The Power of Saying No

by Lauri

With Simone Biles all over the news for having stepped back from competing in recent Olympic events, I’ve been thinking about a public speaking workshop participant from years ago. 

In the midst of experiencing a lot of sensation at the front of the room, this young woman stopped speaking and doubled over. 

I bent over next to her and said, “We will honor what you want truly want in this moment.” I then asked, “Considering what’s happening for you, what does your highest self want to do right now.”

She responded, “I want to sit back down.”

I said, “Ok.” And she took her seat in the audience.

In that moment, my heart ached for her. I so deeply wanted her to know that she could do it. That she was enough. 

And yet, in my Soul, I knew the right choice was to honor her decision. 

A year later I ran into her again. She was speaking in public with an infectious, embodied confidence. She was alive from head-to-toe and hugging the room with her energy. And guess what? She credited that moment where she said no to the exercise and sat back down as the catalyst that sparked her transformation. 

Sometimes the most empowering thing we can do is to say no. 

It’s particularly beautiful when that “no” is honored. 

Simone Biles has demonstrated a heroic ability to defy the laws of physics. She has done things with her body that no one else has ever done. She’s won gold medal after gold medal. And … 

Saying “no” may just be the most courageous thing she has ever done. 

Simone Biles, you are a unique and beautiful soul. We see you. We hear you. We respect you – and your decision. 

Thank you for embodying the full range of courage with so much grace. 


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