A couple of weeks ago I got asked by a young friend what is the best advice I could give, something that has made a difference in my life that I would encourage others to do. I knew right away what it was.
I remember when I was really young, and just starting out as a pastor and leader, and I made a little promise to myself. It was pretty simple. I would say yes. If I got an opportunity to speak or share, I would do it. I didn’t know much at the time, but I wanted to grow as a communicator. I wanted to be able to share with people, I wanted to be a better a leader. So, I prayed and asked for those opportunities and I promised that I would say yes to them. That was pretty risky for me. I wasn’t the most confident person, I was still learning. I was pretty terrified to stand up in front of a large group, I didn’t really have much to offer. I’d lose my breath when I was talking and start having heart palpitations, but I pressed through.
Growth was more important than fear.
I’d say yes.
Now you can’t ALWAYS say yes. Sometimes schedules get in the way, family needs to come first, and you don’t say yes to things that are harmful or illegal (obviously, but just had to state that). But through the last 20 years, I have always tried to live with a yes attitude.
I’ll rise to the challenge. Even if it’s terrifying.
What if I bomb? Well, then I won’t get asked again. (I have bombed. I made it through!)
I haven’t become a famous orator, or public speaker. But I’m able to stand up in front of people because I said yes. I’m more confident because I said yes. I can share my story because I said yes.
Don’t hide your story because you’re afraid to say yes.
Yes is a part of your story. The scary yes, the challenging yes, the “take me far out of what I am comfortable doing” yes.
Yes applies to all areas of life and experience. It’s not just about speaking. It’s about life. Whatever path you are on, you will have opportunity. To step out. To be brave. To do things you don’t think you can do. To stand up for those who need a voice. Say yes. Do things. Take risks. Being rejected for trying is better than never taking the chance. Doors don’t open because you yell out the word no. Transformation doesn’t come by hiding.
Last week I got an invitation to share at a breakfast. It’s totally out of my comfort and experience zone. I’m really not sure on what level I will connect with this group and the last couple times I spoke I felt really inadequate. I almost said no for those reasons. But then I remembered that young friend who asked me for some advice. I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I still remember the promise I made.
Don’t be afraid