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Monthly Archives:March 2016


Learn To Say No

Sometimes the only thing that gets me through my week is knowing that I have one or two days coming up that are all to myself. I try to keep these days free from interruption so I can recharge. The daily grind can wear on you to the point where you need an entire day to get your mind and body right.  Most of the time, that second day off ends up full of errands before you start all over again. Instead of living like this until your next two week vacation, you can lessen the daily load by setting priorities and incorporating “no” into your vocabulary.

As a lifelong people pleaser, learning to say no is one of the biggest things I struggle with. It is easy to spread yourself thin if you say yes to everyone. The daily stressors that we all have become exponentially larger the more we put on ourselves. Your boss asks if you can pick up a shift on the weekend, a family member asks you to house sit while they are on vacation, or a friend needs help moving. With every choice there is an opportunity cost associated with it.  For me, the minor inconvenience is well worth it because of the peace of mind of the person I’m helping. These types of actions are similar to deposits and withdrawals you would make in a bank account.

The Relationship Bank Account is simple way to imagine how strong a relationship is. Close friends and family have a great relationship with the bank, so they can make larger withdrawals than a normal relationship because they have a long history of deposits and withdrawals. You aren’t worried about them possibly not returning the favor and allowing you to make a withdrawal in the future. Family and friends aren’t usually the problem when it comes to added daily stress and anxiety, because you enjoy helping them regardless of the favor. The relationships you should keep track of are the everyday acquaintance, coworker, boss, or friend of a friend.  

I’m not the type of person who is comfortable asking for help. I’d rather take four trips to a new place to move in, instead of asking to borrow someone’s truck. So when I start to do favors for people outside of my close relationship group, I can sense my relationship bank account with that person start to go into the red. This is where saying “no” becomes vital.

When you start to feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety or stress, you should start checking your relationship bank accounts and see which ones are in the red and which ones have the most activity. These relationships are no longer “profitable” for you or even worth keeping open. The weight you carry around from these have a significant effect on your happiness. Saying “no” to negative relationships, and even positive relationships sometimes, especially when you feel overwhelmed doesn’t make you a bad person. Your overall happiness is ultimately what’s most important. Your loved ones should understand and want that for you. If you feel the need to explain your reason for declining a request, tell the truth and say that you have too much on your plate at the moment. If you say no to the frequent negative balance relationships, you will notice that they stop coming to you for answers, problems, or errands.

There is a blog post by Derek Sivers called “Hell Yeah”. In it, he explains that you should only say yes to things that you are excited about. Everything else only drains your energy. Work is typically related to an activity we don’t want to do. When you enjoy what you are doing, you won’t work another day in your life. It takes time to get to the point where you can afford to say “no”. You’d be amazed at how much energy you have when you are doing things you actually enjoy.

Tanner LaBelle

Master Your Goals With One Easy Trick

You become like the five people you spend the most time with.
This is something that was stressed to me when I was younger but I think as we grow up, we forget this important piece of advice. We get comfortable with the daily routine and get used to doing the same behaviors over and over. For most of us, we spend most of our time with coworkers and other people who are already a part of our daily routine. This can be good if you enjoy the people you work with and they are like-minded, with similar passions in life.  If for some reason you aren’t the biggest fan of your coworkers, then you need to make time in your week to create a friend group that is passionate about achieving goals that can help each other with roadblocks and struggles.


The best thing I’ve done for myself in the last 3 years is making time every couple of weeks to have a conversation with my friends about our current goals. This isn’t a formal meeting. It typically is accompanied with some type of causal activity, such as board games, golf, video games, or dinner. You can pick any activity that you enjoy as long as there can be room for conversation. Sharing your dreams, goals, downfalls, and triumphs can be difficult. It would be easier to just have a few drinks, get rowdy, and try to forget about the stresses of the day. This sounds fun, but will only give you short term relief from anxiety and stress.


