I was at a dinner party last weekend and bumped into a dear friend and client who is one of the most lovely, kindhearted people I know. She’s also a total bad ass at getting things done.

This incredible woman is pregnant with her third child. She’s working a full time job, remodeling her new home, and taking my Create Work You Love online course…all at the same time.

As we caught up and she told me everything she had going on, I stopped. “You’re doing a LOT right now,” I told her and continued, “You’re taking on so much.”

“You’re this far along in your pregnancy, wanting to focus on the new baby that’s about to arrive, plus working full time, plus doing a remodel (which is essentially like a part time job), AND taking an online course. Not to mention parenting the two young children you already have. That’s a lot.”

This woman, like many of you, has a huge capacity to take things on.


Just because you have the capacity to do a lot, doesn’t mean you ought to.

I see this again and again with the people I coach. If you’re a high achiever, and you’re somewhat focused and organized, you can do a lot.

People expect a lot of you. You expect a lot of yourself.

If you don’t have clear priorities and boundaries, your ability to take on so many projects can quickly become a curse.

When I emphasized how much this woman had going on, it was like a light bulb went off.

She said, “Wow, you’re right. Yeah, it is a lot. Thank you for recognizing that.”

She’d been feeling bad about not getting everything done.

Her face suddenly lit up. She felt better because simply naming how much she was doing helped her to see why she’d been feeling overwhelmed.

Now, it was clear she should be celebrating herself simply for making it out of bed each morning, let alone doing all the things she was doing!

We often don’t give ourselves enough credit.

I’ve found time and again, that I under-appreciate my own efforts by focusing on what I’m not doing well.

I feel guilty if I don’t complete all my tasks at work or if I don’t take my daughter to school every day, without recognizing all the things I am doing well each day.

Sound familiar?

But if we step back and list all the things we’re taking on, not just at work, but also at home (grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, managing our pets or children’s lives, etc.), social events, volunteering, taking classes or programs – we’d probably be amazed at ourselves!

Imagine you have a friend who is doing all the things you’re doing, but is focusing on the areas where he or she is falling short. What advice would you give her or him?

Take a moment and appreciate yourself for one thing you’re doing…right now.

Be amazed at your strength. Your capacity to be there for your friends and family members. Your ability to excel at work. That one errand you got done yesterday that no one will even know about or thank you for. That gift you remembered to purchase, that person you sent a nice thank you note to.

You’re incredible.

And give yourself permission to just say, “No” to things that don’t fill you with joy.

Skip that birthday party you don’t really want to go to, outsource your grocery shopping or delegate a smaller project at work…see if you can take on less.

Give yourself credit for all the things you’re already taking on, and give yourself permission to say, “No.”

Here’s a two-minute exercise to start giving yourself more credit:

Grant yourself a certificate of acknowledgment by filling out the form below.

Imagine a committee was going to appreciate you for everything you’re taking on, not just at work, but in your personal life as well.

It’s like writing the ultimate “To Do” list, because you’re writing down all the things you’re already doing instead of focusing on what still needs to be done.

Certificate of Acknowledgment Form:

I hereby acknowledge that __(insert name)__ is an incredible human being. She is (#1 thing you’re doing), and (#2 thing you’re doing). She’s also (#3 thing you’re doing), (#4 thing you’re doing), (#5 thing you’re doing), (#6 thing you’re doing), (#7 thing you’re doing)…..and being an overall amazing human being.

Nice Work __(insert name)__ !!!

You are incredible. We thank you for everything you’re doing. You are a total rock star.

And we give you permission to do less. Really. You can do less.

You don’t need to (example #1), or (example #2). Why don’t you let those go?

Below is my Certificate of Acknowledgment as an example – it was honestly a lot of fun to write this!

I hereby acknowledge that Vanessa Loder is an incredible human being. She is spending quality time with her children every single day, running her own business and launching new products, redesigning her website, visioning her next program, teaching two ongoing classes, speaking at top companies, buying healthy food for her children and husband, occasionally even cooking it, exercising several days a week, taking an art class, spending quality time with girlfriends, being kind and thoughtful with Leslie and other people in her life and being an overall kick ass human being. Oh, and she even remembered to buy Natalie a birthday present, thank goodness someone in the family was on top of that one.

Nice Work Vanessa!!!

You are incredible. We thank you for everything you’re doing. You are a total rock star.

And we give you permission to do less. Really. You can do less. Focus on the things you love, that bring you the most joy, and let some of the rest go. You don’t need to sell all the furniture on craigslist; you can give it away or let Brent deal with it. That’s just a silly use of your time.

I can’t wait to see yours! Add it in the comments and share it.

Feel free to be creative and make this your own! Once you start writing, you’ll be surprised by what comes up. There may be things you’re doing that you really want to be acknowledged for, and other things that you realize it’s time to take off your “to do” list.

Re-read this certificate anytime you feel run down or overwhelmed – it’s sure to put a smile on your face!

Much Love,


P.S. you’re not going to believe what just happened! (Incredible + hilarious side note.)

I was just now editing this blog, and as I got to the sentence; “give yourself permission to say ‘no’ to some things,” my phone rang.

I answered and it was a woman from my bank asking if I could take 10-12 minutes to complete a brief survey on the phone.

I laughed out loud and told her I was in the middle of writing a blog about how we should give ourselves permission to say, “No” to things, especially when we’re overwhelmed this holiday season.

I told her that clearly the Universe wanted me to say, “No” to this survey she was requesting!!

She laughed and said she completely agreed! And that I should not take her survey.

We had a good chuckle together about the situation. She wished me luck on my blog and we hung up.

Wow – talk about an example for how wonderful it can feel to say a clear, “No.”

This story illustrates the bonus piece of wisdom for you: when you make a commitment to say, “No” more often, you will be tested.

The Universe will come in with some new offer to see if you’re going to stand strong in your commitment. After you read this article, notice what you’re invited to do or participate in for the rest of the day.

There will be an opportunity for you to say, “No” to something that’s not aligned with your priorities in the next 24 hours.

When that invitation comes, stand strong and just say no!

P.P.S. And remember to share your Certificate of Acknowledgement with me when it’s done! I seriously want to hear about all you’re doing – share it in the comments below. I’ll read every single response.


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