As a kid, I was taught a lot of things. For example, to entertain myself, respect my elders, and not to drop ping pong balls on Grandpa’s head from the loft (which is another story for another day). I also picked up on a lesson that I think too many of us learn – the art of politely saying no when someone offers you something. After all, you don’t want to be a bother and should be able to take care of yourself no matter what, right?
By the time you’re an adult, saying no is a kneejerk reaction.
In my early 30’s, I found myself unemployed with no prospects and for months I said no to anyone who offered to help. I didn’t want to be seen as weak, incompetent, or incapable of being independent. Even thinking about accepting someone’s help made me feel like I was all of those things.
If that sounds familiar, let me tell you something. Saying yes does NOT make you any of those things. It means you’re strong and it means you’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep being independent.
I didn’t have some great light bulb moment, no epiphany out of the blue, no independent stroke of genius. I was given an opportunity from the unlikeliest of places, my ex-fiancée and his wife. They knew I’d been struggling and invited me to stay with them, no strings attached, for as long as I wanted or needed to. It was outlandish and insane, and I said yes.
I said yes to moving halfway across the country to take up a space on the floor in a tiny two-bedroom apartment, not only with them, but with the teenage son my ex and I share, and their new baby boy.
Why did I take that leap? Why not? They were sincere, I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
My Great-Grandmother sent me a card that said, “Dare to make mistakes, listen to your own wise and gentle, knowing voice. Live your dreams. Breathe deep trusting breaths.”
Why should you say yes? When you say no all of the time, you become a burden to yourself. You stand in the way of your own success. You create your own self-fulfilling prophecy.
So when someone says, “Hey, let’s go grab lunch. My treat,” say yes. It means they care, not that they pity you and your situation. If someone offers to hand deliver your resume to their boss because they have an unadvertised opening, say yes. It means they think you’re a great fit for the job and are willing to sing your praises.
So take a deep breath, stop overthinking everything, trust yourself, and accept that opportunity. No matter how big or small it may be, taking a chance may be the best thing you’ve ever done.
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