I embarked on a business venture with a skin care line back in May which lasted all of 48 hours before I bailed. I’d struggled with whether or not it was the right move for me for several weeks before committing and in the end I wound up taking a giant leap of yes, because I had just finished Rhime’s book that I talk about in first post on yes and I figured I didn’t have anything to lose by joining the business. Thing is, I didn’t feel right about the gains either. Not one bit. A few hours into my new venture I realized I wasn’t operating in a way that felt congruent to my most core beliefs and I couldn’t continue on a journey selling people a product I wasn’t wildly passionate about. So I up and shut the whole thing down by saying a big enormous no to something that very well could have been one of my seven strains of income and the rest is history because as it turns out, I was really saying yes to a deep desire to be fully aligned with my most core beliefs. My true self.
When I delved into the concept of yes-ing: which is essentially a step towards allowing ourselves to take full advantage of the opportunities to thrive, some readers weren’t overly thrilled about the idea, particularly those who work diligently to maintain healthy boundaries for themselves by using the sacred no. I wasn’t suggesting people shouldn’t have boundaries, no not at all; they are absolutely critical for everyone’s well being. But what I do believe is that when you’re handing over a no on certain things, what you’re actually issuing is a mighty YES to something else.
Lemme break it down for ya’ll.
Let’s say you’ve kind of always had a deep seeded desire to live dangerously on the edge and you’re asked to hold for a random acquaintance. Stay with me. Chances are it’s not going to to feel entirely right to you, even though you know it could be a super exciting opportunity trying not to get caught, and you know that there is some quick cash waiting for you on the other side, and you’ve also never done anything like this in your life, so it’d make you feel a bit bad-ass to take advantage of something completely out of the ordinary. Deep down it probably doesn’t feel super good to you, so chances are you’re going to say no to the weird acquaintance and go weed your garden instead. Now, technically you have said no to something that could make a hilariously awesome story in a few years, when you remember back to that time you did something so unlike you, but that’s the point, really. It’s so unlike you because it doesn’t align with your core beliefs. So in actuality what you have done is gone ahead and said yes to something in your life that you hold more important, like, say, your moral compass.
There’s nothing wrong with maintaining your personal boundaries.
Now suppose you are a hard core vegan who has never handled a firearm in your life and you’ve always wanted to shoot pop bottles when suddenly your buddies invite you out for a beer guzzling hunting trip. You know that shooting a gun is on your bucket list and now you have the opportunity to do so. Awesome. But hold on a sec, killing an innocent animal goes against your belief system because it’s so-not-you. I’d venture to say you’re going to take a pass on the trip with your bros and look into booking some time in a shooting range instead. See, you haven’t said no to an incredibly awesome weekend, you’ve said yes to honouring your beliefs whilst finding a way to make your bucket list a reality.
See, most nos are probably yes’ in disguise, especially if “the thing” doesn’t align with your core values.
It’d be like when your boss asks you do a gazillion more things that are kind of exciting and could advance your career, but you say no so that you can focus on the career jetting stuff you’ve already got going on and ensure you get your quality 6 hours of sleep each night. Sure, it’s a boundary you’re sustaining with your employer, but it’s an even bigger YES to the chance that the stuff you’ve currently got on the go is going to produce results too.
Butttttt: if on the other hand you’ve been dying to try public speaking and someone offers you the chance to hold a mic and address a crowd, that’s a big freaking YES waiting to occur. Even if your brain is saying no because you’re shy or worried you’ll eff up, at your very core you probably know it’s the right thing to do, even if it’s really scary at first, because it’s something that completely aligns with who you are and what you’re all about. The same would be true for joining a slow pitch team. If it’s been on your bucket list and a neighbour mentions they’re starting a team and need another player, but you’re freaking out because you’re not an athlete, the chance is there for you to seize it. So do.
Saying yes is all about maintaining your boundaries, but also expanding them at the same time. So by all means, have boundaries because you will feel a million times healthier if you have some that you can maintain. But know that just because you’re declining one thing, it probably really means you’re just really psyched about another that totally gets your mojo going and is representative of the awesomest version of who you really are.
Bottom line, folks: if the thing you’re invited to do doesn’t align with your core values, then say yes to something more fitting like that tap dance class or hitting send on that scintillating text.
Xo, unleighshed potential