I am beginning this journey with an introduction to my project and a little background on how I got here and what I hope this becomes. I mentioned my thoughts to a few trusted friends and they thought I should blog about it, in the spirit of ‘yes’, I listened, answered ‘yes’ and here it is. I hope that you’ll find it entertaining at times, disheartening at times, uncomfortable at times, but most of all that you’ll be inspired to consider things you haven’t considered before.
Say yes to every invitation I get in 2011. Share it. Learn from it. Grow from it. Push my comfort zone.
2010 started out in a strange and uncomfortable place for me. It ended in an amazing place – a place that didn’t even exist as a possibility in my imagination at the beginning of the year. The transfer from strange and uncomfortable to amazing happened with one simple word – yes. Partway-through 2010 I began breaking down who I thought I was and started saying yes to things I wouldn’t have before. Yes, I’ll start running. Yes, I’ll do it barefoot. Yes, I’ll go to the conference. Yes, I’ll listen to that. Yes, I’ll go there. Yes, I’ll spend a day in a new place with a stranger. Yes, I’ll come in for an interview. Yes, I’ll come to California. Yes, I’ll move. Yes, I’ll move on. Yes, I’ll let you help me. Yes, let’s meet for a drink. Yes, I’ll take this risk. Yes, I’ll consider that idea. Yes, I’ll live with you. Yes, I’ll trust you with my secrets. Yes, I’ll listen to you. Yes, I’ll teach you. Yes, I’ll help you. Yes, let’s try that. Yes, yes, yes.
I found, through these yeses, that I discovered and experienced really amazing things that I wasn’t previously open to. I began redefining myself by pushing my comfort zone. And, most of the experiences I said yes to had a positive influence on my mood, confidence and most importantly, my ability to relate to others. Through many conversations with new friends, old friends and rediscovered friends, I decided that 2011 would focus on yes – even better, 2010 would symbolize the beginning of a lifetime of yeses.
Those who know me well know that I don’t like rules. However, they also know that I often make little rules for myself in hopes that they become new habits or new ways of life or new ways of thinking. In the spirit of manageability, I’ve laid 3 rules for my iterations of yes. Every other invitation can be accepted based on my discretion (and will be accepted if at all possible!). The rules are summed up as 20/20/2. The event has to be within a 20-mile radius, $20 or less and I only have to say yes to the same thing 2 times. If I’m having a hard time finding value in the experience, I have to try it and give it a second shot before I will allow myself to say no and open up my time and energy to something that may be more appropriate for me at that time. If invitations overlap, whatever I accepted first earns the yes. Invitations and ideas that require a significant amount of time, energy, financial resources or preparation (BM, marathon, trips to Nepal, etc.) will be strongly considered and I’ll make every attempt to experience them, though, some things must be done right or not at all. I ask you to respect that and understand that I have the best intentions for myself and other participants if I don’t say yes to an event like that at this time. Though living with no consequences would be awesome, truth of the matter is, that doesn’t exist. Because of this, invitations that have a likely possibility of endangering myself or others will be politely declined.
As I meet more people and learn about more things in Chicago and all over the globe, I’m hoping to be exposed to opportunities and experiences previously unavailable to me – either due to a lack of opportunity or a lack of openness on my part. I invite you to participate by sending suggestions here or however you’d like to reach me if you think of something fun, interesting or challenging that might have value to me or the readers of this blog.
A huge thanks to those who have already been so influential in the evolution of this idea: LC, MS, KW, ML, JM, GR and to everyone who I’ve encountered this year, this lifetime, really – I wouldn’t be who I am and I won’t become what I will become without you. Thank you.
Here’s to a lifetime of yes.