yes’ lives as an absolute. Not ‘yes, but…’ No matter how crafty your brain gets with it. It’s simple. It’s binary. And…It’s OK to be ‘no.’ The universe gives you what you are, not what you want.”

The universe gives you what you are, not what you want.


So if I waffle on working with a client that I already know will be a pain in my rear and then I do it anyway, the universe gives me that pain in the butt client in spades.

And I deserve that.

But if I walk away from the prospective business, it might pain me to say no to the budget, but the universe rewards me for being true to myself and my priorities.

Likewise, if you have a situation where work-life balance will be interrupted or your new pandemic priorities are put into question or you just can’t bring yourself to say no, think about whether or not it’s a “heck yes!”

If it’s not, figure out how to say no.

Suspend Reality For a Minute

Let’s talk about how you can work only in your absolute yes’s and get away from your nos.

I’m going to caveat this by saying I know there are plenty of reasons you might not be able to say no: you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, you don’t want to look like a jerk, you need the income, you might get fired, you could lose a friend, or myriad other reasons. 

What I’d like you to do is set aside all of those things for a few minutes.

When I worked at FleishmanHillard, we were taught how to brainstorm as a team. I will always remember the rules:

  • No idea is bad
  • Always respond with “yes, and…”
  • Pretend budget is not an object
  • Bring your best ideas

I’d like you to do the same here…suspend reality for just a few minutes and let’s think about what your heck yes life looks like.

The life where you come first in goal setting, in work, in productivity, and in the desire to make your life better.

Create Three Lists

The first thing you can easily do, really without even suspending reality, is to look at the list of things you need to accomplish.

I had a business coach who made me do this.

He had me split the list into three:

  1. Things I was really excited about and only I could do
  2. Things that had to get done but didn’t excite me
  3. Things that made me cringe

You can take that same approach: what’s on the list that you’re excited about and what makes you cringe?

Move the cringe-worthy list to the side.

You’ll come back to it later. Keep the list of things that excite you front and center. 

Incorporate Plenty of You Time

Now look at that list and see if you have things on there that fulfill you.

For me, that would be riding my bike (and hitting my goals), working on recipes in my kitchen, doing creative work with my kid, working on home projects, and being in the garden.

Notice none of these things has anything to do with work, but that’s because the list of things that excite me is only work-related.

I had to add in the personal stuff.

You may be the opposite or you may already have a good mix.

Just make sure your list is as exciting as possible for every aspect of your life.

Being able to say “heck yes!” to every part of your life means there has to be a good balance.

Many of us were forced to create that balance when everything shut down and now is the time to focus on keeping the aspects of it that you really loved—dinners together, no screen time during family time, family movie nights, long-distance Zoom happy hours, and more.

Saying “heck yes!” means incorporating plenty of you time. 

Have More “Heck, Yes!” Days

Now that you have your list, schedule time on your calendar to do the things that excite you.

I have to actually put an appointment on the calendar and I don’t allow myself to move it.

I know that’s very type A of me so do what works for you. 

The point is to have more “heck yes!” days and say no to everything else that doesn’t excite you (within reason, of course…I don’t want you to get fired).

Now I’m off to tell that prospect we won’t be working with them.

Heck, yes!

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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