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.

2018 Palmer Award Recipient: Briana Landis

We are so excited to announce this year’s Palmer Award Recipient! Meet and help us to congratulate Briana Landis, an Institute graduate from Meredith College, whose vision is “to create a world free of Multiple Sclerosis.”

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For those unfamiliar with the disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system. This attack on the brain and spinal cord disrupts signals to and from the brain. This interruption can create a variety of problems from numbness to blindness to paralysis.

research

Briana herself was diagnosed with MS when she was 4 years old and prior to participating in the Institute, she interned with the research lab DiscoveryMS. These experiences helped Briana to understand the need for funding to be directed towards MS research.

Through her experience at the Institute, Briana realized that, although she is young, she really can make a significant impact on what she cares about! She can be bold in her vision of a world free of Multiple Sclerosis. As she developed her vision further, Briana set a stretch goal to speak with local government officials about funding for MS on the state level as well as eventually speaking with Congress to demonstrate the need for funding on a national level.

Take a look at Briana’s progress!

  • Shared her story at multiple events that were raising money for Multiple Sclerosis
  • Was approached by the National MS Society and asked to go to Congress and speak on their behalf
  • Researched which bills were connected to Multiple Sclerosis and met with the National MS Society to understand the issues more deeply
  • Traveled to DC and spoke with members of Congress and the head of the MS Caucus
  • Met with her local state representative and the Governor of North Carolina

While in DC speaking to members of Congress, Briana asked for support of the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act. This act would prohibit large pharmaceutical companies from having programs that limit access to generic drugs. Briana shared that, on average, a person living with MS will pay $2500.00 a month on medication. Getting the CREATES Act passed means more people will be able to afford the medications they need and enjoy a better quality of life as their symptoms are being treated.28870387_1816760605055167_7650265836946946227_n

There has been progress on the Neurological Conditions Surveillance System, another area that Briana spoke with legislators about. Although previously passed, no funding had been given. Funding has now been established and preliminary results shows there are more than one million people in the United States with Multiple Sclerosis. Earlier studies estimated that number to be only half of that. The census results demonstrate the need for resources to be allocated to those with the disease and for research.

Through her work with her local Representatives and Governor, Briana as advocated for more funding for North Carolina’s Affordable Housing initiative. The passing of this initiative benefits people with MS who have been homebound by providing them with easy-to assemble ramps for their homes. MS can limit one’s physical mobility, keeping them homebound. Those in this situation may not be able to attend doctor’s appointments, pick up prescriptions, run errands, or see friends and family – all activities important to one’s physical and mental health. These ramps can add so much value to those living with MS by helping them be more mobile and offering an increased level of independence and freedom.

Briana’s knows her work is not done yet! Even so, she shared that she is eager to one day say, “I used to have MS.”