Last week, I attended Speak Up, a storytelling show in Hartford, Connecticut, where each of the participants delivered a poignant life story from the stage. For some, sharing a personal account with intimate details to an audience of over 500 people was a new experience, while others seemed more seasoned and comfortable with the stage. Although each presenter had a slightly different approach to storytelling, they all had one thing in common: each presenter had said YES.
By saying YES to this experience, each presenter also agreed to saying:
- Yes to being vulnerable,
- Yes to crafting and sharing an intimate piece of his or her own history,
- Yes to taking a risk,
- Yes to creating greater connection with others,
- Yes to the opportunity to learn and grow
Every new journey starts the moment each of us says YES.
Matthew Dicks, author and co-creator of the event SpeakUp, kicked off the evening by explaining how this idea came to life. While Matthew is an acclaimed speaker and enjoys the thrill of being in front of a crowd, his wife Elysha did not share the same quest for the spotlight. She did, however, agree to hosting the first SpeakUp event–and has been the event host ever since. Elysha stepped out of her comfort zone to do something bigger than she thought possible because she believed in what they were creating. She stepped up in the moment and said YES.
Three Reasons Why You Should Say YES:
#1. Say YES To Get in the Game
Every football game I have been to has cheerleaders, fans in the stands, quarterbacks, players, and coaches. At certain times in our lives, we begin only to identify with being able to play one role in the game. While sometimes we need to watch from the sidelines, don’t let this be the only role you are willing to play. Too many of us have become viewers in our own lives and aren’t willing to jump in. Try it all. Try everything. Then decide if it is something you want to pursue. I don’t believe Elysha will ever claim to have a passion for speaking on stage. I would guess it is more of a love-hate relationship. She followed her heart in the moment and announced on stage her gratitude for all the good that has flowed into her life from saying YES to this adventure. Never mind if it is a passion right now, go for living passionately instead!
#2. Say YES To Appreciating the Process
Let’s face it. Not everything will be a success. I can almost guarantee there will be failures–or will there? It depends on your definition. When we live passionately by saying YES, we are also agreeing that “the stumbling blocks in life will become stepping-stones to our success” (a favorite quote of mine from yoga extraordinaire, Todd Norian.) Let’s celebrate each win, but also appreciate the process. I am quite sure the most recent SpeakUp! event would not have been as successful if there hadn’t been stumbling blocks during the last three years of hosting smaller gatherings. Keep happiness in your heart to appreciate the amazing lessons and experiences that we open ourselves up to when we say YES.
#3. Say YES To Start Focusing on the Here and Now (aka., the Present)
We can get paralyzed by the big picture. Most of the time, we just need to take the first small step to start living in connection to what we really need. Another favorite quote of mine is from Martin Luther King, Jr., “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” It’s okay not to know where we will end up. If we just keep saying yes to the flow of what makes our hearts sing now, in the present, the end goal might not even be as sweet as the journey.
This year, I said YES to selecting a “one-word theme for 2016” instead of my usual resolutions. This came from a place of wanting to cultivate more of what I want to have in my life rather than setting strict goals to conquer. I knew what I planned to focus on would grow. The theme of the storytelling night was Near Misses, but as each person walked on to the stage I kept thinking about the “one-word theme” I choose for 2016: Bold. Each one began their bold, new journey into living their fullest potential by first saying YES.
What are you willing to say YES to this year?