By TERREECE M. CLARKE
I learned last week that I had been named as a semi-finalist in the My Black is Beautiful Ambassador Search— and I almost turned it down. After reading the email twice (okay… three times), I had already concocted a half dozen reasons why I shouldn’t click the little “RSVP” link at the bottom of the email. Everything from financial concerns about the trip, to time constraints, to having nothing to wear… you name it.
As moms, we instantly move mountains and part seas for our families, but when it comes to saying yes to ourselves and our opportunities, we are just as quick to say, “No.” Why?
When did self-denial become standard operating procedure? The most sinister part of saying no all of the time is that these “no’s” quickly snowball. Taking time to be alone—no. Taking a new class—no. Taking advantage of a business opportunity—no. Making time for a check-up to make sure your health is up to par…
Enough with the no.
We have to start embracing the idea that we have a right and a responsibility to a beautiful future and this process starts from within.
Marshawn Evans said, “Small elevations in your decisions can lead to huge transformation.” Are you ready to stop saying no? (Here is where you either say yes or admit you want to put yourself in an early grave. Go ahead, I’ll wait…)
Ready? Good. It’s a hard habit to break; obviously I still struggle with it. But I have learned three ways you can break the “cycle of no.”
1. Ask yourself why.
Channel your inner 4-year-old and every time you say “no” to an offer, a want, or an opportunity, ask yourself why… repeatedly. And don’t cheat: “No time,” is not a good enough response. It’s the adult version of “I don’t know.”
2. Do it for the Vine.
Take inspiration from this little girl. From the beginning, you can tell she wants to let that dance out, but she holds back. When she finally lets it all go, the results are infectious – 200,000 views later she is inspiring people all over the world, including Elmo. Let it out girl!
3. Trick yourself.
You have to set an example for the little people that show up at your bedroom door demanding food every day. When I finally said yes to this latest opportunity, it was because I realized I could spotlight issues that affect women, children and families. I told myself, with each “yes” in this process, I am showing them how to use their voices. It became saying yes to them. If it takes Jedi mind tricks to get you to step out on faith, that’s perfectly fine. Channel Obi Wan “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” Kenobi until yes becomes habit.
Listen, I’m an average mom, I juggle work, kids, husband, house—just like everyone else. And I admit, it’s easier to say “no” than to make time for coffee with friends to reconnect, or squeeze another dime out of the budget to take those classes that will boost the business. I’d much rather say “no” and pretend I don’t have a uterus than to hop up on a table wearing a paper vest for a check up, but who benefits? No one. Each yes is an opportunity to create the best future for ourselves. A future that’s mentally rested, community invested, physically healthy and intellectually inspired.
“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes—then learn how to do it later.” – Richard Branson
Terreece M. Clarke is a My Black is Beautiful Ambassador Search Semi-Finalist headed to Chicago on May 3rd for a Live Interview and to meet with 99 other beautiful, positive sistahs as a part of the campaign. She will be journaling her adventure on MyBrownBaby.com. A freelance writer/journalist for a variety of magazines, newspapers and websites, Terreece is also a rockin’ wife and mother of three. Support her trip to Chicago with a donation to her GoFundMe campaign and follow her on Twitter!