Finding Happiness by Knowing Your YES!


by Jessica Lyons

YES! imageI’ve seen a lot of articles lately that say if it’s not HELL, YES, then it’s No. If you know when you have a YES! in your life, congratulations—complete with confetti, balloons, and your version of celebration!

Unfortunately, we often live in shades of gray. (No, not 50 shades, please no!) We make decisions because we want to feel good. We don’t check in on YES! or know when we are No until the contract is signed and the ink is dry. Then this sick, sinking feeling overcomes us.

Let me dish on a secret: No’s are harder to hear because we are SO good at ignoring them and pushing through.

I’m really into this guy I’m seeing but want this one thing to be different.

I’m happy in my career but not joyous, you know? I want to be really happy.

This new job opportunity is a good career move. I’m not super excited, but it’s smart.

When we can’t distinguish our YES!, we get stuck in a rut of mediocrity.

We stay at jobs that don’t fulfill us, wait for the right partner to just show up, and let life pass by.

I get it. Knowing your YES! can be difficult. Even when you do, it can be downright scary to acknowledge that this is something you want in your life. It takes courage to respond to a YES!

Here are a few tricks to knowing your YES! (and weeding out your No’s):

  • Wait. This is so hard! We want to know yesterday. But if you are not in the habit of listening for your YES!, it will be quiet the first time. Early in my twenties, I knew that I wanted to transition out of teaching full time, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet. A friend of mine in Portland, Oregon, invited me to spend the summer with her, experience the Northwest, and get clarity on my next steps. My initial answer was “HELL, NO! It rains nine months out of the year there!” But I was intrigued. I couldn’t stop thinking about the conversation—and the possibility.
  • Notice what intrigues you. Are you curious? Good. Stay there. If you’re curious, that’s a road sign. It might not be a YES! yet, but anything that intrigues you is asking for more exploration. Remember what intrigued you as a child? Go back to some of that.
  • Recognize that intrigue might actually be a YES! My interest in Portland grew over the next six months. Small things developed: My friend and her boyfriend decided to move in together, her roommates invited me to sublet her room, and one of my best friends from college decided to move to Portland. Signs started pointing to YES!
  • Pay attention to your body. Notice the sensations that come up in your body when you think about your question. Should I quit my job? If you have tension in your shoulders, that is your body giving you subtle signs to your YES! These days, when I’m YES!, my whole body tingles. That sinking feeling in your gut—that’s a No.
  • Think about what you are rationalizing or justifying. If you’re convincing yourself that if you tweak this ONE thing it might be right, then, honey, you’re a No. When our brains have to override our bodies or our hearts, we’re actually saying No, we just can’t quite admit it. And No can be so much harder than YES! in our society. But it’s just as important.

Determine your YES! and your No’s, and you have focus, possibility, and the real creation of your dreams.

Do you know what YES! feels like for you? What are you YES! on in your life right now?

If you want more practice in knowing your YES!, join Jessica Lyons in a Desire Map Workshop, a two-day experience that helps you determine your YES! and your No’s and create a life you love. Desire more? Click here for information.

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