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This is a big question… and many of us would like to say yes, however, if we really stop to think about it, too often something will stop us and we will politely decline, does this sound familiar?

What happens when you politely decline?  Even writing about it now, I get that sinking feeling, what if?  Have you ever felt like that?  I know I have…

Even worse, have you said no, only to see someone else willingly say yes and go on to really make the most of the opportunity?

Do you then go over and over it in your head, kicking yourself about what made you say no, when really you wanted to say yes?  I think, if we are really honest with ourselves, we have all felt like that from time to time.

What do you think holds you back?  Is it a lack of confidence or self-esteem?   Fear of failure?  Fear of judgement from others?  That feeling that you don’t deserve it?  There could be many reasons we say no or turn down opportunities and these are just a few. 

Things like these come up in coaching sessions all of the time, and I don’t know about you, but I know I have felt a few of these throughout my life and I don’t mind admitting that.  When we acknowledge these things, we have the ability to make changes going forward, all of these things can be made easier, we can find ways to overcome them and change our perspective, that is the great thing, it doesn’t have to be this way going forward.

Since I have been self-employed lots of opportunities have come my way and if it is something I am keen to do, to learn or experience I say yes, however years ago I might not have been so confident to do that, to take that leap of faith.

I’d always wanted to write a book, but never thought I would get the opportunity, or maybe people would think it was a bit rubbish?  I have now written three and people tell me that they quite like them, which is hugely flattering. I made a cheeky comment to a networking buddy, Kirk Pickstone, who had just set up their own online radio station, he then gave me an opportunity, and now, for a bit of fun and #LIFEworkbalance, I host my own 90’s show once a week, how cool is that!  Even better people listen and seem to like it, again hugely flattering.

Having a radio show means I can also give other people an opportunity, I interview people for the show, giving them the chance to showcase their business if they have one, but also to reminisce about the 90’s, its great fun.  I was chatting to a friend in the pub about it after football the other week and we joked about asking a local BBC Sports Reporter, Rob Butler, to come on the show, he’s a big Norwich fan like us, so I thought why not, I messaged him to ask and he said yes!  He came on my little show to chat footy and music of the 90s and it was great fun (you can listen back here if you like).

Then a few weeks later, another opportunity came up, when he invited me onto his show, on BBC Radio Norfolk.  I’ll be honest the thought of being on live FM radio made me a little nervous, even though I had been on briefly before, via the phone, but this time it would be in the studio!  If this had been a few years ago it would have been a straight no, but these days I love to take new opportunities, so I said yes.  When I got there I felt nervous, but I have a number of tools to deal with this, I have skills and techniques to overcome my nerves.  Deep breathing is one I like to use; I do lots of yoga, so this style of breathing really works for me.  I reminded myself that if I made a mistake or said something silly, that it wasn’t the end of the world, that lots of people do this kind of thing all the time and I know Rob and it’s just a chat, that it was fun and again, a great opportunity.   

I had a great time and as far as I know I didn’t embarrass myself.  Lots of people I know heard the show and said I came across really well, and the producer said I came across really relaxed, which was great considering how nervous I felt beforehand.

Why am I sharing this?  I think it is important for us all to know that the things we think, feel and experience are felt by everyone from time to time, we are not alone.  The thing is, some of us just hide them better, or have better ways to manage them or overcome them; and when we do that, we are able to say yes to more opportunities and live life more fully. 

The great news is, we can all learn to do this, you can do this, if you want to.  To take that deep breath and be brave next time an opportunity comes your way.   So, what will you do next time you feel like saying no?  Take a moment to consider what would it be like to say yes, how would life be different?

If you would like some help with this, as always if you are interested, please book yourself a free sample session, it could be a waste of 30 minutes of your time or it could just change your life.

Until next time,

Emma

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