In a culture full of reasons to say no, I’ve realized it takes a lot of courage to find ways to say YES!
We’re taught to say no from a very young age. For most of us, our first word was “no” and it quickly became our favorite word. As toddlers and teenagers, we used “no” to differentiate ourselves from our parents, peers, and surroundings.
It’s how we began to control what was happening around us, or at least, how we tried to control that. It helped us over those early developmental hurdles and gave us our earliest sense of our personal boundaries—which is quite significant for such a tiny word!
The problem isn’t that “no” in and of itself is somehow bad. Indeed, giving yourself permission to say “no” as an adult can keep you out of an awful lot of trouble.
The problem is that “no” begins to take on a life of its own. And too often, that life is yours.Sara Reed, CEO Moonstone Coaching and Consulting
Life is change, and “no” becomes a way of slowing down that change, or trying to stop it altogether. It is a shield we use to protect ourselves from having to experience anything new or different. Rather than riding the wave of change into a life full of exhilarating possibilities, we use “no” as a tether to keep us safely confined to the kiddie pool.
We usually say “no” out of fear, but some fears are entirely reasonable. It’s sensible to say “no” to jumping off a bridge or “no” to cake if you are diabetic. These no’s aren’t the ones that keep us from living lives of incredible satisfaction and happiness. It’s those silly, neurotic fears like fearing rejection, looking stupid, or being wrong.
It’s the fear of commitment, the fear of speaking out, and the fear of facing our truest, deepest desires. The list is nauseatingly long, and we’ve all bought into some of these at least once. These fears have shaped our lives, often to our detriment and sometimes to the detriment of those around us.
The next time you’re faced with something new and exciting and all those little fears start rioting inside you, what does it take to fight down a “no” and lead with a yes instead?
In a word: Courage
Like the Cowardly Lion, we need to find our courage. Unlike him, we know that we have to face our fears, and find our courage within. Inside each of us beats a brave, fiercely courageous heart, willing to take on a challenge if it means that life afterward will be more authentic, happier, and freer. What better challenges to tackle than the fears that keep us chained to our tiny, boring, closeted little lives?
Do yourself a favor
Right now, identify and tackle at least one of those inner fears. Find a reason to say yes today, and every day. You’ve only your inner Cowardly Lion to lose!