Saying No to the Swimsuit Edition

Have you somehow managed to escape hearing the news that Kate Upton is the newest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover model? This is one of the most coveted honors in the modeling world. They say it can catapult a model’s career to new heights. It can make previous “unknowns” the new “IT GIRL.”

I’ve subscribed to Sports Illustrated (SI) for many years. I read it voraciously. I watch my mailbox on Thursdays like a hawk, eagerly anticipating its arrival. I’ve signed up for the electronic version on my eReader, so that when I’m traveling, it comes to me.

I do NOT, however, elect to receive the annual Swimsuit Edition. So they extend my annual subscription by one more week. See, I actually read the magazine for the – get this – SPORTS COVERAGE! The swimsuit edition doesn’t actually cover much of anything (and I’ll stop there) …

When is the last time YOU said “no” to something? As a consumer? As a professional? Maybe even in your personal life?

How long did it take you to answer those questions? If longer than a few seconds, then perhaps it’s been too long.

I participated in Steven Covey training many years ago on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit #3 – Put First Things First; Covey even wrote an entire book on this particular habit. My biggest takeaway related to this habit has changed the way I manage priorities ever since. (You could say it’s become a habit for me!)

Here’s the nugget: Saying NO to one thing means saying YES to something else.

I found that concept incredibly empowering! When I could articulate to myself what I was saying “yes” to, then it became much easier to say “no” when needed. My priorities become clear to me in these situations.

For me, it’s not difficult to say NO to the SI Swimsuit Edition and YES to another week of actual sports content. It was much more difficult at work a couple of years ago to walk away from a change project when the sponsors were disengaged and clearly not investing themselves into the work.

At that time, I didn’t know if it would come back to haunt me, but I had many competing initiatives I elected to proceed with instead. It was a risky move, but I made it anyway.

What chances have you taken? How do you manage your priorities? I’d love to hear from you.

Betsy Winkler is a Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter at @BetsyWinkler1 or on email at