Before you say no, think about the opposite and utter that instead. It will be worth it.
As a whole, humans tend to be good at saying no. In fact, we’re so good at saying no, we don’t even need to say the word itself! Instead, we eloquently dance around it:
Oh, I could never do that race. I’m not good at hills.
That course isn’t suited to my abilities.
I’m not the right body type.
I don’t want to embarrass you guys with my slow splits.
I’m certainly guilty of this. In the past, I’ve cherry-picked races best suited to my abilities — at least, the abilities I thought I had. I’ve also graciously turned down group training opportunities out of respect for the other athletes, who probably don’t want to be sandbagged by a dawdling, asthmatic klutz.
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Recently, my friends registered for a race in Utah. It’s a course notorious for having more than 5,000 feet of elevation gain, strong winds, and hot, relentless sun. Being the good friends they are, an obligatory invitation was extended my way.
It was a nice gesture, but there was no way in hell I’d ever do that race. I’m not good on hills. I hate racing in the heat. I get spooked in wind.
I furrowed my brow, pursed my lips, and shook my head:
“Yes. I’m in.”
From the second I registered, I cursed myself for making such a stupid decision. I couldn’t finish that race; it was too hard, and I was too weak.
Well, the race was last weekend. It lived up to its hilly reputation — in fact, I think at some point the athletes went upside-down. It was hot. The sun was relentless. It was, in a word, hard. Just like it was supposed to be.
But there was still a surprise to be found that day. I crossed the finish line, in spite of all my reasons why I “couldn’t” do the race. When I stepped across the threshold of the finish, I raised my arms in total disbelief and shouted the word that started it all:
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Five days later, as I type this, I’m still sore. Of all the things that hurt, however, my cheeks are the worst from smiling so much. I can’t wait to see what else I can say yes to.
All of us possess an incredible amount of potential. When we say no, we suppress the release of so much potential, in so many ways. Give yourself the opportunity to unleash your inner awesomeness. You might be pleasantly surprised.
There’s a whole world full of yes waiting for you.
Perhaps you should take it.
About The Author:
Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke