The power of saying ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’.

I wrote this as a script for a TED-style, internal speaking engagement at my company. I hope to be able to share the video file to this post in the future.

Growth doesn’t happen in a cozy cocoon.

With your feet up.

Slippers on.

Growth happens

Out there.

Out where you stand on the edge of the canyon.

Or, at the start of the trail that leads somewhere you haven’t been before.

It happens where you feel a mix of excitement and nausea.

Where nothing is promised. You might succeed. You might not.

But. One thing is for sure.

You will learn.

Don’t forget…you’ve been there. At that decision point, that mind-battle of safety versus growth.

It’s the moment you decided it was time to learn how to ride your bike without training wheels.

You were determined and you weren’t going to quit until you could do it by yourself.

You wobbled. Some of us fell.

But, we got.back.up.

Here’s the thing. If you want to grow, you have to get yourself out of the cocoon.

You have to realize that you won’t ever be ‘ready’ enough.

When the opportunity comes, you’ll be tempted to say no…because you know it might not be perfect.

But, what IS perfect anyway?

And how many of your great ideas and potential opportunities have been sacrificed on the altar of perfect?

Perfect isn’t living.

Perfect is stagnant.

Perfect, my friends, doesn’t exist.

When you’re tempted to say ‘no’, that’s the cue.

Listen for it. Watch for it.

That’s how you’ll know that the only answer…the only way to proceed forward…is to say ‘yes’.

Just a few years ago, I found myself at ‘I’m not sure I want to but I know I must’ as I prepared to lead a change workshop for a hand-picked group of VPs participating in the Strategic Leader program. The voice that wanted me to exist in the land of safe tried to get me to believe there was nothing I could teach these leaders about leading change. And in fact…in a trial run of my content just a few weeks before, some colleagues had coached me to toss everything I had put together and start from scratch. And, I did. In the end, we all emerged from that session stronger and better leaders having learned a few things and shared what we knew with each other.

Throughout the past eight years of my own career, I’ve wanted to say ‘no’ so many times because the opportunity was big, it was uncharted territory, and I wasn’t sure of the outcome…because I had never done it before.

Yet, every one of those opportunities showed me I had more potential than even I knew.

And, it reminded me that often…the only way to find out what we’re made of is to say ‘yes’ when our instinct is to say ‘no’.

Give yes a try.

And, then…enjoy an adventure beyond your wildest dreams.

Find out what YOU’RE made of.

And, don’t ever look back.

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