Paul Boynton’s book called Begin with Yes is delightfully honest and clear. “Begin with Yes,” speaks to what it takes to move ahead with what’s important to us, whether it’s to start meditating, help out your parents, move into a new career or change a habit. It’s not about having positive thoughts. It’s about what we all have inside us already. We can use far more of this reservoir of strength than most of us do, and he shows us how.
Here are several ways I interpreted Begin with Yes, as an approach to change.
- How often are we women told “Learn to say ‘no’ more often.” Say no, so you don’t overburden yourself. Say no, so you have more time for what’s important. And here he is telling us to say “Yes.” The key is to understand what IS important, so you say “Yes,” with choice.
- It’s so easy (I do this, too) to hear a new idea and think, “But HOW could I do that?” It’s the “how” question, which stops most of us cold. Ask first, “Yes or no?” Is this something you want or need to do for your life? I have a set of business decision making filters or criteria, which takes the emotion out of making major decisions about my business. Use your pros/cons list. Talk to the people you love. Decide first if you want to make the choice and the commitment. Figure out the implementation later, because if it’s important enough, you will make it happen.
- We get frozen or overwhelmed sometimes. We need to find that one small step to which we can say “Yes.” That one small “yes” moves us ahead ever so slightly. Pretend you can do it until you can. “Act as if” you already know what to do next. Trust. Faith in yourself. Faith in the journey or the process.
- Make the choice to say “Yes, I can do this.” Begin by saying ‘yes’ to yourself, your commitment, and to believe you’ll have your skills and capabilities… just take a step in faith.
- I have a favorite question when someone is stuck: “What else might be going on here? What are some other possibilities?” This is another way we sometimes need to say “yes,” to other possibilities we hadn’t thought of at first. But when we slow down and ask this question, we find solutions.
Here are a few favorite, essential quotes from my reading of Begin with Yes. And my next blog article will be an interview with Paul Boynton.
”Finding our power when we’re overwhelmed, confused, or depressed requires us to do something even when we don’t want to or don’t feel we can. …taking action is the only way out. We may not be able to clean the entire house but we can clean out one kitchen drawer. We may not be able to find a new job but we can make a list of the kinds of jobs that might appeal to us.” (page 91, Nook version).
“A question that each of us needs to ask: who do we want around us? And then the more important question: who do we want to be? The answers…suggest clear and simple actions you can take which will move you in the direction you want to move.”(page143)
“Remember you don’t find your power and then take action. You find your power by taking actions.” (page93)
“Begin by paying attention to how often you say ‘no.’ …. it can be an absolute ‘no’ or a softer, turning away from possibility or opportunity…As you begin to pay attention…begin to imagine more open ‘yes’ responses. For example, instead of saying ‘no, I can’t play the violin,’ …say, ‘Yes, I could learn to play the violin if I found a teacher and rented an instrument.’ Because that’s true.” (page 76)
“It’s really about learning to shift how you view the world…. shifting your vantage point, or outlook, and it’s about choosing realities that work better for you.” (page 76)
I am excited to meet him in person; if you haven’t heard, he is in Concord, New Hampshire next, on March 13th.