A few weeks ago I spent time purging my closet. It happened as a result of reading Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism.

In the book there is a powerful quote from the late Peter Drucker, “People are effective because they say ‘no,’ because they say, ‘this isn’t for me.'”

As I worked in the closet, I kept saying ‘no’ to item after item … several times out loud. I knew it was weird when I turned and saw my wife watching. Her question, “Are you talking to your clothes?,” was a bit disturbing, but it didn’t slow me down. I prevailed, and the closet is much better.

But there is another closet. It’s my leadership closet, and if I’m honest, it is a bit cluttered as well. Cluttered with demands on my time, and littered with ideas for resources I will never have time to produce.

The leadership closet is relentless, always demanding more than I have the capacity to deliver.

I love McKeown’s words, “The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default.” 

Design means eliminating more than you add. It requires a leader to carefully consider the ramifications of saying yes. And the affects are always more than time. There are emotional and physical tolls to be paid when we say yes to everything. We also dilute our effectiveness when we water down our leadership.

Is it time for you to declutter your leadership closet? As you prepare for a new month spend time designing the life you want, refusing to give in to, “this is just the way it is,” thinking.

If you want to go to another level it will require saying no to default mode and yes to designing the life you want.


What is one thing you need to eliminate during the coming month?

Author: Randy

Randy is an author, speaker, executive coach, and the CEO of InteGREAT Leadership. He invests his time encouraging leaders around the world.