Lessons of Yes

If you follow along on social media and/or participate in our webinar series, you know that we’ve been considering how and why to say yes a bit less. Our webinar presenter Jeffrey Cufaude provided helpful tools that can help us determine when no is the answer. (And let us say, these are tools that we can actually implement – they are that good and that applicable.)

What about when you have cultivated the aptitude to say no? What about when you are ready to say yes?

Saying no, and even saying yes less often, gifts us with the opportunity to say YES to the people, challenges, and opportunities that are most aligned with who we are and who we want to be. When looking to saying yes role models, we’re called to Ms. Shonda Rhimes. Her TED Talk, and to a more comprehensive degree, her book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, welcomed us into her journey – and discoveries – of saying yes.

—shonda rhimes

Although Shonda’s experience was to yes to everything over the course of the year, we have been thinking about how to be discerning when we are in a say yes place. How can we hold saying yes and living our life with purpose and in congruence?

While you craft your “yes” areas, we want to encourage you to do so with purpose. With intention. Here are a few areas that we think offer clarity and encouragement to know what to say yes to.

Core Values
We believe that being a person of integrity is one of the most important ways to be in life. It is one of the most important contributions we can make to our lives and our leadership. When saying yes, consider how congruent the opportunity is to your core values.

Cause & Contribution
We find that people do their best work when contributing to the causes that they care about most. What are you working for and toward when your passions and interests are awakened? Say yes to that. Prioritize that. Be in service to that.

It’s important to clarify that you aren’t asking yourself whether you should care about that thing that has been offered to you. It is not possible to truly and consistently care about every issue we face in the world. Care about what calls to you as deeply as you can and appreciate that someone else cares just as deeply about the things that you aren’t centering.  

Being Your Best Self
Saying yes isn’t only about doing, it is also about being. Direct your yeses to where you can be your best self, contribute your best self, and grow into the best version of you.

With Vigor and Energy
There is an old interview with Ann Richards (former Governor of Texas) where she remarks on how she doesn’t believe we are meant to spend our lives in drudgery. She encourages people to enjoy what they can. We hope you can direct your yeses to the things in life that give you joy! That you can approach with vigor and energy, even if that energy includes a little bit of healthy fear.

Say Yes to No
This one is direct from Shonda (Chapter 11 in her book) and explored in the Say Yes Less webinar. No is a complete sentence. It is ok to say no. It’s helpful to be so connected and intentional with what you say yes to that deciding what to say no to is easy.

Whether you are in a Say Yes Less or Say Yes mindset in life right now, we hope you are intentional about your choices. When you find you are saying yes too often or without intention, come back to this post and find congruence in your yeses again!

Celebrating 2018

In December we celebrated what was by looking back at the past year and thinking of 12 AMAZING things we did in 2018.

“Everyone has to face obstacles. Everybody has to face hurdles. It’s what you do with those that determine how successful you’re going to be.” – Craig Sager

By looking back, we are remembering things that may have been forgotten. Our minds may focus on the most recent things that have happened in our lives, but when we dig all the way back to January 1, 2018, we understand how far we have truly come this year. By looking back at what you have accomplished throughout the year, you can motivate yourself to keep doing all the things! By looking back on what we have done this year, our minds open up to the possibilities of the upcoming year. Learning from the past allows us to grow into the person we want to be.*img_5424

Being able to look back and see how we have been living out your vision helps to demonstrate who you are and how you have been presenting yourself to others. We as an institution are looking back to ensure we are helping to create a just and caring world through the work that we are doing. It’s important to continue to keep our mission and vision front and center, and one way to do that is by re-visiting what we have done this year.

We want to encourage you to take some time today to revisit your year so you, too, can celebrate what was great about 2018 and learn from the hurdles you faced. Use our template (on right) and write down some of your accomplishments! Tag us on social media (@LeaderShape) to show us your 2018 highlights.

Looking to What Could Be

With 2019 quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the new year will bring. And not only am I thinking, I am feeling, too. Nervous. Sad. Excited. I am feeling all of that at the same time, and I like it. It is messy, but Paul, LeaderShape president, always talks about how you should stay in the mess because that is where you learn the most.

Can you relate to having mixed feelings like this?

photo of a sign and eyeglasses on table

Photo by Binti Malu on Pexels.com

November and December seem to be the months when people celebrate with family and friends, and reflect on memories from the year that was. For me? It is a race to finish strong, and a chance to begin “new habits” a bit early.

To be honest with you, that is something that I am still working on. Diving into the mindset off finishing strong to start strong is going to be a journey, but one where I hope to learn and grow, and invite you to do the same! Here are three ways that I am putting my possibility mindset into action.

  1. Ask why. I’ll sit down, usually in a cozy spot, with an instrumental playlist in the background. At first I’ll allow my mind to just wander. Then I’ll zero in on an experience and begin asking myself intentional questions about it, beginning with “why?”. Let me tell you, asking “why” works wonders; doing this has helped me to better understand what my purpose could be and what I want out of life.

  2. Mind map. Get some handy-dandy colored pens and paper and start writing out your thoughts and see where that takes you. For example, by mind mapping, I have been able to see where my stressors lie and what new directions my energy and effort could travel to. Tip: if you have trouble at first, use a prompt! Try this one out: If you didn’t have to worry about money or people’s opinions, what would you do with your life? If you aren’t sure how to get started with your own mind mapping, this article might help.

  3. Don’t just dream, act.  After I’ve found some clarity through asking why and mind mapping, I don’t want to stop there! Cue the sticky notes (neatly) scattered around my desk and list of to do’s and not to do’s. By taking these actions, even small ones, I am left with a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep going. Putting in the initial work and effort will set the stage for what the future can be.  

In what ways do you focus on the future? How can you use your time before
the end of the year to help you look to what could be in 2019?

Colby Brown is a Community Engagement Intern for LeaderShape. He participated in the Institute (2015), served as an On-Site Coordinator for national sessions of the Institute (2017, 2018), and recently participated in Catalyst (2018). As a retired mascot and recent graduate, he spends his young professional life giving back and pursuing a graduate degree in Higher Education, Student Affairs.