Sometimes you need to say no even if it will cost you in the short term. Sometimes it is to navigate around the wrong client, to uphold a brand value such as excellence or to be better positioned for generosity.
Saying no may be greeted by others with confusion - they might be used to saying yes all the time, familiar with lowering their standards or ready to grasp any and every opportunity in front of them. They may be on a race to the bottom.
People may be intrigued by your high standards or your confidence to say no. They may not be familiar with the fear you feel when rallying people towards excellence or that gut wrenching feeling when you leave space for what needs to emerge not just what is.
If you are on a race to the top get used to saying no and embrace the opportunity found within it.