Saying 'No'

Jul 1, 2024

Scott Lamson, a Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Advisor and a Global Sports and Entertainment Director, explains why learning how and when to say “no” is a critical skill for any professional athlete.

Hosted by Chris Evert



Welcome to Episode 10 of What Moves You, an audio miniseries from Morgan Stanley in support of the WTA. I’m Chris Evert.

In this set of episodes with Morgan Stanley private wealth advisor, Scott Lamson, we’re looking at how you set yourself up as the CEO of your own business, and build a professional organization to support you through your whole career.



Hi I'm Scott Lamson and I'm a Morgan Stanley private wealth advisor and a Global Sports and Entertainment Director.


As tennis players, we get many offers for all sorts of opportunities. I would get invites for speaking engagements, charity appearances, investment options, all sorts of things. I wanted to do it all, but I couldn't. And it took me a long time to learn how to say no.



It is a skill to say no. But it can be hard, especially for young athletes… because you'’re excited, you want to learn, you want to grow your career. Initially it feels very uncomfortable to say no and worse, you feel like you'’re going to miss out on something. And that sense of FOMO that my colleague Nadine calls out in episode 2 is very real, and it goes beyond the temptation to just buy yourself something fancy.

Sometimes it'’s difficult to say no because so many people are going to be friendly with you. And I'’ve definitely seen players get caught up in the wrong crowd, or the wrong network. And so they start getting shown bad deals, just objectively bad investment deals. And a common thing you'’ll see from fraudsters is trying to get you to act quickly on an investment opportunity or an investment idea. And we tell our athletes, look, there are plenty of investment and business opportunities. Take your time, move slowly, and move at your own pace. There will always be other opportunities. If someone is forcing you to move quickly, it doesn'’t always mean that something'’s wrong, but it’s one of the potential areas for fraud, and so be aware of this red flag.

Saying no can be very hard, even for experienced  athletes. You want to appear very positive. So you can be the good cop. Let your team, whether it'’s your agent or your financial advisor, be the bad cop. And that could be whether it'’s a charitable request, a request for your time to show up somewhere, or for a meeting or for an appearance, or if it'’s an investment opportunity. You can always say, “Hey, I'’m super excited, and I'’m interested, thank you for sharing this with me. I need to check with my team. Here'’s who you should follow up with,” and then let your team members be the bad cop for you.

Remember, on some level, the whole point of money is to free you up. It means you can do what you want, when you want, where you want, and with whomever you want. And so as you get older, and if you have the fortune of having a family, and that family grows, and your career is advancing, and you have more business interests, time is what really becomes a very, very, valuable asset. And so the ability to say no becomes one of the most important skills to have.


Thanks for listening. We hope this What Moves You series is just the beginning of your journey as you learn how to build a business around your tennis career.


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Success on the court can come with unexpected and overwhelming requests for your time, your voice and your money. Learning how to navigate them is key to your business.


Finding success in tennis often means saying yes to new challenges but saying “no” is as important, especially when it comes to your time and your money. Scott Lamson, a Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Advisor and a Global Sports and Entertainment Director, explains why learning how and when to say “no” is a critical skill for any professional athlete.

Listen to More

Check out more What Moves You audio episodes with Chris Evert, or listen to other Morgan Stanley podcasts.