As a woman in leadership or an emerging leader, the holiday season can bring about unique challenges. Balancing personal and professional responsibilities can be overwhelming, but it’s essential to maintain authenticity in your leadership role. In this article, we’ll explore why it’s crucial for women in leadership to know when to say no during the holidays, strategies for doing so, specific examples, and where to start.

Why is This Important for Your Leadership and Life?

Authentic leadership means staying true to your values and priorities, even during the hectic holiday season. Saying no strategically allows you to protect your well-being and focus on what truly matters, both personally and professionally. It helps you maintain your authenticity by aligning your actions with your values and leadership style.

Strategies for Saying No During the Holidays

  1. Consider the Consequences: Before saying yes to any holiday commitments, reflect on the potential consequences. How will it affect your desired holiday experience, the people you want to spend time with, and the critical areas of your life? This thoughtful assessment empowers you to make informed decisions.
  2. Define Your Desired Holiday Experience: Take inspiration from the Huna philosophy and define your ideal holiday experience. Think about what you genuinely want to feel and achieve during this season. For example:
    • Experience gratitude
    • Feel love for yourself and others
    • Build deeper connections with loved ones
    • Prioritize meaningful moments over commercialism
    • Spend quality time with cherished people
    • Prioritize holistic well-being (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical)
  3. Identify Your “Engines” and “Anchors”: Recognize the people in your life who either uplift or weigh you down. Prioritize spending time with your “engines” – those who fuel your personal and professional growth. While you may not always have a choice about spending time with “anchors,” create buffers of positive interactions with “engine” individuals to counterbalance any negativity.
  4. Focus on One Critical Area: Given the complexity of life, choose one essential area to focus on during the holidays. It could be your health and fitness, family, career, or relationships. Trying to excel in every aspect can lead to stress, so concentrate your efforts on what matters most at the moment.

Where to Start: Taking Action

Now that you have a clear understanding of why and how to say no during the holidays, it’s time to take action:

  1. Make a List: Create a list of holiday commitments and invitations you’ve received.
  2. Reflect on Your Desired Experience: Review the list while considering your desired holiday experience and the people you want to spend time with.
  3. Prioritize: Identify which commitments align with your goals and values and prioritize them.
  4. Practice Saying No: Politely decline commitments that don’t align with your priorities. You don’t need to offer elaborate explanations; a simple “I appreciate the invitation, but I won’t be able to attend” is sufficient.
  5. Schedule Time for What Matters: Proactively schedule time with the people who uplift you, and ensure you dedicate time to your chosen critical area of focus.

A Call to Action

As a woman in leadership or an emerging leader, your authenticity is your strength. This holiday season, make a conscious effort to say no when necessary, align your actions with your values, and create a holiday experience that reflects your true self.

Remember, by saying no strategically, you can reduce stress and prioritize what truly matters, benefiting both your leadership and personal life. Find more insights and strategies for authentic leadership at

Wishing you a holiday season filled with the clarity and authenticity you deserve!