Reinvent Yourself by Saying Yes
“The best way out is always through.” ~ Robert Frost
Reinvent Yourself by Saying “Yes!”
William Shatner has reinvented himself dozens of times in a career that boldly went from leading the Enterprise in Star Trek to most recently doing a one-man show on Broadway. The LA Times[i] reported that “Shatner’s career is defined by a bottomless capacity to try it all. Nothing is too weird or outlandish.”
“It’s easy to say no,” he says. “Saying yes carries more danger to it. Saying yes is risky business—but how much richer my life has been because of it.”
Reinventing yourself involves being courageous and saying “yes” to an idea or opportunity that seems too farfetched or over-the-top to even be worthy of consideration. One of my clients recently told me that “it is scary” to contemplate a new direction, but then in the next breath, she said, “I want to be scared more.” We are attracted to the possibilities in our lives, but at the same time we find ourselves pulling back and running for cover.
On his deathbed, Dr. Fred Hollows said, “You disappoint yourself more often by not doing things because of cowardice and temerity than you ever did by doing things that turn out to be wrong.” After Hollows halved curable blindness amongst Australian aborigines, he then took his dream of eliminating blindness to Nepal, Eritrea and Vietnam. In 1991, he was named Eritrea’s first honorary citizen.
I like to use Appreciative Inquiry to help my clients move through fear to get the courage they need to pursue a new possibility:
Step 1: When in the past did you take a risk and say “yes” to something that worked out well for you? Think about what you did to have courage at that moment, about who and what supported you to do so, and how it felt to say “yes.”
Step 2: Think about how you can apply what you did in your “peak experience” when you courageously said “yes” to something to your current possibility.
Coaching Questions to ask yourself: How are you hanging back? What do you have to do, to boldly go through? What can you say “yes” to? What do you want to start doing? What are you not doing because you are being cowardly?
If you are interested in how you can be coached to say “yes” to the next possibility in your life, please call me for a complimentary coaching session at 805-448-7681 or schedule a session on line at https://www.lynnkjones.com/calendar/
P.S. Have you checked out The Appreciative Inquiry Shelf in the Leader’s Library on www.lynnkjones.com? My picks and the reasons why I picked them are all there with links to Amazon. And, if you buy one of these books through the Leader’s Library, I am donating the affiliate money I earn to Better World Books.
Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach based in Santa Barbara, California and a sought after coach and consultant for organizations and individuals across the US. Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values using a process of Appreciative Inquiry. She coaches individuals on achieving their reflected best selves. An MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment and Leadership to social work students at the University of Southern California.
BCC Board Certified Coach #1487
[i] Los Angeles Times, Boldy going…everywhere, 2/15/12, D1 http://lat.ms/zSLV7A
Lynn, great blog. Most people do hold themselves back to new experiences or changes for many reasons. The first step is the hardest but I found once you take that step, a whole new world will open up to you-including your mind.
That is such a great insight, Alison. It is hard to take that first step, but it is amazing how once you have, as you say “a new world opens up.” Barbara Frederickson, the positive psychologist has found that when people have more positivity it “broadens and builds.” I think that is a akin to what you are describing.
Thanks for commenting on my blog!
Hello Dr. Jones,
Its as always a great article and something I can totally relate to. I have a lot of fears and insecurities that push me back from trying something new. A lot of it comes from personal experiences and a lot of times I do ask myself why I am not moving forward to risk and try something new. Usually, I end up telling myself its because its not time yet to move on. But again I am doing a job unrelated to my field completely. Even though its part-time, its a risk I took and built new relationships that can help me move further. Of course, if I take a risk of moving away from home, things would turn up better but like I say *not time yet*. I consider these experiences to be most influential in my life because I might think of something to do today and not try it but I will do it next time I think about and feel the confidence to do so. I applied for a job even though I knew I did not have the credentials for it. No, I did not get it but I am happy that I was able to put my experience and education on their table so in the future they can consider me for other opportunities. That’s just what I do.
P.S. I stopped blogging because I had lost motivation and started reading books. But I do visit your blog everytime and this blog definitely defined me to a certain extent so had to comment.
Neha, I appreciate knowing that you are reading and really value your comments, so thanks for jumping in there again! 🙂 Self confidence challenges and insecurities are more the norm rather than the exception when venturing into unfamiliar territory. We really are hard wired to be on the look out for danger and unfamiliar territory is potentially fraught with danger. The key is building on positive experiences, as it sounds like you are, and remembering those the next time you are inclined to say “yes” to something that feels a little risky.
All the best to you. I hope you keep commenting!
I love how you use a pop icon like William Shatner to illustrate saying yes. Like how he did those annoying Priceline commercials.
His career rebounded after that. He just put himself out there. And I didn’t hold it against him that he did those stupid commercials, I noticed him.
So next time I’m worried about how people will react if I do something new I’ll just remember that I dig William Shatner and all his risk taking fascinated me. I was never repeled even when he did stuff I wasn’t into.
Great blog in that your example really got me.
No disrespect to the other and obviously laudable guy.
Santa Barbara Jeweler
I love that William Shatner can serve a model to you when you want to do something new and are worried how people will react. I suspect that you will have the same experience he did–that benefits far outweigh the risks!
All the best to you in saying “yes”!
I really enjoy your reading list and comments. Thanks for taking the extra time to create this. Yes, I do try to take at least one risk per day. Merci!
That is awesome, Kymberly! Do you consciously take those risks? To what extent do you believe that taking risks has contributed to the success of Fun and Fit? http://funandfit.org/
Saying “yes” to the unknown does take great courage! However, there is a great amount of growth and/or knowledge that comes from saying “yes” to something that is totally outside of ones comfort zone. Great article!
You are right, it like stretching a new muscle. It is hard at first but we are so much stronger as a result.
Thanks for commenting.
Hi Dr. Lynn,
This was an article that resonated with me. Life is such that we have new circumstances and opportunities to reinvent ourselves. I am currently in such a place of reinventing myself, and find that so often I feel like I am walking in the dark. Scared, not knowing what’s around the next corner…I just keep moving through, as the Robert Frost quotation reads. I am learning a lot about myself; how my thought patterns have a lot of power in my life, and learn to not let my thoughts and fears of the unknown hinder me. Learning to push through the barriers by checking in with how I think about each facet of my new business. Thanks for this blog! Lisa
This was a post that really resonated with me. Life is such that we have new circumstances and opportunities to reinvent ourselves. I am currently in such a place of reinventing myself, and find that so often I feel like I am walking in the dark. Scared, not knowing what’s around the next corner…I just keep moving through, as the Robert Frost quotation reads. I am learning a lot about myself; how my thought patterns have a lot of power in my life, and learn to not let my thoughts and fears of the unknown hinder me. Learning to push through the barriers by checking in with how I think about each facet of my new business. Learning that I am more capable than I ever thought before and my confidence grows with each new challenge!
Thanks for these great pieces of advice !
Lisa Starr- Starr Spa Training
@Starr Spa Training Thanks for sharing your reinvention process, @Starr Spa Training. I am sure you will give inspiration to others that feel as though they are in that dark, scary place. One of the reasons coaching can be so beneficial is to have someone to help you to think as you embark on that journey. I applaud your courage. It will be exciting to see where you land when you go through!