As a career-focused, modern woman, I realized I had been putting my job before everything else in my life. I was always in the middle of a million things. I felt so lost until one day I thought to myself, “What if I started saying, ‘yes’ to everything?” However, then I checked my calendar and realized I didn’t really have time for that, so I started saying, “Yes, but I’m super swamped with work” instead. Here’s what happened.
A close friend invited me on a once-in-a-lifetime, all-expenses paid ski trip to the Alps. Though I’d never been before, I immediately imagined myself sipping a hot toddy in a charming Swiss lodge. It would be a new experience for me, but with my new receptive attitude I told my friend, “Yes!” Then I quickly followed it with, “But actually, we’re getting ready to launch a new client campaign and I can’t really take the time off. Maybe when it’s over? Try texting me then! ”
It sure would have been fun to hit the slopes! However, the power of saying, “Yes, but I’m super swamped with work” gave me the strength to say yes and no to adventure,.
I also wanted to open myself to love during my year of “Yes! Ugh! Fuck. No. I can’t. I have a work thing, sorry.” Though the old me would have been closed off to being whisked away by a handsome stranger, the new me had become a totally different story!
James, the barista I had always had a crush on, must have noticed my new, more open but ultimately just as closed-off mindset, because when I went in for my morning latte, he asked me out! I had been waiting for this moment for a while, so I said, “Yes!” But then I remembered I was behind on my reports and knew I’d have to stay up until midnight doing them, so that’s what I told him. He could have been my soul mate, but spreadsheets aren’t going to fill themselves out, so I’m staying sort of open to the idea of him.
The magic of saying ‘yes’ and then ‘no’ also applies to the workplace! My boss told me I seemed really stressed out and thought I was overworking myself, so he asked if I wanted to take a vacation for a week, which was an incredible opportunity for me! The new me said, “Yes!” Then the new me also said, “But as much as I’d love to, I probably shouldn’t. I’m so busy,” and started crying a little.
I’ve been putting off taking a vacation for about three years now. This would have been the perfect opportunity to seize the day and visit Paris, like I’ve always wanted. But at the same time, work, you know? I’ll always have Paris. But not now.
We live so much of our lives focused on our jobs and not open to the world around us. It felt liberating to allow myself to be receptive to opportunities, and then immediately just as non-receptive as I was before. “Yes” is an incredible word. But so is the phrase, “I’m swamped.”
I had no regrets during my experiment. I learned a lot. I had no idea what I was closing myself off to by saying, “No!” I still haven’t jumped on any of the opportunities that presented themselves, but at least now I know exactly what I’m missing out on!