There was a time I said, “No” a lot. After all, I was a busy exec with a 24-7 job and a growing family. My life spheres were narrowly focused on family, career, church, and friends. When opportunity knocked (often in the form of requests to serve), my answer was usually the same, “Thanks for asking, but I just can’t fit it in right now.”
Then, one day after a heart-to-heart with myself, I conceded that I wasn’t using all of me. I had some latent passions, but hadn’t created the capacity to pursue them. I decided I would start saying, “Yes.” To give more of me. To make room for new opportunities to serve causes and people I cared deeply about. To stretch myself with new responsibilities, even if they were outside of my comfort zone.
Ever since, my life has radically changed, with new meaning, new missions, new spheres, and new relationships with amazing people I would never have met had I kept saying, “No.” It’s been a profound change for the better.
2013 was a wonderful year for us on so many counts. Jeanne and I celebrated 31 years of marriage, graduated our youngest to pursue her dreams at a perfectly matched university, and watched our son embark on his new career and continue to serve God and others. How gratifying!
It was also a year when some of my biggest highlights were total surprises. Like co-authoring a new book, Parenting for the Launch, which wasn’t even conceived in the beginning of the year! Or, delivering my first Commencement speech—at a private school in Minneapolis! Or, shooting under par for the first time in my life! (And, not on a putt putt course!)
The New Year is a time for renewal and repurposing. For some, it’s also a time for new resolutions, although my highlights tend to be completely unpredictable at the beginning of the year. I love a good surprise, so my plans are always “written in pencil.” That way I can be attentive to (and save some room for) new opportunities for impact that come my way.
What stories do you have inside, just waiting to be told? What skills have been a little dormant and are ready for Prime Time? Who out there needs exactly what you have to offer? What passions are waiting to be pursued? What adventures are lurking if you would just make room and step outside of your comfort zone? What “Yes!” answer would have the greatest impact on others? And, you?
May 2014 be the year when you unleash you! Make it a great one.