Despite their relatively small sizes, there are two words in the English language that can have a massive impact on our lives.
Those words are ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
So often, saying yes moves you nearer to reaching your full potential and living your best life. No – on the other hand – closes you off and constrains you.
But how often do we pay attention to the number of times we use these words. I’ve been pondering that thought lately, especially when I’m coming across more and more women who describe themselves as ‘stuck’.
It seems to me that women often default to ‘no’. Sometimes they say no out of fear – many women still have problems with appearing vulnerable. Often the no is driven out of habit – they’ve said no so often that saying yes doesn’t even occur to them.
Recently, I came across a woman who seemed to have turned the no she gave out of fear into a habit. First she said no to the wine. Then no to the entrée. She said no to dessert. It was even no the coffee. And eventually she said no to the whole she-bang and went and stood outside while her friends – who had said yes to all the things – were having a fabulous time inside.
And I can’t tell you how unhappy she looked. She’d shut so many things out, and it really wasn’t serving her.
While we don’t always default to it, there are so many benefits of saying yes. I thought I’d my perspective on three of them in this post. And at the same time, hopefully inspire you to think about where you might be able say yes more often in your own life.
The benefits of saying yes
One. It builds your confidence.
Regular readers will know that I strongly believe that confidence comes in baby steps. Every time you do something new, you imprint yourself with a broader skillset. You become a person who knows how to do things. Or who at least knows how to figure things out. You learn to trust yourself more. You can actually change your beliefs about yourself and what you can achieve.
This sort of growth isn’t always easy (because it comes with having to feel vulnerable), but it can be life changing. It only comes when we allow ourselves to try new things and to stretch – usually by saying yes. And it is all these new things that build up confidence levels that allow you to stretch yourself even further. It really becomes a lovely upward spiral.
Two. You meet amazing, inspirational people
Generally speaking, when you say yes to a ‘new for you’ opportunity or experience, it brings you into contact with people outside your everyday life. People who can teach you. Or inspire you. People who encourage you to think differently or reach for something greater than you’d considered before.
While on our latest trip to France, I made a promise to myself that I would say yes to any invitations we received. And I don’t mean from people that I already knew well – of course I was going to accept their invitations to catch up. I mean with people that I’d not met or spoken with ever before. This is something that I’ve never done in the past – I didn’t believe I was that sort of person. But it’s a decision that has allowed us to meet people who have created amazing, inspiring lives. We’ve done lunches, dinners and apèros in French homes, where we’ve learned from the different ways of living and being. We’ve discovered aspects to French cities and towns we never would have found on our own. And none of it would have happened if we hadn’t been prepared to say yes.
Similarly, you also get to experience events and places that you would have missed if you’d said no. Which adds to a richer life experience and a wider world view of what is possible for you.
Three. You inspire others to say yes more often.
In a world filled with influencers, it is easy to forget how impactful the actions of every day humans can be. One of the biggest benefits of saying yes is the influence it can have on those around you. You never know how you allowing yourself to say yes might give someone else the permission and the courage to do the same.
One final thought
Ok. So while there are many benefits of saying yes, there are some times where it is better to say no. Like when saying yes might put you in danger or causes harm to yourself or others. Or if a yes will send you deep into debt. Or adversely impacts your relationships. So let’s not be dumb. Let’s make sure we are clever about it and say yes when we know will grow from it.
Have you ever considered the benefits of saying yes? Could you be saying yes to people, experiences or opportunities more regularly in your life? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below.