Guest Blog by Vionna Adams, a recent graduate of the Hay There Social Media Training Program.
We have heard “no” a lot of the past year, haven’t we?
No, you can’t get your hair done.
No, your kids can’t go to school or daycare.
No, you can’t hang out at your favorite restaurant.
No, you can’t visit your family for Christmas.
No, you can’t wear that awesome new lipstick out of the house because it will be hidden behind a mask.
These no’s come from outside sources, but what about the no’s we tell ourselves all the time, like:
I am not qualified for that job. I am not even going to apply.
I don’t have time to exercise or get a massage.
I can’t possibly go away for a weekend (or a day) alone and leave the children with my partner.
I don’t have time to take that professional development course.
When I look back on my life, I realize I have limited my potential and possibly my own happiness by telling myself no.
For example, I worked in the fitness industry for about eight years, and I really enjoyed it. I liked working directly with women to help them improve their health and achieve things they did not think were possible. I am a people person and seeing my clients’ pride in their accomplishments truly brought me joy.
However, when I became pregnant with my oldest daughter in 2012, it became clear to me I was not making enough money to justify paying for daycare. (I know myself well enough to know I would not make a good stay-at-home mom.)
We had moved to Michigan in late 2010, and I was still in the process of rebuilding my client base. So, I found a full-time job as a project manager and quit the fitness industry completely. It is a decision I have come to regret. Instead of making sure I continued to teach at least one yoga or Pilates class per week, I quit cold turkey.
I told myself that there was no way I could teach and work full-time and take care of a baby. It sounded like too much, so I didn’t even try. I told myself no.
I didn’t even consider finding a yes in there. Or even a maybe. Have you ever done something similar?
At the end of 2020, Shonda Rhimes declared that 2021 would be her “Year of Yes” and has encouraged us all to do the same. Let’s join her! Let’s ignore the voice in our heads that is telling us to say no and say yes instead!
Think of something that you want to achieve. You don’t have to try to solve world hunger this year. Sometimes starting small gives us the confidence to tackle our larger goals. Maybe there is a book on your nightstand that has been sitting there for a year and a half that you have been wanting to read. Set a goal to read 15 minutes each day, and I bet you can finish it in just a few months.
Do you have a side hustle idea that you want to put into action, or a side hustle that you want to turn into your main hustle? A new skill that you want to learn that will help you move up in your career or reenter the workforce? Say yes!
My daughter and I are doing a handstand challenge with my favorite local yoga studio this month. Last year I didn’t do it because who has time for that? Turns out, I do.
I have friends and family members who have said yes to wonderful opportunities this year that they were not necessarily ready for even though they are more than qualified. One friend decided to apply for an open dean position in her department, while two others have stepped into director roles at their companies.
Here is a lesson that I have learned: Sometimes you have to say no in order to say yes. If you are asked to take on something (personally or professionally) that you truly do not have time for or will not help you to move towards your goals or you just flat out don’t want to do, you can choose to say yes to yourself by declining. That might allow you say yes to taking a walk daily or working on your knitting projects or getting to bed at a decent hour.
Also, if you say yes to something, it is not a life sentence. (Just like that awful hair style you had in high school; you will not have to live with your decision forever if you don’t want to.) If you determine that you have started something that is no longer serving you, you owe it to yourself to then say no. In other words, you can say “Yes, I need to let that go.” See what I did there?
This week, I encourage you to find one thing that you want to say yes to. Make a plan and find a partner if you need to. This time next year, we are going to marvel at all that we have done.
Vionna Adams is a recent graduate of the Hay There Social Media Training Program. She lives in California with her family. In addition to being an engineer and planner specializing in urban development, she is also a project manager, author and a social media consultant. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram.