“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity to do something and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.” — Richard Branson
“Yes” has magic within it. So often we are afraid of life — we fear failure, we anticipate the worst, we don’t know what to expect.
In doing so and often by saying “no” to opportunities, we reject many of life’s brilliant chances. These are often disguised as a new career prospect, an opportunity to step up at work, a surprise request from a friend, or any type of unfamiliar challenge. Anything that creates a spark of curiosity within us or generates some desire that typically lays dormant within our familiar days, is often our intuition guiding us to say yes (or at least to learn more).
But we let our fears, instead of our creativity and love, guide us and rationalize a “no.” I have seen it hundreds of times. Typically people who say “no” to opportunity love to convince you (or themselves?) why it was right for a list of reasons. I am here to say, yes can often be right! Deep down, we know when it is.
By saying yes, we often need to say no to others. This is not about being a “yes person” or feeling pressured to do things we don’t want to do. It’s about having the courage and conviction to do the things we know we really want to do. So much so sometimes, they scare us. Here are nine reasons to say yes to opportunity in your life:
1. You block the miracle if you don’t:
Opportunity sometimes knocks gently and does not wait for perfect timing. The truth is — there is no perfect timing! Marie Forleo says, “start before you are ready.” We need to trust that the universe has a bigger plan for us — one that we can only understand with hindsight. When we say no, we reject more than the opportunity, we reject the fun it brings, what it teaches us and the further gifts that can unfold if we don’t allow the initial yes.
2. There are an infinite number of reasons to say no — something is stirring the yes within you:
For something to be a question mark — a very considered decision — something, often deep inside of us, is saying yes. A no should be clear and obvious. Pay attention that little cheerleader for the yes for a while. Listen to what is has to tell you. It is often correct.
3. Someone believes you can:
To have the option of saying yes, someone or something believes you can do achieve something. North Face is not going to sponsor you to climb Everest in their clothing if it is wildly out of the question that you are capable. Take the opportunity as a compliment and harness the confidence other people have in you.
4. Yes leads to more doors (no is often closing the door):
When my husband was asked to transfer to New York City at age 23, many people thought it was too soon and that it was not a good idea. We are in our sixth year here and we agree almost every day it is the best thing we have done in our lives. The subsequent opportunities it has provided us have been truly abundant and humbling.
5. Opportunities do not always arise again — or at least the same ones:
Life and luck favor the bold. Sometimes when making a decision and considering both outcomes, the “no” outcome is connected to regret somehow. Regret is sometimes the biggest risk of all.
6. Life is richer, fuller, more vibrant:
When we say yes, we do more, create more, live more.
7. It attracts positivity:
The word itself is inviting and empowering. It’s like saying, “World, I got this!”
8. Stretch yourself:
Why are we all here if not to live the highest, fullest version of our lives? By saying yes, we invite possibility into our lives and the ability to learn what we are capable of and just how far we can go.
9. Life is short. Ask not why, but why not?
One of my favorite quotes from a young Steve Jobs is, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” A little perspective helps us abandon our fears.
Ask yourself for a change: What is the best that could happen? Think upon it. How does it feel? Marinate on that for a while. A yes might be your only option.