When NO means YES

April 14, 2015

by Molly Davis

IMG_0053My cell phone rang as Kristine and I walked back to the conference center to facilitate another workshop at the retreat. Gathered at a beautiful resort in Woodstock, NY, the woods ablaze with fall colors, it had already been two days of connection and inspiration, new friends and new ideas.  The workshop was one of our favorite topics, a best seller with clients, always a crowd pleaser, resulting in powerful insights for all.  Starting of course, with us. Since as everybody knows…”You teach what you need.”

With a few minutes to spare, and seeing that the call was from a client, I decided to answer. “Hey Molly. We’re in a big bind.  The person who was going to facilitate the Leadership Experience can’t make it.  Would you be able to do it?  It starts the day after tomorrow.”  Immediately I knew the answer to that question….

A vehement “No!”

As in…

Hell No!

Never!

Not on your life!

That kind of No.

While certified to facilitate the experience, I had yet to actually do so.  Not only that, it was going to be with a senior global team, and the facilitator they had really wanted was obviously not me. He had more experience, and was clearly their first choice.  Stepping into a big arena, trying to fill big shoes, coming in at the last minute, with people who expected someone else, felt like a recipe for disaster all around. Besides that, getting an earlier flight out would be almost impossible due to our commitment to the current retreat.  There was one other tiny little detail. I was terrified.   Afraid that I couldn’t do it, wouldn’t meet the high bar set by the group, and couldn’t measure up to their expectations, I respectfully declined, politely thanked him for thinking of me, wished him the best of luck, and hung up the phone, filled with relief.  Except the relief kept getting pushed down to make room for something else.

Regret.

My reasons for saying no were logical.  It  made perfect sense.  Still, I had the sense that I had just let myself down.  Imperfect as my facilitation might be, was it possible that I was the perfect person for the job, and it the perfect job for me?

It was time for the retreat workshop to begin.  Stepping up to kick it off, I couldn’t get that phone call out of my mind. Thankfully, Kristine stepped in and masterfully led the group through the first exercise, allowing me to clear my head of my swirling thoughts.  In saying No to the request, I was saying Yes to my fear.  In answering No to a big challenge, I was opting for a Yes to playing it safe.  Just then I heard Kristine as she continued leading the participants through the exercise, asking them to complete the statement: “If I had the courage, I would………

Oh, did I forget to mention that the topic of our workshop was COURAGE? Oops.

Heads bent over their journals, the participants began to write down as many ideas for completing that sentence as they could.   As they finished writing, I stepped back in front to lead them through some reflection on what they had just discovered. Looking into their faces and seeing their courage, they led me back to my own.

As soon as our workshop was over, I called the client back.  “Yes.  I’ll be there.  To be clear, this will be the first time I’ve actually facilitated it, and I won’t have time to review any of the materials.  If flying by the seat of my pants is ok with you, I’ll change my flight and be there.”  It was a powerful Yes that began as an overwhelming No. Rather than disaster all around, it turned into a blessing for all concerned.  Starting of course, with me. Instead of a miserable failure, it was a mighty success. Starting of course, with me.

Now when I experience a knee-jerk “No!” and want to run the other direction, I pull up my boot straps and start walking the scary trail toward Yes.

When our first response is No, can we find the courage to search for the deeper Yes?

When desperate to scream No, can we find the strength to whisper Yes?

When it feels safer to say No, can we brave the waves to Yes?

Yes.  We can.

No.  it isn’t easy.

And Yes. That means we are on the right track.

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Stuck

February 23, 2015

Stuck.

Who hasn’t felt that way at one time or another?  Everyone gets it.  No one likes it. We all know that feeling of being stuck, unable to get out, hemmed in, trapped.  There are times when we find ourselves trapped between a rock and a hard place, and when we do, our first reaction is usually to try to get out.  Now!  Alarm sets in and the flailing begins, as we look for any and every way out of the place in which we are wedged.

