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People in positions of authority often talk about how much their life changed when they started saying “No.” And as easy as it seems, those two letters are often the scariest ones to utter to those closest to us in our lives. Our friends. Family members. Business partners. Coworkers.

Saying “No” is a terrifying proposition and for good reason; no one wants to let anyone else down. Luckily, there have been best-selling books, blog posts and think pieces on how beneficial and necessary it is to not just grin and bear it.

Today, however, I want to talk about something different: saying “Yes.”

You see, Yes can often be just as terrifying as No to say. Need proof? When was the last time a friend invited you to something you hadn’t tried before and you said “No” out of the fear you may embarrass yourself? Or how about a time you got a job opportunity that would have required you to uproot your life but you turned it down because the idea of losing the comfort and routine of your current job had been overridden by anxiety about starting new somewhere else with bigger challenges, new faces and higher expectations?

We all know what happens from here. You give so much of yourself to everyone and everything else that you begin to turn a blind eye to supremely important beliefs in your life. You miss the opportunity to network with someone who could help you land the job of your dreams because you feel intimidated and unworthy. You ignore your intuition and end up continuing relationships that don’t hold you up, but instead drag you down and end eventually, just messier. You let others’ opinions override what you know is right because you don’t want to rock the boat or be in conflict with people around you. You lose sight on what it was you wanted to accomplish in the first place because you let too many people into your head space without holding a desire to be authentic to yourself in the right balance.

And you hate yourself for it. You feel ashamed. You point fingers. You judge yourself. And you feel guilty for letting important things fall to the wayside. It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s time to end it for good.

Action step

Reclaim your authority. Give yourself permission to do the things that you know are on par with what’s both in your head and your heart. Say “yes” to opportunities that shake you to your core yet give you childlike excitement. Say “no” to the things that aren’t in alignment with you without feeling like you’re letting others down.

If you feel stagnant, stuck and unable to progress in your current state, consider that you may have relinquished your ability to give yourself permission to follow your authentic vision. You are not only allowed to embrace a passionate and purposeful life, you are capable of excelling at it.

Give yourself permission to create the life you desire by determining why you so quickly say no to opportunities. If you don’t like something, fine. But if you’re saying no out of fear or shame or judgement, why do you feel this way? Stop blaming yourself for where you are right now and start making moves in a new direction. Believe in your skill, talent, knowledge and, most importantly, your intuition, because the only person that can give you permission to be great is you.

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