|I was amazed to realize that airplanes are off course most of the time. When a plane, say, is making the trip from San Diego to Hawaii, when it leaves it heads the general direction and spends most of the trip making a series of small corrections.Life is like that, too, being a little off-course and just needing small tweaks in an ongoing way instead of big, radical changes.I’ve found inspiration and guidance from Coach Mary Allen in the last 6 years since I met her at a workshop in Northern California. She recently shared a simple way to stay on course she calls her “Yes/No List”. With her permission, I share it below.
I like this idea because it’s direct and clear. Okay, I admit it’s great to have someone else’s list to start with, which I can adapt to my own.
Coach Mary Allen’s Yes/No List from Soulfully Living
With all the choices available to us each day, month and year, how do we optimize our path? To help me clarify my focus for the new year, I added a new ritual — the “Yes/No List.”
Knowing what I want to say YES to consistently, and what I want to say NO to consistently, is proving a valuable compass over the last several weeks. Every time I bump up against a “choice point,” I go inside and see how my YES/NO list could nudge me.
To create your own Yes/No List, pull out a sheet of paper, drawing a line down the center. On the left column, label it “YES TO” and on the top of the right column, label it “NO TO.”
Then allow the inspiration to flow. (I spent a week or so contemplating my yes’s and no’s…so when I got to my sheet of paper, it was a breeze.)
Here are some of the items that made my YES to list.
My YES List…
* Spaciousness. My creativity and productivity are most vibrant when I give it space. That means allocating time when there are no appointments…just “me time” without a pressing deadline. This is why I almost never schedule appointments on Mondays and Fridays.
* Decisiveness. When change and growth are on the rise, the need for “decisiveness” is even more essential. Instead of procrastinating on tough decisions (or little inconsequential decisions), I’m leaning into “decisiveness.” Yes to choosing NOW. Yes to honoring my intuition.
* Inner Peace Practices. Saying “yes” to key “inner peace practices” is what fuels momentum and serenity in my life. Meditation. Reading. Dancing. Appreciations. My surrendering prayer. All yes’s. More please. I JUST recommitted to my coach to up the ante on these practices.
* Outsourcing. I’ve been a solopreneur for 15+ years. For years, I’ve enjoyed a virtual assistant for 10-12 hours per month. This year is different. The only way to realize this year’s goals (AND maintain my inner peace) is to OUTSOURCE like crazy . I now have 3 virtual assistants and a project manager. And, I’ve hired three other folks to help with other tasks. And, I’m open to expanding more! BIG YES to freeing up my time for things only I can do.
* Systemizing. To grow any business and leverage a team, requires solid systems. I’m working with another coach specifically to design systems for every facet of my business. If it’s not flowing, there probably isn’t a system in place. I’m saying YES to systems! Systemizing follow-up, ezines, videos, product creation and anything happening more than once.
* Nurturing the Feminine. Resisting my feminine means resisting a huge part of who I am. My dear friend Allana Pratt and my mentor Arjuna Ardagh both reminded me recently why “nurturing my feminine” is such a priority. That means taking time for girlfriends, bubble baths, dancing, feeling all feelings, being girly and of course, hot sex (I can say that, right?)
* In Person Connections . Being an “at home” solopreneur means the vast majority of my connections are via phone and internet. Last year, it was a joy to spend time building relationships in person…hosting two live events, speaking and attending other trainings. This is where bonding occurs. My “Awakening Beyond Achievement Tour” is born out of my desire to foster those “in person” connections. Let’s bond.
* Exercise & Fitness. For various reasons, I’ve slacked on my commitment to exercise. But, this year it’s one of my big full-hearted “yes’s”! Cardio, weights, yoga, hydration and healthy eating. Big YES! Consistency is also a big yes.
* Transparency. Our greatest power comes when we share our most vulnerable and real selves with the world. I’m saying “yes” to peeling back more layers so that I can be even more fully seen, and more fully connect with everyone I come in contact with. That means even more candidness, silliness, depth, vulnerability and strength. That means you may learn a few more things about me this year.
* Kindness. The grocery store clerk. My team members. Customer support people. Unsolicited callers. Strangers. Neighbors. Family. Friends. Drivers on the road. Oh, and ME. Everyone deserves kindness. That’s why it is on my YES list.
Each YES inherently has a built in NO. Stating the NO’s are equally powerful. Interesting to see how most of my NO’s are simply resistance to living even more fully on purpose.
Here are some items from my NO list.
Mary’s No List
* 12 Hour Days. I confess…in preparation for 2010, it’s easy to go, go, go for 12 Hours straight (especially since John has been on a tight deadline for a big project working until midnight for the last 6 weeks!) BUT, I’m saying NO to 12 Hour Days. That means taking time for lunch, meditation, gym, outside time and spaciousness.
* Smallness. Many of us were taught to minimize ourselves. The net result is playing much smaller than we’re truly capable of. This isn’t about an ego trip. It’s about acknowledging the gifts and strengths we’re each given. I’m saying NO to smallness. Will you join me on this one?
* Pleasing everyone. As much as I’d LOVE to please everyone (really, really, I’d LOVE to!), I finally “get” how unrealistic it is. The more resources I share, the more potential for unsubscribes. The more I share my deepest thoughts and passions, the more likely I am to annoy someone. The bigger stand I take, the more feathers I could ruffle. I don’t have all the answers for getting over this tendency, but “pleasing everyone” is on my NO list.
* Drama. Have you ever noticed how much time, energy and attention can be consumed with drama? I’ve weaned most of it out, and am committed to saying NO to the ongoing seduction of drama. (Except, of course, for my indulgence of the TV show The Bachelor and “chick flicks.” There IS a place for everything.)
* Doing it All Myself. This goes hand in hand with outsourcing. I don’t need to do it ALL myself (and you shouldn’t either.)
* Excuses. It’s easy to find reasons something can’t be done. Excuses foster procrastination, slacking on the YES list and momentum. Just say NO to EXCUSES. What an energy saver this is. And how much MORE gets accomplished.
* Whining. What, me whine? Well, I could blame the hormones, but that’s just an excuse. Truth is, I occasionally allow whininess to hijack my being. Alas!!! BUT, it doesn’t feel good to me. And, it certainly doesn’t feel good for those around me (namely John). Years ago, I received a fabulous t-shirt the day of a big move. It had a big red circle with a slash through the word WHINING. Time to pull that t-shirt out again. NO WHINING.
* Anything that isn’t a 100% YES. Pay close attention to that “inner voice” inside. This one keeps me from over-committing too! Here’s where “procrastination” is a useful friend. Just think of all the energy saved when I’m NOT saying yes to something that should’ve been a “no” to begin with.
* Violent movies. Stress is stress. I’ve noticed how affected my body becomes when I watch a violent movie. I’m going to follow the lead of my dear friend Kate, and just say NO to violent movies too. (Unfortunately, this means more “chick flicks” for John!)
* Overwhelm. By staying squarely focused in the present moment, giving my attention to “one thing at a time” — there is no reason to subject myself to the tortures of overwhelm. It’s just like taking ourselves to the scary movie, living into a future that hasn’t even happened. Just say NO to overwhelm.
I’m still learning to live into my YES’s and NO’s for the new year. Each one is rich with gifts and guidance. Can’t wait to see where it all leads.
So, what’s on your YES list? What’s on your NO list?
Here’s her original posting: http://lifecoachmary.com/blog/2010/02/yesno-list/