But.   Read the rest of this entry »

The Doorway of Lent

February 18, 2015

IMG_0467Lent begins today and is traditionally a time for fasting and reflection and “giving up stuff”.  It takes place over the 40 days leading up to Easter, and those who practice this spiritual tradition often ask one another, “What are you giving up for Lent this year?” For me, when I have actually chosen to enter into Lent, it usually means giving something up that I would really, really, really, really miss.  A guilty pleasure.  Wine.  Coffee.  Binge-watching my latest series.   Read the rest of this entry »

The Practice of Practice

September 12, 2014

Practice what you practice. 

Whatever you practice, you become good at.

Glenwood - Jan - March 2008 & RLP 070

​K​now that you are practicing something in every moment.

You may be practicing ​self loathing​, kindness, anger​, acceptance, love, fear or  grace. If you are not practicing something consciously, you will be doing so unconsciously.

So, be conscious of what you are practi​c​ing now.  Kno​w that whatever you are nurturing​ ​will encourage or discourage you.

(thank you, Ann-Marie Ahye)

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 9.12.57 AM

Eyes Ahead by Molly Davis

Recently I was talking to a younger woman on the phone.  She is at a cross-roads.  One of many she will  encounter, and that is giving her pause to consider questions most of us will recognize.  

What do I want my life to look like? 

What is my work?

How can I craft a life that allows me to work at something I love, pays me well and makes a difference in the world that is within my grasp?

As I listened to her sift through her thoughts and feelings, I was struck by the language she  used to articulate her desires and vision for her life.  Most sentences began with what she DIDN’T want. Read the rest of this entry »

Soldiering On

April 12, 2011

Once upon a time, not long ago, a trial of unmeasurable proportion descended upon my people. A spirit of darkness over came and defeated one of the clans most treasured. Unfathomable despair ensued. So great was the pain that it lay waste each loved one as they stood guard hoping to fight the encroaching evil.

Soon, each suffered…each felt despair that could not be overcome. As one who championed those that mattered most, i too fell into deep despair.  For I could not battle this darkness and claim victory.

From my hiding place of shame I could catch glimpses of the ones who suffered. There seemed to be moments when the darkness that had claimed them subsided. The moments were few, but each day there seemed to be more. Were my most treasured finding the strength to resist total annihilation? Was there unfamiliar magic secretly and mysteriously waging battle? Were there strategies being employed that i did not understand?

Days, months, years passed as the spirit of darkness seemed to be losing its’ destructive grip of hopelessness. Light entered through cracks and crevices. Those who mattered most slowly gathered strength and as they did, their determination to claim their own victory grew. Without fanfare  the darkness was driven out with light; bright and radiant.

According to the 18th verse of the Tao, we as guardians of those most sacred are to “let go” and  trust that they will do what is best for them.

We are to understand that guardian means; protecting each one’s natural ability  to discover their own lighted path out of the darkness.

HELL YES!!!

January 20, 2011

The fear that stops you.

You know when you stumble on to a great idea? Or maybe a surge of confidence, or a step in the direction of your god given gifts…and no sooner are you filled to the brim with possibilities than a dark and damp whisper begins at the very bottom of your soul.

“Who do you think you are; you are ridiculous; everyone will laugh at you; you will never make any money; somebody better will do it and make you look foolish; what have you done to deserve something this good!”

Sound familiar?

I have these amazing human beings in my life. Some as close as a good walk; others a plane, train or automobile trip away. They have inspired me, taught me, loved me, saved me. In their presence I know I am in the company of greatness.

And yet they often struggle with their own greatness; find it hard to move, to carry on, to go forth and change the world as they know they are called to do. They give in to the dark damp voice of DOUBT.

If you believe in evil or not…does it make any sense that just when a magnificent human being is about to make a step forward that will make the world a better place, bring light, hope and encouragement to others, that “evil” says, Hell NO and perhaps uses that dark whisper to stop you in your tracks? End of hope…end of light…end of possibilities.

Time to listen to another voice…one that says…”I can be afraid and hold still, do nothing and live with this fear, or I can hear the voice for what it is and say, Hell Yes?

I choose for them and I choose for me and I choose for you…HELL YES!

http://charliephillips.net/videos/theater-3/nick-vujicic.html

THIS LINK WILL HELP YOU DO JUST THAT…