- Welcome back to the fifth in a series of weekly reflections on the tiny shifts that change everything.
The decisions and choices involved with moving to and getting settled in Switzerland began to feel like running a marathon by mid-January this year. Like marathon runners who hit a wall of fatigue around mile 22 out of 26 and want to curl up in a ditch, I just wanted it to be over and began defaulting to “no” when and wherever I could. Problem was, this didn’t improve things and wasn’t much fun. So, I decided to flip it around and started saying yes when and wherever I could.
Do you want to go meet some colleagues for drinks after work?- Yes!
Do you want to sign up for an introduction to biathlon at Les Mosses on your day off? – Yes!
Do you want to sign up for the Engadin Ski Marathon (a 42km skate ski race)? - Yes!
Do you want to come in for a cup of coffee or a beer? - Yes!
Breaking my "no" habit took persistence, as focusing on what was between me and saying yes had become reflexive.
No, I don’t want to go for drinks—I just came in from a cold and rainy bike commute.
No, I don’t want to drive back up the lake to Les Mosses because I just drove down the lake from Verbier.
No I don’t want to sign up for the marathon—I’ve hardly skate skied recently and it’s a 7 hour train ride to the Engadin Valley.
Thanks, but no, I don’t have time to come in. I have lots of things I need to do today.
Committing to say yes when and wherever I could shifted my focus on how to say yes in spite of what I placed or perceived to be in my way, sidestepping the swamp of “I’m too tired, too busy, or too uncomfortable” to do whatever.
With yes as my default, I now reserve “no” for where I truly have a conflict or am not able to do it – often because I’ve already said yes to something else.
By the time the ski school made a last minute ask that I travel from Verbier to Zermatt to teach during the busiest week of the season, saying yes was my new habit. I did have a moment’s hesitation about where I would stay and how I would navigate and teach at a huge and complicated German speaking resort that spilled over into Italy, but my new habit kicked in and I quickly said yes. It was one of the most magical weeks of my life.
New behaviors take a while to become habits, at least they do for me. When a last-minute opportunity to join a hut-to-hut ski trip came my way in late April, I was back in the swamp of indecision. Then a sudden health scare in Hannah’s family, which happily turned out to be a false alarm, provided a stark reminder of how quickly circumstances can change. Realizing this could be my one and only chance to do a trip like this, I said - Yes! and my yes habit was back on track with the extra reinforcement that life is a limited time offer.
I invite you to try yes as your default reaction to whatever comes your way this week wherever and whenever you can. If you like the results, you might want to make it a habit!
If you want to say yes to more of your life please contact me via the email below.
If you know of someone else who might be interested, please contact me directly.
Thanks for reading!
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Au revoir for now!