It often takes more courage to contemplate a “yes,” than live with an automatic “no.” What can you say yes to today?
How often in your life do you say no instead of yes? Is it your default response, with yes only coming after prodding, cajoling, greater thought or just plain shaming? In a time when many of us want to bury our heads and say “No, this can’t be happening in my country,” I offer my perspective on the power of “yes!”
Several years ago, I was shopping in CVS, wandering down that wonderful, quirky aisle that always rotates with new, seasonal items. It was a trying time at work with long days, difficult circumstances and not a lot of positive feedback. My team and I were feeling overworked and unappreciated. So, as any good manager would do, I purchased a set of flamingo lawn ornaments in bright aqua, neon green, deep purple and ruby red. The fun thing about these birds, is when you tapped their beaks, their heads bobbed up and down, wisely and gracefully, saying a silent and enthusiastic “Yes. You bet! Right on. Go for it.” Yes was the only direction they could go; No or Maybe weren’t options. They were hard-wired for Yes.
The next day I arranged them all along our cubicle aisle and encouraged everyone to use them when they needed reassurance. They became known as our “Yes birds” and throughout our time together as a team, we dressed them up for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas & Easter. We draped leis around them when we needed a mini-vacation. In short, they became part of our team, nodding and bobbing to the gentle rhythm of yes. (watch them in action here IMG_2179 )
While I left a lot of things behind when I left the Corporate World, I took a trunkful of yes birds with me. They continue to be a constant reminder that I need to choose yes when no seems a whole bunch easier and safer. Here are a few experiences that come to mind as a way to encourage you to explore your own power of yes. By saying yes to these experiences, and many more, my life is richer, fuller and a whole lot more fun.
- Say yes to that uncomfortable middle seat in the last row of the airplane; you may meet a delightful DJ from Barcelona with a comfy shoulder to sleep on and an avid Phillies fan who wants to buy you drinks while trying to convince you they should have beat the Giants in the World series.
- Say yes when you are asked to volunteer, anywhere, any time with any group that makes you feel like family.
- Say yes to inviting a young woman from your Barcelona bus tour to dinner; her story of overcoming illness and finding courage to travel solo may inspire you.
- Say yes to receiving a hug and even better, always say yes to your urge to give a hug.
- When someone asks you to be in a street video intent on changing the world by telling complete strangers good news from your life, say yes, even if it is in French.
- When you have the opportunity to climb a 20-foot pole, stand on the top of a wobbly circular platform and declare your life purpose, say yes to embracing the fear, exhilaration and thrill of accomplishment.