Like many people (my fellow introverts especially!) I had a habit of saying NO to anything I wasn’t comfortable with. As a result, my life was, well, comfortable, but LIMITED!
Upon reaching adulthood, I often reassured myself that I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to. Don’t want to meet new people and be all uncomfortable and awkward? It’s ok! Stay home! They are not the boss of you! Don’t want to play the piano in front of people because you might get nervous and mess up? No problem! Don’t tell anyone you even play the piano! As a matter of fact, SELL that piano and act like it never happened!
You get the picture.
But Then Life Happens…
Good old life and its lessons. Don’t want to meet new people? Well, tough! You have kids and they need activities and socialization. And guess what? They kinda ARE the boss of you! Don’t want to play the piano in front of people? Suck it up, buttercup!
The regular pianist for the children’s class at church is sick indefinitely and… well, now everyone KNOWS you play the piano! And now you play the piano REGULARLY, in front of LOTS of people…and now those people are calling you for piano lessons! And guess what? Now you have to buy yourself a new piano and somehow head the music committee. Hah!
You get the picture.
The Power of YES!
While the ability to exercise your right to say NO is powerful in its own way, my personal experience with the power of YES has had a much greater impact on my life.
I have had many key influential people come into my life who have shifted my mindset. Instead of an automatic NO to uncomfortable things, I’ve forced myself to say YES! This doesn’t mean that I ignore my instincts to prevent violating my personal boundaries and code of ethics. It simply means that I choose to see opportunity where I once saw obstacles.
Free Your Mind…
…And the rest will follow. When I was asked by a close friend several years ago why I wasn’t using my passion for interior design to build a business, I didn’t have a good answer. That felt lame, and anything BUT powerful! So, I started my business and have been happily building ever since! I’ve had the opportunity to be DEEPLY uncomfortable and insecure and scared of failure. BUT I also discovered that those feelings were not capable of killing me, nor would they even stick around long enough to be debilitating.
I am now one of the leaders in my professional organization, and OFTEN have the pleasure of meeting new people in the form of clients, business partners, mentors, and colleagues. Nearly every experience is new and unfamiliar! I was telling a fellow design colleague yesterday how I almost said NO to the the board position for which she had nominated me. I explained my historic discomfort with meeting new people and doing new things that I wasn’t sure I was qualified to do. She just stared at me and shook her head and said, “Wow! I don’t see that in you AT ALL! I would’ve NEVER thought that about you!” This made me smile, because I knew for sure that I was there entirely because I’d ignored my NO and chosen YES instead!