Recently I’ve been aware of what I do when presented with a new idea. I hear myself when approached with something new, and what I hear is NO. NO is my first thought. Then, I go to backing up my NO with all of my very good reasons.

I’ve decided that I want to change this about myself. I tried to move from NO directly to YES, but that strategy didn’t work. I’m not ready for YES, and maybe YES will never be my honest appraisal. Instead, I found that I have to work with what is actually happening for me. Here’s how it’s going.

  1. First, I let myself hear it. “There it is!”
  2. Sometimes words / thoughts follow like: Not me; I don’t have the time, experience, interest, etc.; That’s stupid; and the mother of them all, I don’t want to. Sometimes I hear actual words but sometimes I think it’s my inner tone of voice of that implies a thought.
  3. I feel the NO. It feels pretty solid. Strong. Certain.
  4. I wonder: What would it be like to not NO.
      a) This is not a complete letting go of NO, but it is a loosening of it. It’s like a PROBABLY NOT that has within it the tiniest bit of space. PROBABLY NOT is an afterthought where I still think I already know – that it’s a NO. But the familiarity of this feeling is now becoming a signal for me: HMM.
    • b) Sometimes I move to a place I’ll call: MAYBE, BUT I DON’T THINK SO. This might be my turning point. There is enough room here for me to be curious but there is edginess or actual fear that goes along with my curiosity and I feel that. I don’t like it.
  5. I wonder: WHAT IF. . . Somehow, my curiosity begins to outweigh my discomfort. I feel the scariness of being in the “don’t know” zone, but there is excitement there too and I seem willing to feel both.

Of course my final decision may be no, but it’s not a reactive NO. It is a considered response and the result of a change in my habitual process.