Life throws you an opportunity. Perhaps it’s a new job, a chance to attend a weekend workshop, or an invitation to join a friend on a trip overseas. If you’re like most people, you probably greet these opportunities with a mixture of glee and dread. You’re excited by the possibility of that new job, workshop or trip…but at the same time you can think of a thousand reasons to say no. Which impulse do you follow?
If you assess yourself as hanging back and saying “no” to new possibilities that arise, you may be developing a pattern that can lead to regrets down the road. According to Todd Kashdan, George Mason University professor and author of Curious?, a well-lived life stems from adopting the attitude of an explorer. An explorer is a person who is comfortable trying something new, who is at ease with risk, challenge and uncertainty. Instead of worrying about what might go wrong, an explorer is curious about the outcome and willing to give it a try.
All of us are besieged by doubts. Your limiting beliefs and negative patterns have a way of becoming extremely vocal as you venture out of your comfort zone. Often times, we give in to this mind chatter because we think the messages are accurate. More often than not, the limiting messages you are receiving are based on old life scripts and outdated assumptions.Instead of succumbing to these negative patterns and saying “no” to a new opportunity, why not become an explorer.
Are you curious about how to “just say yes?” Here are some steps to follow that will set your exploring side in motion:
- Acknowledge your concerns. Don’t push aside the limiting beliefs that arise. When you are saying to yourself, “I’m not experienced enough,” or “I’m too scared to drive there alone,” ask yourself if these statements are old, familiar patterns that come up whenever you venture into new territory. Become an explorer and look for the evidence from your past experiences that disputes these limiting beliefs. If you’re still stuck, you might try getting a reality check from someone who knows you well and supports your growth.
- Check in with your intuition. Wisdom comes from paying attention to the facts as well as your “gut feeling.” Take some time to clear your mind and find the silent place within. Now see what your higher self has to say. Your higher self is that part of you that knows your strengths, skills, potential and capabilities. Is your higher self encouraging you to say “yes?” By the way, don’t expect to feel 100% certain. Remember, you are stepping out of your comfort zone, so nervousness and anxiety are a natural part of the process.
- If you still can’t make a decision, fast forward ahead to the future. Will you regret having said “no?” If you anticipate any regrets, put on your explorer hat. Sometimes there’s a short term cost to saying “yes” in terms of resources, time or stress. But an explorer is willing to take a short term risk for a long term benefit. While there is no guarantee of success if you say “yes,” there very well may be the certainty of future regrets.
Remember, not every explorer ventures out at every opportunity that appears. If your fear is too high, this may not be the right time to step out of your comfort zone. If you can’t get a good read from your higher self, you may need to wait for a clearer signal. And if you think you might regret missing out on this venture, there are always new opportunities that crop up in the future.
So, say “yes” to your inner explorer. The next time you meet up with a new possibility, use these steps to set sail to new adventures. And if the time isn’t right, no problem. There’s always another boat ready to launch, as long as you’re curious enough to get onboard.