“If it’s both terrifying and amazing, then you should definitely pursue it.” —Erada Svetlana
Have you ever stood on the figurative ledge capable of seeing all that you have been hoping for just on the other side of the crevasse, even seeing with clarity a hand stretched toward you offering help when you get close enough to the other side, but the first initial movement must come from you, entirely on your own? The trepidation traditionally stems from the reality that there is a stretch, a decent size gap, between the ledge upon which you stand and the hand that will be waiting for you when you reach the other side. Before deciding to jump, thoughts begin to skitter around in your mind, I might not jump well enough, I haven’t prepared to make this leap on my own successfully, What if I . . . don’t make it? It might just be safer to stay where I am. After all, I won’t get hurt. I won’t lose what I have. If you’ve ever felt this way, you are not alone, but now I want to assure you when it is okay to jump.
In Shonda Rhimes’ wildly successful memoir, Year of Yes released late last year, she shares the year before she began saying yes and the year that follows. And, as you may have guessed, it is because she said yes, that life opened up to her.
Often it is fear that prevents us from saying yes, fear of failure, fear or embarrassment, fear because we will be losing control and be placed in situation in which we make ourselves vulnerable. However, being the intelligent people that we are, we know that in order to grow, in order to be able to see the changes we seek, we know we must do things differently, but how do we know when to say yes?
When I saw the above quote, it immediately answered that exact question for me. It is a balance of absolute amazing as well as hands down fear. If you are feeling both of these emotions when you even think of what you are about to step off of the ledge for, then you have found something worth saying yes to.
The necessity of a sanctuary, a comfort zone, is without argument a fundamental must-have in our lives. Let’s call our sanctuary, whether it be our home, our routines, our safety nets, our “comfort zone”. We need to have a destination in our lives in which we know we can come to to be replenished, refueled and cared for. But if we stay in our comfort zone all of the time, we will not grow. We eventually will become bored and regret not taking the opportunities we were presented with.
On the extreme opposite end of the continuum, if we choose to say yes to everything that terrifies us, and absolutely does not intrigue or tickle or curiosities, we are placing ourselves in a state of panic, anxiety and unnecessary stress that will ultimately destroy us and wear us down so that we cannot possibly reach our full potential.
But here’s the good news, there is a middle ground. And each time we step into that middle ground, let’s call it the “stretch zone”, we reduce the “panic zone” and increase the “comfort zone”.
In other words, our lives become enriched in all arenas because we cannot return to the way it was before so long as we seek the balance of pursuing what captivates our attention and makes us dance without self-consciousness in giddy-excitement, but at the same time instills a bit of fear in us as well.
Here’s the other catch: the world won’t wait and beg you to say yes to something you ultimately should say yes to until you do. Nope. It will simply move on to someone else who can appreciate the magic being made available. So guess what? You are going to have to leap, and for a moment you will be leaping without assurances that it will all work out.
Here of some examples of what you might be wanting to say yes to, and must definitely should if it’s a question in your mind:
- Say YES to your health. Say YES to the potential to feel amazing in your skin and body.
- Say YES to a new experience you have never done or haven’t done in a very long time but thoroughly enjoyed.
- Say YES to believing in the best intentions in people.
- Say YES to connecting with someone who speaks your language.
- Say YES to learning a new language.
- Say YES to tossing what isn’t working and welcoming in something entirely new that speaks to you for no other reason than it does.
- Say YES to thoughtfulness.
- Say YES to you being happy.
Don’t get me wrong, I know saying yes can be scary. I am currently weighing a few things in my life that all terrify me and at the same time absolutely amaze me and prompt ecstatic excitement even imagining what I hope may work out, and so the good news is, they all incorporate both feelings quite strongly. So guess what, I will be making the leap off the ledge to the other side with you, and I will sharing my story once I land on the other side. Jump strong, jump with excitement, jump with a smile (why not?) and just jump like you have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Because you do.