For whatever reason, I have always been a very cautious person. I never agreed to plans on a whim or left the house unprepared for what I might encounter. Even in college, my nickname was “Sensible.”
So whenever someone presented me with an opportunity, my default response was always “No.” It wasn’t until I was persuaded with a plan or persistent pestering that I would then change my answer to “yes” and actually leave the house.
Later on, I realized that what I thought was extreme cautiousness was (and is) probably more of a mild anxiety issue. I was keeping myself from experiencing things because I was scared–anxious about things I couldn’t predict, plan, or control.
But I have begun to realize that this method of saying “No” to everything right off the bat has been keeping me from experiencing life–from being challenged or growing as a person.
A great example of this is an amazing opportunity I was recently offered at work. They wanted to send me to Chicago for a training that would be completely funded–that’s right, it would cost me nothing. All I would have to do is get to the airport, get on a plane, find my place to stay, get to the training, and get home. But when I received the email about this trip, my first mental response was that I should turn it down because I had never done something like that before. There was so much responsibility involved and I wasn’t sure I could handle it.
Then, a short time later, I was struck with a thought: Why on earth would I say no to something like this? I was going to pass up a free trip to Chicago for an amazing training (and opportunity to see some of my very close friends) because I was scared?
I have never seen the movie “Yes Man” but I assume it is a similar concept. I want to take every opportunity presented to me, and not only that, I want to want to. I don’t want to be afraid anymore. This means saying “yes” when people ask me to go out and do things, and then actually going and doing it. No more flaking out. No more letting anxiety and fear be an excuse.
Sure, saying “yes” to everything is probably a bad rule to follow–there are some things I will willingly pass up for my own health and well being, but no more running away from things because they might force me to grow up a little.
I wish I had three simple ways to make this happen that I could put in a bulleted list and share with you, but I don’t. The only thing I can do to change is to actually do it–I just need to say “yes.”
It will be uncomfortable and scary, and probably not always turn out the way I want, but isn’t that what growing up is?