Why I say 'no' to awesome things

Today I was connected to a brilliant scientist. She was looking to compile her lifetime of atmospheric research into a book.

Pretty cool, right?

As we talked, it became more and more clear that she was looking for a ghostwriter.

Nearly every part of me wanted to say yes.

Her passion for her work was infectious, I could tell how important this work/book was to her. I knew that working with her would be exhilarating, challenging, and deeply rewarding.

I took a deep breath and turned down the project.

To the outside, this might look like a really stupid thing to do. Even on the inside I carried a fair amount of doubt.

But, when I said ‘no’ and hung up the phone, I felt lighter.

I knew that the days/weeks/months spent adopting her voice would eclipse mine.


I only have a certain number of words each day. I’ve given those words away to other people and companies and causes before and the result is always a net-negative. Even if the output is stellar, I go to bed with a heavy heart knowing that I’ve spent another day telling someone else’s story.

I must protect my words.

Today, tomorrow, and always.

Tell me, what must you protect?