REFLECTION: One of my vacation projects involved sifting through the digital photos from our 2009 adventures. I usually pull a few pics and create a ‘Year In Photos’ holiday message for friends and family. This year, I went one step further and created a digital photo album that is about to be printed as a hard cover book. Although digital images and slide shows are fine, there’s something appealing about leafing through an album you can hold in your hands. Bless Apple’s iPhoto software for making this so easy and inexpensive.
What I discovered as I flipped my way through the photo highlights of the year is that they all shared one thing in common: a ‘Yes’ response to the possibilities.
Want to head somewhere to celebrate a 35th anniversary? Want to throw a hat in the ring for a business award competition? Want to do 5 K in the Bridge City Boogie? Want to serve on a planning committee and MC a leadership conference? Want to host a couple of American friends for Canada Day? Want to invite the kids and grandson to join us at the lake? Want to tack a few days of pleasure onto business trips to Calgary, Victoria, and Phoenix? Want to deliver the closing keynote for the National Speakers Association Fall Conference? Want to climb into a glider for a flight over the Sonoran desert?
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
ACTION: One of the most common questions asked in the seminars I deliver on handling life’s overload is, “How do I say no?” To be sure, there is a time and a place and an art to saying no, setting boundaries and defining limits. However, creating a full and engaging life goes well beyond building a dyke to hold back the rising tide of demands.
There is also a time, a place, and an art to saying yes. Yes to adventure, connection, challenge and service.
In the days and weeks ahead, when opportunities and expectations arise, take a moment to think about how you will answer the call. Consider not only the potential burden of taking something on, but also the potential delight.
Ask yourself whether a positive response to this request might enrich your life or add value to the lives of others. Saying yes could lead to experiences and memories you will gladly highlight in your ‘2010 Year In The Life Review’ twelve months down the road.
Many of life’s best memories begin with a forward look and an enthusiastic yes. What will you say yes to this year?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: A paraphrase of artist Bryan Atyeo’s advice with respect to painting (and perhaps life): “If you’re looking at your paper or canvas and wondering whether you should try ‘X’ in your painting, the answer is always yes. At the very least you’ll learn what doesn’t work!”
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: If you haven’t seen it already, you might enjoy the film, Yes Man, featuring Jim Carrey. It’s a madcap look at the upside and downside of making ‘yes’ your go-to response to everything that comes your way.
READERS WRITE: In response to the last Pause message of 2009, Your Year In Review, reader MM writes: “2009 was FULL of opportunities and choices. Some choices made were good and some were not so good; but looking back over the year I feel as if I lived it to the fullest! I took chances and lived life as it came. Not all of the outcomes were what I wanted, but I didn’t miss a single chance that came my way. I have no regrets. It was a successful year and carrying that attitude with me makes me look forward to 2010!”