Say “yes” More Often!

My last post was about choosing the harder of two options and how rewarding it can be. Trying to say “yes” more was also a guideline I adopted around the same timeline which has paid off in dividends. People say “no” to a lot of things for many different reasons. No time to do it, no money, no desire but I think one of the biggest reasons that people say no is out of fear. Fear that they won’t be able to complete it, won’t be good at it, will make a fool of themselves, will get hurt trying it, or the worst one of all, an irrational fear not based on reality. Irrational fears are just as real and powerful as justifiable fears but if you can take away their power by looking at how the facts don’t support that fear then you have won.

I’m not trying to imply that I always say yes. There are plenty of times when I say no because of time constraints or logistics but those times when I wanted to say no but changed it around to be a yes ended up being some of the best times in my life.

My best vacation ever was spent in Montana. It was a couple of years ago when my hubby suggested camping and hiking in Glacier National Park. My first question was “are there grizzlies there?” To which he responded “I think so.” He damn well knew that there were grizzlies there but was hoping that I wouldn’t dwell on that fact. He knew that I’m obsessed (good and bad) with bears and that I had never been in grizzly country. This is where “yes” came into play. I was afraid of hiking and camping where the largest man-eaters with jagged fangs roamed free. Every story that I had ever read about a bear mauling was coming to mind. I thought about how during the middle of the night a grizzly would rip me from the tent by my arm, fling me around, and tear my flesh with his large teeth. I wanted to tell hubby no but instead I decided to face my fears and say yes. It was the best decision ever and the best vacation ever! I did not get eaten by a grizzly. We saw a total of 4 bears with only one of them being a grizzly. The grizzly we saw from the safety of our truck. The other 3 we were in the woods but were not in any danger. If I would have said no I would have missed one of the best experiences of my life.

A year ago my hubby wanted to kayak 50 miles down the Colorado river in Utah and camp along the banks each night. I would only be able to bring what small amount of stuff that we could fit in the kayak hulls. We would be self-supported and there would be no one to help if we got into trouble. Normally, I would’ve not believed that I could finish such a trek. That I wasn’t in good enough shape to complete that adventure. But I decided to jump at the opportunity and say yes. I didn’t know how far I could paddle in a day. I wasn’t too keen on sleeping with scorpions. What about water? We couldn’t carry that much water so would we have to drink out of the river? I had lots of questions and reservations but soon after doing more research about what to expect I embraced the trip and became excited about it. At the end of the trip I felt amazing. Like I could do anything! I could conquer any situation that was brought before me.

4 years ago I didn’t know how to swim. At age 39, I wasn’t excited about taking beginner swimming lessons but I decided to say yes and plunge right in. I wanted to do a sprint triathlon and just needed to learn how to freestyle. I took the hard journey of learning to swim and man was it painful. I was not a natural swimmer. I struggled for more than a year learning to swim a lap and add on to it. But saying yes and taking that first step brought me to one of the greatest journeys that I’ve ever taken…finishing a half ironman! In fact, I’ve finished two so far and I’m doing my third this June. I will never regret facing my fear of swimming!

Many years ago we were heading to Kansas for a 4 day festival called Wakarusa. I knew some of the bands and liked their music but I wasn’t fully into the “hippy” music and dance scene. The first day I was listening/watching a show and bobbing my head along like a good audience member should. I realized that I was being held back by my fears. My fear of not knowing the words to the song that was being played, my fear of looking silly if I tried to dance and it wasn’t good. I think a lot of people have a fear of dancing. I started to understand that it didn’t matter if I knew the words or not, just get lost in the music. As I got more and more into the music I started to dance. I didn’t care if anyone was looking (and here’s a big fact: no one is looking at you!) and I just let the music take me over. By the 3rd day I was dancing in big circles, taking up way too much room (it’s an outdoor festival with plenty of room to do so), flailing my arms, jumping, and dancing with strangers. Hubby and I even separated to see different artists at the same time which left me dancing alone with hundreds of other people. I danced my ass off! In the end, I felt alive. I completely understood the saying “dance like nobody’s watching”.

When given an opportunity to try something different or experience something new say “yes”! You may have some fears about it but focus on the joy that it will bring you. In the end you will feel empowered that you conquered your fears, how much strength is truly inside you, excited to try something else, confident in your abilities, and awake and alive. Nothing but the word “no” can take that away from you.

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~ by willtriforbeer on February 24, 2014.

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