Why It's Important To Say Yes, And No
I’m a firm believer in grasping every opportunity by the horns and rolling with it to see where it may take you. I’ve always been one to say “yes” to everything, without fully thinking it through, and I hate letting people down so I’ve always had to go through with everything I’ve agreed to do! Although this has often landed me in situations that I most definitely would not have said yes to, had I taken a step back and actually thought about it, it’s also made me do things I didn’t think I could do and most definitely developed me as a person.
The first real example of this was when I was sixteen and some college friends started a Ska band. The afternoon before their first gig, I got a call saying that their singer was a fabulous performer but definitely not the most tuneful and would I come along and sing with them the following night? I jumped straight into the deep end and agreed without a second thought, whilst knowing none of their songs (mostly originals) and with no experience of being in a band apart from my old school orchestra. I spent that night and the following day, camped out at one of their houses, learning everything and wondering what the hell I had agreed to! I remember being absolutely petrified on the way to the pub where we were playing but there followed one of the most fantastic nights and the biggest buzz I had ever felt! This was followed by another couple of years of fantastically fun band practices and gigs. What if I’d said no?
The only photo I can find from my ska band days and for some reason it's crazy colourful!
More recently, my business has basically been formed on saying yes to things I wasn’t one hundred percent sure I could actually do. I honestly start every project wondering what I’m doing and if I have the necessary skills to achieve what someone has asked of me but, once I get the paintbrush in my hand and make the first mark I feel at home. I began my pet portraits by saying yes to the question “Can you paint our seven cats?” No word of a lie, I don’t think I’d ever painted a cat before that moment! I tentatively said yes and from that emerged my first ever pet portrait of, not one, but seven cats in one massive A1 painting! Although my style has developed lots since then, completing that was one of my proudest artistic moments to date, topped only by the reactions of the customers when I delivered it. What if I’d said no?
My first ever pet portrait of seven cats on A1 paper
Even though I constantly doubt my abilities, I also cannot resist a challenge, and with every new project I take on my work gets better and I feel more confident.
However, I’ve also been on a bit of a learning curve in realising I sometimes need to say no. Bringing up two children, over one hundred miles away from close family, with a husband who works away and a small business to grow is not easy and sometimes I get so focused on not missing out on things that I forget to rest. Every spare moment that I have off from the children is filled with the million-and-one jobs associated with running a business by yourself, from the actual painting, through finances and admin, to social media, marketing and website building. I am only one person, and sometimes I forget that!
So, alongside learning that I don’t have the time to do everything and that sometimes I need to say no, I hope to continue to dive headlong into projects I’m not sure about and to grow with each one. I want to teach my boys what you can achieve when you try something new and say yes to some of the wonderful opportunities that life offers. From working on my anxiety I have realised how easily my brain can start to tell me not to do things because of the awful hypothetical things that could happen and I so desperately don’t want that to become my go-to response when opportunities arise.
It’s honestly amazing to think of the things I've done because I said yes!
Why not try and say yes to something new without overthinking and see where it takes you?