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Say YES!…it changes you

What do I need to say “yes” to?

This was the reflection question that came across my email about a month ago in the weekly podcast post, “Best of Ourselves” from my friend and leadership coach, Marcia Hyatt. The podcast was titled “Saying Yes.” Of course, I clicked on it instantly.

YES! has been my favorite word for five years.

It’s been a big part of my new life as a happy, healthy and fit girl living from the center of the equation. Since I hit my weight-loss goal in May 2012, I’ve been on a YES! mission to live, experience and DO all the things that I was too afraid or ashamed to do as a BIG girl living a small life. And I’m having a ball!

Saying YES! does NOT mean saying yes to everyone and everything. It does NOT mean giving it all away while focusing on others. That might have been my old definition, but it’s also how I lost myself along the way.

Nope. Today, saying YES! means pushing outside of my comfort zone…saying yes to the things that scare me…saying yes to living brave…going for what I really, really, really want…validating that who I am is enough. And, that distinction is absolutely critical.

I changed when I started saying YES! …

to the things that scare me, challenge me, and to things I’ve never done before.

I feel braver. More alive. More self-confident. I’ve learned more about what I like and don’t like, want and don’t want. I’ve opened myself up in amazing new ways. Had fun. Loved deeply. Cried — tears of sadness and joy. Gotten way better at saying no and setting healthy boundaries. I am a better listener. I’ve experienced deeper comfort with my imperfect self and new body. And more!

It’s been a truly awesome ride. Indeed, it has and still is changing me from the inside out.

What do I need to say yes to?

Yet, the question — “What do I need to say yes to?” — gave me pause. It’s a provocative question that beckons deep reflection and it hit me at a time in my life when I knew I needed to stop and figure it out. Thus, the hiatus in my blogging.

The answer that first popped into my head and needed to be honored, was ME. I need to say yes to ME right now. That meant taking a time out and re-energizing my focus on me.

That sounds selfish right? Nope. For me the decision was about self-care, self-love, self-acceptance, and staying a healthy, happy  and fit girl who gives to herself AND to others. It was about survival.

So for those of you who have missed the blog, or wondered what happened, I hope I am living by example and practicing what I preach. I’m still in deep reflection on the question and I am living into the answers.

For the past month, I’ve been learning to navigate new territory with my weight and the “M” word (menopause) that affects all women at a certain age. I now have a new appreciation for my body and my health, and an even deeper understanding of what works for me. I’ve learned to practice patience (something I’m not very good at). I’ve spent a lot of time reading and reflecting. I’ve developed a new morning ritual that includes a mindful mediation practice that I love. I’ve tried new nutrition and workout plans to jump-start a stalled metabolism. I have new walking partners that I enjoy and am walking 2x most days. I’m dating and putting myself out there again — this time really embracing it. I’m dancing in the kitchen a lot more! I’m meeting new people. And, I’m pondering deep subjects and paths under the question – What do I need to say YES to?

I still don’t have the answers, but I am living into them. And I am okay with that.

Saying YES! to the things that scare me, challenge me, and take me out of my comfort zone. (Shonda Rimes, Year of YES)

What a delight it was last year to read Shonda Rimes’ bestseller titled: “Year of Yes. Her engaging, delightful and authentic book put into words what I was living out loud and had commissioned the new, healthier me to do. I agree wholeheartedly with Shonda Rimes that the very act of doing the thing that scares me, removes the fear and opens me up.

I’ve found an evolved me. A happier me. A healthier me. A braver me. A much more alive me. And frankly, right now, I can’t imagine life in my old “no” mode. I can’t imagine living small.

If you haven’t read the book or listened to Shonda’s Ted Talk, “My Year of Saying Yes to Everything,” I highly encourage it. My feeling is everyone’s journey is a little bit different and it is in the act of saying YES and just BE-ING that helps you discover your answers.

Saying YES! and …

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I first said YES to myself 6.5 years ago when I agreed to leave my start-up marketing business in the hands of others and attend a two-week weight-loss boot camp. I was absolutely terrified. But somewhere deep inside me, I knew I had to say YES. I knew I had to choose ME and be bolder and braver than perhaps I had ever been.

That was the beginning of saying YES! to putting myself in the equation of my own life and practicing self-care vs. always putting work and others first. After I hit my goal weight, in May 2012, I decided to say a big and enthusiastic YES! to everything that I had put off or blown off because of my weight, low self-esteem and fear.

I said YES! to climbing mountains. I said YES! to my first 5K, 10K and then a half marathon. I said YES! to dating. YES! to love. YES! to new travel adventures…to riding a Harley…to speaking engagements…to difficult conversations…to being on national TV to share my story…to starting a second business to follow my passion and dreams. And more!

I’m still saying YES! and…

And, I’m still pondering the question, “What do I need to say YES to” next? Right now?

Tell me about your journey with the word YES. I want to hear from you.

It’s good to be back, peeps. Make it a fabulous and In-Your-Equation week!

xo

Lori

Related blogs on exploring YES and living Brave:

One Brave Thing Series

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