One of the more difficult lessons for me growing up and in my career was the ability to say No with confidence. I tried for so many years to not make others feel bad or to not feel guilty because I told someone No. I felt like I was letting them down. The truth is that I always wanted to be liked. I wanted to be liked by my friends, by my family, by my coworkers, and everyone I met. It was a huge mistake and it took me what felt like an eternity to understand what #self-love meant and how to stop being a people pleaser.
Then I came across this book titled “The year of yes” by Shonda Rhimes and it totally changed my perspective. Not that I am saying yes to everyone who asks for a favor or money or my time, but saying yes to myself. Saying yes to self-growth, to acquiring new skills, to taking on new challenges, to fresh ideas, and discoveries that get you out of your comfort zone and helps you grow.
These are often the yes you are scared about, the one that gives you butterflies in the stomach and the one that you know, in the end, will make you into a new person once you get to the other side of fear. Some of the new things I started saying yes to and encourage you to try include:
- Me time
- Talking to strangers
- Listening to my body
- Different foods
- Joining Toastmaster to lose my fear of Public Speaking
- Date Nights
A few years ago, my lovely partner planned a trip to Europe in which we were going to visit 4 countries and a few cities and I went to Paragon to get measured for my first backpack….OK, the look of horror in my face was visible and everyone around me was active and excited to try on new equipment and shit. I was horrified, I was used to going to all-inclusive resorts and lay by the beach pretty much the entire trip (no kidding here!). I had nightmares about the pain in my back from this stupid bag pack and the hassle of folding my clothes so tightly to make sure it all fits. I can tell you that this trip changed my life and I no longer need the luxury of fancy hotels and the beach like I used to.
We visited Rome, Florence, and Venice in Italy, Munich in Germany, Wroclaw and Warsaw in Poland (Post pic is from Poland), and Prague in the Czech Republic. I was able to meet more people and learn way more about their culture by staying with locals than any hotel can provide me. Hotels are full of tourists anyways so what can you expect to learn there? Anyways, not complaining and not judging anyone here… Just showing you how trying something new led me to discover things I could never find otherwise.
The funny thing is that in the workplace, man say yes to new positions and promotions even when they have no clue on how they are going to accomplish it. Women, on the other hand, worry sssoooo much about their skills and failing and their need to learn more before saying yes to big promotions. I have seen it happen around me in the technology field.
This year I said yes to the CIO title, and guess what … I was scared and doubtful but that only lasted a few minutes until I became the guardian I know I need to be and pushed the thoughts to the garbage and replaced them with my positive affirmations and daily meditation. I am not perfect and I don’t have all the answers but you can be damn right I will find a way to get them.
A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows in that space. Be brave and step out and join me in saying YES!