Saying YES More Often!

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How a simple word can change your life and make you a leader.

Seventeen years ago I was sitting in my friend’s office and he challenged me to join him in his marathon training. He had a 10 mile run that weekend. Conversely, I had been practicing yoga for almost 3 years and had given up any kind of working out, running, or cardio. I was thinking about getting back into a few short runs per week, but a “marathon?” I questioned, “I’m a yogi now (I facetiously made a mudra, the meaning of which I had no idea) I don’t do marathons.” Little did I realize, a few moments later, saying yes to that training run, and later the marathon, would alter my life forever.

When I crossed the finish line of that race back in 2000, I realized if I could do that, I could do anything! Once that door was opened for me, I began to explore what ‘anything’ actually meant. I looked for a short triathlon, after all, why not, right?! Then the host company of said triathlon also put on an adventure race. Why not? Starting to get the picture?

6 weeks prior to my first marathon I wasn’t planning on doing one. I wasn’t planning on doing one in this lifetime or 6 lifetimes from now, but what I learned from being willing to say YES has made my life so much better.

Saying YES, for me, has become my MO. If there is a bunch of us on cliff and someone dares someone else to jump in the water, I know I’m going to have to jump. Obviously, I’m not doing things that are so dangerous that I hurt myself, but I am challenging myself and pushing my limits in a healthy way.

I’ve found new races and new challenges both physical and otherwise. I used to avoid my thoughts, but now I meditate on a regular basis. I used to avoid confrontation, but now I bring things up right away, so there are no lingering emotions. That can be a difficult one especially in relationships.

There are so many ways to follow that YES and when you do you will inevitably be leading the way. You’ll be leading others to a place they may not be ready to go, but since you’re willing, they become willing. And that is the definition of a leader.

Here are 3 things you can do everyday to ensure you say YES to more things in your life!

Listen to your Intuition

Anytime you hear that little voice in your head that tries to push you off the cliff, make sure you choose to jump! You know what will happen if you don’t follow the voice. Absolutely nothing! You’ll have your life just the way it is. That may be fine, but if you’re reading this, I’m sure you could use a little push from behind on a few things in your life. It’s time to be the pusher and the pushed!

Surround yourself with other Leaders

Start rounding up the coolest of friends, family members, and associates whom also say YES! You will find that a rising tide lifts all boats, as JFK once said. It’s about finding your tribe and making a point to hang out with them! Workout with them, see movies with them, go to dinner with them, travel with them. Their YES-ness will rub off on you and soon you’re YES-ness will be rubbing off on someone else. Boom! The world is changed forever.

Reflect and Course Correct

And finally, make sure that when you do make the leap into the unknown you stop for a moment. Take it in, see what it feels like to do that scary thing. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. And maybe you realized you’ll never do it again. Both are just as powerful. The point really is going after the unknown and creating a life beyond your wildest imagination. Like Richard Branson once said, “Screw it, Let’s do it!”

So when you see that lake and you want to jump in, or you get that urge to run up the mountain, ski down the hill, or follow the beat of your own drum remember one thing, say YES! If you need a little push, that’s what I’m here for.

Join the movement!

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