In 2018, you may be just one word away from epic adventures: when you start taking risks in life by saying “yes” to new opportunities.
Everyone’s seen the meme that answers the question “Why are people afraid of change?” It’s a calculated risk any time we leave our comfort zone.
Working on building your social circle and attracting more high-quality people into your life? There’s no challenge more rewarding than practicing saying yes. This goes double for introverts!
Anyone Can Say Yes — But Will You Follow Through?
We’ve all had that moment of regret, wondering why on earth we agreed to go out, meet up with friends, or have people over. It sounded good on paper when it was some abstract future event. “Yes, sure! That sounds great!” we say.
Then with a whoosh of calendar pages, the time comes, and all of a sudden we start looking for excuses to get out of taking risks in life. Worse, we bail and hope nobody notices. Not the way to go if you’re working on becoming a high-value person yourself. Your word matters. Keeping it is never more crucial than when you’re trying to establish new relationships.
Facebook Events is the perfect example. Someone’s got something going on. You figure it sounds fun, so you say yes, you’ll be there. The time comes, and suddenly there are a million reasons you don’t want to go. Maybe you figure nobody will notice. So, you take a calculated risk and skip it. At that point, it’s hard to know which is worse: if people call you on it, or if they don’t.
Why is it so hard to show up? There’s anxiety, of course. But what we’ve seen in our coaching is that many people have also lost touch with what interests them, what they’ll enjoy. When that happens, nothing sounds better than hunkering down and binge-watching Netflix. So we miss out on the kind of new opportunities that could literally change our lives. But there’s a life hack for that!
Calculated Risk: Yes with an Escape Hatch
Part of the anxiety that drives us to bail on invites for new opportunities is the sense of finality about it all. There’s this fear that if you go, you’re stuck whether you like it or not. Pretty high stakes, so the temptation to skip the whole thing makes sense.
But here’s a hack that’s worked well for me — and for our Bootcamp students: Go. But only for an hour…unless you’re having a blast (which you probably will).
A lot of times we have in our mind, “I wouldn’t enjoy that.” But if you show up and stay an hour, you may be surprised by how much fun you can have. There’s magic in this. Now you know you’re not committed to being there all night. You have an out! You made the scene, you were there, but you’re not trapped.
Saying yes to that first hour gives you an opportunity to flex your muscles a little bit and work on your social skills. Then after the hour is up, you are free to go home. Call that Uber or Lyft, and don’t feel bad about it. You still get to check the box: “I did something new!”
Afraid of Change? Three Rewards for Bravery (Even If It Goes Badly)
When AJ and I started working out, we used that time limit escape hatch to help us build momentum with this new habit. We started with a 20-minute workout, and when it was done, we could decide to stay longer or call it a day. After a while, that built up to longer, more frequent workouts, which created their own reward.
Great for exercise, but what if you go for it with new opportunities? What if you commit to staying for an hour, and it still goes horribly wrong? No matter how it goes, you come home a winner because you get these three perks just for showing up:
- You’ll always get a cool story to tell your friends. Some of the best stories come from making mistakes and messing stuff up. Right? But no matter how nervous you are that it’s going to go badly, at the very least, you’ll get a great story to tell.
- You get the experience and the confidence points you earn by doing something new. No one can take that away, even if it doesn’t go perfectly. That’s just a done deal.
- You’ll learn something about yourself that you didn’t know, and that’s invaluable. Usually what you learn is that you’re capable of more than you thought you were. That’s the most powerful lesson anyone can learn.
In teaching the bootcamp here, I’ve noticed something. Many of our guys say stuff like, “I don’t have that many passions; I don’t know what my passions are. You guys are passionate about the podcast, passionate about the business, passionate about music and golf, but how do I find my passion?” Finding your passion starts with saying yes to taking risks in life. You can’t possibly determine what you’re passionate about without trying something new. Most passions develop over time rather than by flipping a switch. Your passions find you. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never know what new interests you might have developed.
Still a Little Anxious?
When anxiety strikes, it’s easy to psych ourselves out, downplaying our strengths and over exaggerating our weaknesses. But if you stay that first hour, the lesson that will often come out of it is “I had more fun than I thought I would. I was able to talk to more people than I thought I would.”
It’s breaking out of being stuck in our heads — and taking action in any way is huge. Plus, that sort of action-taking adds the kind of balance we need to be happy in life. It’s a balance between familiarity and new experiences that stretch us.
You can be mindful of expanding yourself in three significant areas of life: physical, mental, and emotional. By saying “yes” to opportunities in all three, we get benefits we just can’t get by doing the same old thing every single day.
If You Build It, They Will Come
We’ve saved the very best part for last. See, when once you’ve built a life with space for more high-value people in your life, they will start to appear.
You’ll find yourself getting invitations to hang out and share even more new experiences. You fill out your social calendar, and suddenly it’s easier to have better conversations when you meet new people. You’ll have more stories to tell and a broader base of experiences shared with others. Plus, you’ll always have somewhere interesting to invite new friends.
Your old first reaction might have been an automatic “no.” Now you’ll find it easier to say “yes” to life-enriching opportunities instead. It just takes a bit of courage and practice.
Are You Up for a Challenge? Just for the Next Two Weeks?
Step outside your comfort zone. When someone asks you to do something, and you’re a little unsure, say, “YES!” and do it anyway. There’s power in that “yes” that comes from taking action. You may be just one word away from the best adventures of your whole life.
[Featured photo by Jakob Owens]