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Say "Yes" and Try Something New. A Lesson from My Clients.

How many times has a friend asked you to do something “out of the box” for you and you declined because it’s just not your thing? Maybe inside you think it could be your thing but you feel uncomfortable or just assumed that because you’d never done it, you wouldn’t like, or didn’t believe you could even do it. Maybe it involves going to the beach, meeting new people, or a popular group activity that many people are doing nowadays. I mean what if you look stupid? What if no one likes you?

One of the hardest people to open up to is yourself. We often give credit to other people for stepping out of their comfort zones but our own fear of the unknown stops us. It keeps us from new experiences, people, and growth in general. We’ve all been there. Wouldn’t you agree that the unknown is almost always worse than the real thing?
Recently, I had the honor of leading six amazing clients in a four mile, 22 obstacle run. It was incredible. I saw this group (ages 30s to 60s) not only step out of comfort zones, but step into arenas not “meant for them.” Each and every person grew in their own way — from learning to be part of a team, to getting over psychological barriers around height, to honoring their unique abilities, and simply signing up. The internal pride they all exude now is so inspiring. And it wasn’t easy. The obstacles they faced along the way are the same ones you and I have faced, too. Fears, doubts, comparison, unsupportive friends and family who are just showing concern. We all face internal and external obstacles. Think of all of the times you were on the verge of saying ”yes” and one small comment from a naysayer pulled you back. How many times have you been that person giving limiting advice? Projecting our own concerns onto others is not uncommon. After all, they may be concerns you’d have for yourself. In addition to their swelling pride, after the obstacle run each person has told me how their doubters have all told them how inspired they are and how many are considering doing an obstacle run now, too.
When you try something new and step out of the routine of daily living you not only get a new opportunity to find something to enjoy, you motivate others to do the same. Now that is a winning scenario. Start small: try out a new coffee shop on the way to work, talk to a stranger in the elevator, or take a community class. As you gain confidence and build self-esteem it will snowball into more “yes” answers and continue to open your mind and self-discovery.
If you look back on your life you might see that many of your interests have changed. You’ve probably even found a new skill or talent along the way. Our interests and experiences not only enable us to feel enriched but allow us to connect to other people. I often say that we all pedal at different speeds – just because it wasn’t for you a couple of years ago doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience today. And the best part: you don’t have to commit to anything long-term if you don’t want to. So step out and try something new this week, and say “yes” when the opportunity arises.

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