The minor stress you may have from expressing your goals and dreams will help eliminate future stresses and anxiety. Verbalizing your dreams and goals and getting feedback from your friends will do a few things for you:

  • Help you hold yourself accountable for your action steps
  • Give you constructive criticism
  • Offer ways to help
  • Help you understand exactly what you want from life

The type of stress that creates positive change in your life is called eustress. In order to make positive changes in your life you have to make a habit of creating eustress and eliminate distress. Distress is the stress associated with anxiety, pain, and sorrow. If your current group of friends have a different path or outlook on life, that’s ok.  You can find like-minded people online very easily.


These groups are called Mastermind Groups. Mastermind groups are like-minded people with common goals. They meet in person, over skype, in chat rooms, or on other meeting software. The meetings are usually structured to make sure time is not wasted and everyone benefits. A mastermind typically looks like this:



  • Each member talks about progress they’ve made on their goals from the previous meetings.


  • One of the members will talk about their issues, questions, concerns, and other experiences they have encountered while working towards their goal. Other members respond and give feedback to the discussion based on their experiences and knowledge.


  • Each member comes up with a list of things they are going to achieve by the next Mastermind Meeting. One of the members is chosen to share their experiences for the next meeting so they can be ready.


You can create a Mastermind Group with your current group of friends, like I have done. If you don’t think your friends would be interested in a Mastermind Group, you can find like-minded people on sites like meetup.com. Facebook, Craigslist or other social media sites are also great resources to meet people.

The path to self betterment is lined with the people you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with idiots and you seem smart. Surround yourself with intelligent people and you’ll become one of them.

Tanner LaBelle

The Best Use For Awareness Bands

Awareness bracelets have been around since the mid 2000s. They are the silicone bracelets that are linked to organizations or causes that the wearer supports. The most recognizable of these would be the Livestrong bracelets. I personally wear my own awareness band that has the word BECOME on it. I use it as a reminder to myself more than anything to keep me focused on my goals. What do I want to become? Am I becoming the best version of myself? It helps me be conscious of my mindset, my actions, and ambitions. While listening to the Tim Ferriss Podcast I was introduced to a self development exercise that I believe is the best use for the bracelets we wear everyday.

I’ve learned that one of the most valuable things I can do to increase my daily happiness is to be grateful. Being grateful means to be content with the things you have and avoid focusing on the things you don’t. I try to change my mindset when I’m heading to work. If I notice that my inner monologue is telling me that I hate my job, my bosses don’t understand how to manage effectively, or I dread being around a co-worker; I shift my thought process to what i’m grateful for. This job I have is paying my bills, I enjoy it more than my previous jobs, I’m making more money, and I’m can be active when I’m there.

I would consider cynicism the opposite of gratefulness. Cynicism is having an attitude of selfishness. This can be seen in people’s attitudes when everything that happens in their day has  a direct impact on them. Long line at the coffee stand?


“Oh my god, I’m going to be late for work because all of these people are taking for ever. How hard is it to make coffee?”


“Man, it must be stressful for these baristas trying to make coffee for all of these people. I’m sure they are getting a lot of attitude from the impatient customers.”

Cynicism is what we need to focus on avoiding and gratefulness is what we are striving for. Late Night TV host Conan O’Brien had a great quote when he left the show amidst some controversy:


“Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism – it’s my least favorite quality, and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”


This is one of my favorite quotes. I’ve never seen a successful or happy person that doesn’t live a lifeof gratefulness.  It can be difficult to be conscious of your mindset and that’s where the awareness bands come into play.

The Grateful Week


Begin a journey of gratefulness.

How to track it:

If you feel like you’re having a bad day or a bad attitude and it weighs on you to the point where you can’t shake it, take the band and put it on your opposite wrist. Once you switch your band, it stays there for the rest of the day. This doesn’t mean you failed. It will bring your attention to your band and remind you to change your mental attitude for the day.


The goal is go the whole week without transferring the band.


Don’t get discouraged if you fall asleep with your band on the wrong wrist at night. Like most things in life, this is a process. It takes time and effort to change the way you think about things. Start by teaching yourself how to be aware and conscious of when and why you are having negative thoughts. Having that awareness is the first step in creating a habit of positive, grateful thinking.



Tanner LaBelle