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What I’ve Learned About Saying ‘Yes’

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal State Chico chapter.

I know what you’re thinking, “saying yes to what?” I’ll start there. I started saying yes when I felt myself coming up with reasons to say no. If you’re anything like me, you like a routine, a schedule, and consistency. If you are even more like me, then you have a bad habit of saying no to things because you are worried about missing out on something else that might come along. Those two attributes regularly get in the way of me saying yes. However, I’ve started to make a very conscious and sometimes difficult effort to notice when those are my reasons for saying no and instead, I say yes. I also started to say yes when my reason for saying no was misplaced fear or misunderstanding. I don’t do this perfectly and I certainly don’t say yes to everything because let’s be real, that’s not possible and you have to use good judgment, but I’ve started to say yes way more than I ever have before! All of that to say, I’m going to walk you through the good, the bad, and the ugly of what has happened to me and my life since I started saying, “Yes!”

The good, and I mean the really good! 

Saying yes to opportunities, invitations, dates, ideas, newness. All of that is what I like to call, “the goods.” Even now, as I’m writing this I can feel the addictiveness of “yes” because being a writer for this magazine is the result of me saying yes to an opportunity. The goodness of saying yes more often is the feeling of openness and the momentum that comes with it. I’ve learned that when you start saying yes it’s not only addictive, but it’s contagious and magnetic. Which is to say, that things start saying yes to you too! I said yes to speaking at an event on my college campus and have since spoken at several more, where I’ve been able to make a real impact. I said yes to an idea I had one day about a new career path and have since had incredible job opportunities and I might even go to grad school! I’ve had new relationships bloom and old ones come back to life. Saying yes does require a level of flexibility and bravery, but if I could look you in the eye and tell you to take the leap, I would. Your routine, schedule, and consistency will always be there, but unless you allow yourself to explore and live, they will begin to hold you down rather than keep you steady.

I would be remiss to not also tell you to start saying yes to the things you don’t understand. When you open a book and it’s complicated or calls into question your understanding of the world, I urge you to say yes and continue on. I mean this in all facets of life as well, but reading is the most tangible to me (I’m an English major). One of my professors says that at the first pass of anything, you should, “Read with the grain.” That is to say, when you take something for the first time, say “Yes!” Lean in with curiosity and willingness to understand and then go back a second time to question or take it apart! I have met new people this way, explored new cultures, and read so much more, and I’m learning to just soak up the knowledge and world around me! I have learned that unless you say yes, you’ll miss out on moments, people, learning, and an openness that is simply not replicable.

The bad, and I mean it’s not so bad!

Saying “yes” has required a lot of me. There have been moments when I’ve been overwhelmed and over-committed, but I think that’s a part of the process. I am learning that you have to strike some sort of balance between being a workhorse with no time for “yes” and being someone who just goes with the wind all the time. The bad part of saying yes more is that you also have to say no more, too. You have to say no to your habit of turning things down, to fear, and to doubt. Leaning into life and taking more in comes with a natural adjustment that can be uncomfortable. The thing is though, discomfort is not a reason to say no.

The Ugly, and I mean maybe you will relate!

Trying this out has revealed things about myself that have been rather hard to confront. I thought I was a spontaneous person, and had to come to terms with the fact that at my core I am a routine girl. Saying yes and wavering away from the very strict schedule I have for myself was difficult. It felt like I was letting go of control in some way that made me very uncomfortable. That said, I am learning that there is so much freedom in getting to know myself. I’m doing my best to rethink the way I place priority in my life, and challenge myself to let go! I even had to say yes to myself and accept the hard truth that I’m a routine person and lean into the strengths that come with that! 

Saying “yes” more is something that is an ongoing process for me. I’m still learning, but it’s truly allowing me to live more freely, challenge myself, and get to know myself in ways that I didn’t know I needed to. If you are someone who loves routine, I encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and see what happens when you say “yes!” 

Here are some links to some people who are thinking about similar things and have created some really incredible work that has inspired me to try living in new ways! 

Brene Brown – 

Shonda Rhimes – 

Haylee Sust

Cal State Chico '24

Haylee is a fourth year English Education Major at Chico State. In her time at Chico State she has found a passion for student success and is hoping to run a life coaching business for High School and College Students someday. She works hard to pursue her passions while cultivating healthy routines and habits! In her free time Haylee is often at the gym. She has been training seriously for about 3 years, but fitness has always been a priority for her. She believes in the power of showing up for yourself everyday, and hopes someday to be able to write a book and do public speaking to share her journey in this area. Haylee believes that her mission on this earth is to connect with people! She is outgoing and enjoys hearing other peoples stories. Her family and friends are the light of her life, and she hopes to continue traveling and making memories with the people who are closest to her. As she begins turning the page to the next chapter of her life, she hopes to continue writing and challenging herself. She hopes that by writing for Her Campus, she can continue to grow as a writer, and have the opportunity to bring people together!