Last year I read a book called Essentialism and it was one of my favorite reads of the year. You might remember it from my list of 10 Best Books I Read in 2015.


I have chronic trouble with making decisions and this book brought things into Claritin-like focus for me. What Soul Keeping by John Ortberg did for my inner life, Essentialism by Greg McKeown did for my outer life – my calendar, commitments, and work-flow objectives.

I don’t know if it just came at the right time or caught me in a perfect magic storm of fatigue, purpose, and motivation, but the book helped me understand and decide what is essential and what is not.

As a result, I’ve said no to a lot of things this year. The more I say no, the easier no becomes. And a stronger no leads to a more obvious yes.

Work By Design

Several months ago, I received an email from Claire Diaz-Ortiz asking me if I could spare 60-minutes for a Skype interview with her.

By itself, that would be something easy for me to say no to. But it was what she said about the interview that made it an absolute yes for me.

Basically, she told me she was working on something called Work By Design. Here are her words in the email to me about it:

“It’s all about stepping back and focusing on what I really care about: banning busy and developing a work life of true purpose, productivity, and profit. It’s a journey, and I’m on it.”

Her ask was for me to take part in a “big, fun, virtual summit” in honor of the launch of her course and I was immediately in. I’m learning the language of my own yeses, and they tend to speak with excitement, not dread.

So I emailed Claire back and said this:

“I’ve basically been saying no to almost every request I get these days as I have been practicing the spiritual discipline of listening to my life (thank you, Parker Palmer) and paying attention to what makes me come most fully alive.

But your description of this has me all woohoo! Which tells me yes, yes I would love to do the Skype interview, absolutely.

Love the idea of your do less method – my favorite book last year was Essentialism by Greg McKeown and it sounds like your thoughts would sing well with his.”

I literally cut and pasted my response so forgive my weird English.

I’m telling you all of this because the next thing that happened is that Claire is all oh yeah, Greg McKeown is my mentor and Essentialism was my favorite book of 2015 too and I’ve been learning from him in person for the past year (that’s my paraphrase) and I’m all OF COURSE YOU HAVE.

So basically one of my favorite reads of 2015 influenced Claire and inspired her to create something essential of her own. When she asked me to be part of it, the yes was easy.

As it turns out, I’m not the only one who thought so.

Here are some more people you might recognize who are also taking part in the big, fun, virtual summit:

  • Jon Acuff
  • Tsh Oxenreider
  • Jeff Goins
  • Mary DeMuth
  • Ally Fallon
  • Chris Guilleabeau
  • Brian J. Dixon
  • Whitney English
  • Alli Worthington
  • Jessica Turner
  • Amy Lynn Andrews
  • Donald Miller

There’s a lot more (as in 35 more) but you get the idea.

Today you can sign up to get access to over 50 conversations Claire had about purpose, productivity, and profitability in our work and lives – and it’s free for a limited time.

I personally can’t wait to hear what these smart, innovative people have to say about their work and I thought some of you would like to as well.

My interview with Claire will be live at 8 pm Wednesday May 18. Simply sign up here for access to the Work By Design Summit during May 17 – 25.

Here’s to finding our brave yes and our strong no in our work and in our lives. I hope this free summit helps you with that.