Whose “Yes” Is It Really?: Identifying your “Hell Yes” Moments And Sorting Out Everything Else


What Do You Really Mean When You Say “Yes”?

This month we’ve really gone deep on the topic of communication and we’re not letting up quite yet.

Today we’re going to explore a common challenge that many of our customers and clients face and give you some practical guidance on how you can meet this challenge if it is one that resonates with you too.

Are You A “Yes” Factory?

Have you ever said “Yes” and seconds, moments, or days later regretted that yes? Have you ever thought “I want to say yes to this but what will ___ think?

You might be surprised to find that this can actually be a communication problem. Of course it might be an issue of desire and people pleasing, for sure, but this challenge is also about honest communication: with others and with yourself.

If you’ve ever said “yes” to something and soon later felt a stomach turning ache of regret, you’re not alone. In a world that so often favors the “yes”-sayers over those who are more careful with their agreements, it’s no wonder you feel pressure to agree to things.

At the same time, that tinge of regret might be a result of not wanting to do whatever you’ve agreed to, it might also be a result of not feeling honest and authentic when you said yes.

Why You Might Have Your “Yes” On Autopilot

When you say “Hell yes” to things you’d rather politely decline, you are often doing so out of fear of judgement, obligation, or a subtle detachment from your own true desires or passions. Just because it’s a hell yes for someone else does not mean it’s a “hell yes” for you, and that’s perfectly okay.

Communicating kindly and truthfully might be uncomfortable. For example, letting a friend know that you can’t agree to babysit every Monday might make for an uncomfortable phone call. However, let’s imagine you agree to babysit and dread doing it every Monday? What if you agree to babysit even though there’s a reiki or yoga training you’d rather do? What if you’re just not excited to babysit?

You may find that saying “yes” to things that aren’t  truly “yes-worthy” for you leads you to get mysteriously sick, tired, or “busy” when you need to follow through on the commitment. The result? You may not complete the task or you might do so begrudgingly and regretfully.  You may even follow through simply because you feel you “should”. All the while you might be unhappy and feel inauthentic.

So what’s the alternative? Well, no surprise: It’s got to do with communication.

Hitting Pause

If you find yourself offering a “yes” out of obligation, “should”, or even guilt, your best option is to hit pause. This could mean taking time to reach a conclusion or just taking a deep breath before responding. When you hit pause you give yourself a chance to evaluate whether the thing in question is something you truly want to say “yes” to. You might tell the person asking “Can I give you an answer by the end of ____” or “I’d like a chance to think about this.” While they may need an immediate answer, you may need time to give them an honest one. If you feel pressure to decide, you may want to consider why that is.

Treating Your “Yes” Like Currency

In addition to hitting pause, it might also be helpful to think about your “Yes” as a form of currency. How many “Yeses” do you have right now? How many “yeses” can you spend? Is this task or request something you want to spend time, effort, and “yes” energy on? When you decide not to spread yourself so thin, you might find that your “yes” becomes more valuable. Those you love will respect it as more valuable, and those who do not find respect for your “yes” may be easier to spot as well.

So communicating your “yes” to others involves hitting pause, reflecting on what you want to say “yes” to, and then acting from that place. A challenge for sure, but definitely an exercise in communicating honestly with others. But what happens when you’re the one asking for a yes from yourself?

Filling In The Blanks

One way to evaluate the “yeses” you’re asking yourself for is to do this simple fill-in-the-blank test.
If you’re saying the following to yourself, it might be time to re-evaluate how you say “yes”.

“I really want to ____ but what will people think?”

“I really don’t want to ____ but what will people think if I don’t?”

If this sounds familiar to you, it might a great opportunity to rewrite the “yes” script in your mind.

Try these on for size:
“I really want to ___ because___”

“I really don’t want to ____ because ____”

“I need time to decide if I want to _____ so I can think about how to _____”

You’ll surely notice that the key difference is how you removed others from the decision. While we may need to consider others in our decisions at certain times (parents, guardians, caregivers, friends, family members and partners know this challenge first-hand), we are under no obligation to make all of our decisions from a place of, well, obligation to others.

As you go through the next few weeks, give yourself a few moments each day to use the re-writing fill-ins to craft lists of daily “yeses”. What you’ll find is that you get some “Hell Yes” moments in there.

That “Hell Yes” Moment

When you practice the art of filling in these short sentences you’ll have moments of clarity. You’ll also have moments where you feel truly excited or passionate about what you're saying yes to or what you will say yes to.
Ecstatic to take that dance class?
Super in love with the idea of surfing the killer waves in Maui?

Ready to book that massage?

Big and small moments of “Hell Yes” come from moments of whole-hearted clarity of what we truly want in our lives.  And those moments are absolutely beautiful.

Ready For More “Hell Yes” Moments?

If you’re looking for more clarity and more “Hell Yes” moments, you’ll definitely want to check out the Life Coaching section of our website to learn more about working with Courtney.