Make a decision and increase your energy - Mallorca, Spain

Make a decision. Who knew that was such a direct and instant way to increase your energy? Here’s how I stumbled on that little aha earlier this week.

I was sitting at my desk, staring at my computer, allowing the cursor hover over the send button for quite a while. I wiggled it around with the mouse, I waved it back and forth, I slowly circled the bright blue button a few times, and then I slowly put my finger down until I heard and felt that little click. Off it went.

It was one of the most difficult emails I’ve sent in awhile.

Not because it contained anything particularly sensitive or confrontational.

Because it contained a “no, thank you” for something pretty amazing.

I politely, and apologetically, declined an invitation to an exclusive weeklong retreat in Spain. We’re talking about hanging out in a villa on the island of Mallorca, hiking in the mountains, eating healthy meals, and participating in what I’m sure will be a powerful experience for everyone involved.

I’d been thinking about it for at least 2 months. My wife even said I should go if I really wanted to. However, every time I thought about it, I couldn’t get myself to commit. I just couldn’t make a decision.

I hadn’t said yes, but I hadn’t said no, either. I kept myself in the middle zone between yes and no, wrestling every few days with the question of whether to stay or go, and never coming up with a definitive answer.

And then I remembered something I heard Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby, say on a podcast once about how he makes a decision when he’s faced with any invitation: “If it’s not a Hell Yeah!, then it’s a no.”

Great advice, yes?

As appealing as the retreat was, for some reason I wasn’t saying “Hell Yeah!” to it. Rather than trying to figure out why, I just let the philosophy (and my gut) run the show this time, and sent my regrets to the host of the event.

Suddenly, I felt free. Light. Happy. Happy that I turned down a week on a beautiful mediterranean paradise? Yeah, happy. Almost giddy. I just turned down what could be the retreat of a lifetime and I felt giddy about it. Still do.

That’s how much energy I was reserving by staying in that middle zone between yes and no for so long. I didn’t even realize how much that indecision was weighing me down. I certainly didn’t realize how good it would feel to say no, especially to something that seemed so potentially wonderful. And that energy I was holding back wasn’t helping me live what I consider to be a superpowered life.

Here’s what I learned from this:

  1. It’s ok — nay, MANDATORY to listen to your gut.
  2. Don’t ever be afraid to say no.
  3. Don’t wait so damn long to make a decision next time.

Hope this helps you in some way. If it did, tell me your story! Drop it in the comments below, or if you’d prefer to keep it just between you and me, drop me an email to

P.S. When I say no like this, I always say it nicely, but I say it with confidence and zero guilt. Click here to learn out how I do that.

10 replies
  1. Laura Staley
    Laura Staley says:

    Thank you for the simple brilliance of this post, Mark! Listening to my gut AKA as my intuition/instincts/inner teacher-guide and sometimes even the Universe, I discover that I make the best choices for my life and sometimes these choices are not popular with other people. I actually have done this quite a bit over the course of my life. I’ve declared “Hell, Yeah!” to experiences others would say “Heck NO!” I chose to be a full-time parent and declined teaching positions. I have a Ph.D. and taught for 5 years at a college. Yes, I said, “Hell YEAH to full time motherhood.” I faced much blow back as you can imagine from family, colleagues, and even some strangers. I was even told I wasn’t a feminist. As it turns out this choice that inspired and energized me to the core was one of the best I ever made. Being a parent continues to be the greatest blessing of my life even now that both my children are living away from home building their adult lives. Being a full-time parent challenged me and healed me. I broke myself open and set myself free. With my second child I chose a home birth. Once again, it was a “Hell Yeah!” choice that was not popular with many people who were terrified for me. I did my research and worked with experienced midwives and had a back up plan. I felt so incredibly empowered as a vibrantly healthy pregnant woman and my family celebrated the arrival of my beautiful son born in our finished basement that later flooded and opened the door to my now 17 year passion for feng shui (yet another HELL YEAH choice that was not popular with others but I found my joy, my voice and a career for a lifetime. Thank you for asking us to share our stories with you. It continues to be a bit challenging to discern just one ordinary superpower inside of me because I think I might have several. I know you have several! Keep sharing your insights, Mark!

  2. Becky Jones
    Becky Jones says:

    Thank you for this timely article, I’ve been wavering on attending a women’s retreat in September and I certainly am not in the “Hell, Yeah” frame of mind over attending. It felt more like an obligation than invitation. I’ll be sending my regrets today!

  3. Colleen
    Colleen says:

    Mark, I received an invite yesterday and knew immediately I was going to have to figure out a polite way to decline because my calendar is taking over my life and this meeting request offers me nothing but losing 90 minutes of my time at work. Your blog/email from a month ago popped into my memory — so I came here to find it again and review your tips. I just created my first Go-To No, and hit send. LIBERATING. Thank you times 1 million.


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