I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while.
It’s not that I got lazy or that I fell out of love with writing. No, it wasn’t any of that. I just got busy. I was busy filling my year with things I’ve always wanted to do.
2018 was the year of YES.
My year didn’t start with a divorce and I didn’t turn up to a self-help seminar teaching me to “unleash the power of yes.” It did however, start with a decision. The decision to say yes to the things that scare me and have a go at things I’ve always wanted to try.
I’ve done a hell of a lot this year. More than a few of the last put together. It wouldn’t have been my year without a little reflection and dissecting some of the big life lessons so here’s what a year of saying yes taught me.
Jumping straight in is the only way
My first big “yes” moment came on January 1st. We put the paddle boards on the roof of the car and headed for Manly beach. What a perfect way to see in the new year.
Except, the swell was bigger than I had anticipated and the waves were messy. I was scared.
I grabbed my board and eased into the water slowly. The waves kept crashing over me and I couldn’t get out the back. The more I got hit, the more scared I got. I could see my fiancé out the back having the time of his life and so I made a decision. I’m going straight in. And I did. I got out the back quickly and I too got to enjoy a pretty special start to the new year.
I remember a few years ago I heard a piece of advice from one of my old business leaders. He said that the hardest part is always starting. Once you start the test just comes.
For me, the only way to start is to jump straight in. Having a scared silly moment on the first day of the year was a great way to jump into a year of doing things that test, scare and invigorate me.
Find a new passion OR redefine an old one
One of the best things that has come out of saying yes has been redefining my passion.
In this year of saying yes I decided to go back and study a few things that have always been of interest to me. Firstly, I decided to get qualified in NLP — Neuro-Linguistic Programming which, as a learning professional, I’ve been using for about a decade in parts already. It was a fantastic experience and one that also helped me to take the plunge into further study.
I’ve recently been studying Strategic Psychotherapy and Clinical Hypnosis which I’ve been interested in since I left school. In this, I have been able to redefine my passion.
I’ve always loved being in the learning industry. It’s one of the most rewarding, generous and exciting industries around. For me, the greatest gift the industry offers me is the opportunity to help others achieve everything they’ve ever wanted. Hypnotherapy has become a valuable asset and broadened my ability to make a real difference in the world, which is where my passion truly lies.
Saying yes to study was an expensive exercise which was one reason it took me so long. That being said, I’m already seeing amazing results and the skills I have now will pay me back in many different ways and many times over.
Saying yes isn’t just about the now. Sometimes saying yes is about a little short-term pain (a fair few weekends at uni and no avo on toast madness for a while) for some really amazing long-term gain.
It’s amazing what you can achieve in a year
I’ve heard quite often that we tend to overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year. This year helped me understand what that really means and boy did I jam pack my year full to overflowing.
In my year, on top of working 4 days a week, I’ve managed to fit in:-
- A whole heap of writing — over 25 blog posts and a couple of magazine articles
- Starting a business and all of the learning that comes with it
- An increase in coaching clients
- Studying, studying and more studying
- Volunteering, creating and running events for learning professionals
- What feels like endless assignments
- Creating more content than ever before
Above all, I was able to fit this into a year where I was less stressed than I can remember, more consistent with exercise and cooking, able to read more books than in the last 3 years, away twice on holiday and importantly I was able to spend more quality time with my fiance.
The key to packing it all in and not feeling overwhelmed has been good planning. Planning my time well really helped me last year. I’ve been journalling over the last 3 years and have seen a vast improvement on my time management. It’s had lots of other benefits too — stay tuned I’ll share more on that soon. This year for the first time, I’ve gone all out with a fancy journal. I’m using a MiGoals journal and so far so good.
The scariest things are some of the most rewarding
“You’re actually really good but you just need to have a bit more confidence.”
That was what the guy manning the Ninja Warrior course said to me as I stood there eyeing off one of the obstacles, too scared to jump. When I finally did suck it up and jump it was exhilarating.
There have been many things I’ve said yes to this year that I’ve put off purely because I’ve been too scared. Whether it’s been a sporting yes,learning yes, saying yes to standing out in a crowd of my peers, yes to going “back to school” or saying yes to a new venture, each time I’ve said yes I’ve become a little bit braver and received an even bigger reward.
One of the biggest that I’d been putting off for a long time has been sharing my writing. My grammar might not be perfect and I’m definitely not going to be winning a Pulitzer Prize any time soon but writing has been a joy this year and if one or two people have benefited then that is a truly unbelievable reward.
This is life, not the movies
Unlike the movie “Yes Man” this is not about whimsically saying yes to absolutely everything that presents itself. Being good at yes is as much about knowing when to say no as it is about saying yes more often.
I had a bit “no” moment about a third of the way through the year. At that point, I had said yes to 3 huge, life-changing and massive time commitment projects (I wouldn’t say that they were all projects but for ease let’s call them that).
I could feel myself getting more overwhelmed, my sleep was becoming more restless, my health was suffering and stress was setting in. Not only that but I was still working 4 days a week and didn’t want that to suffer either.
Evaluating my priorities I was able to say “not right now” to one of my commitments. It worked brilliantly. I went back to pushing ahead and got even better results with the other priorities in my life.
Yes is a mindset
It’s easy enough to say yes but the harder part of the battle is keeping the commitment even when you don’t want to or when you’re scared.
Every time I stood up to speak in front of my peers this year I felt an overwhelming sense of panic. You know what I did? I stood up and did it anyway and each time I received amazing feedback.
Any time I tried a new tool with a client the nerves set in but I used it anyway and I got absolutely fantastic results.
Each time I arrived at a new venue to train a new team my heart started beating like a drum. I stood up and I did it anyway and I keep getting asked to come back for more.
The moral in each of these moments? It’s in the getting up and doing it anyway that we truly grow.
Not every yes moment is as much a success as the next but we never really know which are going to be wildly successful and which we should just put down as a great learning experience. Saying yes more often gives us those success opportunities that we might otherwise let slip away.
2019 has only just begun. Start it bravely. Say your first yes to something that scares you and while you’re at it, say it again and again. You’ll be amazed what a year of yes will get you.
Until next time,