What Happens If We Don’t Say No?

This year I have decided to adopt the 3 Word Challenge established by Chris Brogan, author, marketing consultant and social media marketing expert.

3 wordsEvery year he challenges himself and his readers to adopt 3 words to live by for the year. This tactic is to help you keep focus on your career, life, goals, etc. Whatever it is that you wish to improve upon in the coming year.

If you wish to read more about his 3 word practice, you can do so here.

I wanted to share my words with you. Partially to hold myself accountable and partly to share the experience I have had in the first 15 days of the New Year.

My three words are: “Connect”, “Package” and “Yes”. For the purpose of this post I am going to talk about “Yes”. In order to do this I need to give you a little background.

A Trip Down Memory Lane
In high school one would call me the shy, wall flower. I desperately wanted popularity however, I was too shy and too intimidated by the high school clique to do so. Can you hear the insecurity oozing out of that sentence? Upon entering college I decided that I was going to have a fresh start. New people, new me. I was going to eliminate “No” from my vocabulary. Instead, I would say “Yes” to every opportunity that presented itself. Where did that get me? Much farther than I could have ever anticipated.

Here on graduation day with my parents, 2 of my biggest supporters.

Here on graduation day with my parents, 2 of my biggest supporters.

Upon graduation from Salem State College (now University), I had tucked the titles of President of Lambda Pi Eta (Communications Honor Society), Phi Kappa Phi Member (College Honor Society), Production Manager of The LOG, (College newspaper) and Silver Key Recipient. I managed to grab a scholarship, hand chosen by the chairperson of the department and 3 internships, all the while managing a 3.8 GPA. However the most rewarding aspect of this decision to say “Yes” were the relationships created. I still keep tabs on the department and fellow classmates. However I had two professors who changed my life forever.

Into my last year of college, our department chair Sandra Fowler, found that her cancer had returned. She had to take the semester off and her fellow professors picked up the slack. Her relapse was felt throughout the department. She was a strict professor but very funny and knew how to push her students. I still hear her words of advice, now and then as I write. Unfortunately she passed away 8 months after my graduation. The last memory I have of her, is me walking across the stage at graduation, reveling in the accomplished feeling and repeating the mantra “Don’t trip” in my head. Suddenly something snapped me back to reality. Someone was screaming my name. I look up to see her standing on her feet, waving her hands in the air and cheering all of us on. That was the last time that I had seen her. A beautiful memory for a wonderful woman.

The other relationship exists to this day, a professor turned mentor and friend. We get together every couple of months to catch up on life. Jessica Barnett is the one who told me multiple times to go the freelance route. After fate threw me multiple career, curve balls, I finally said “Yes” to her advice. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

These two women, assisted me along the way on my “Yes” journey. They provided feedback, advice and opportunities that propelled me through college and helped that high school girl find confidence in herself.


Somewhere in the past 6 years, I forgot my “Yes” mantra. Life happened, my focus shifted, things came up. However I am back on track.

The point of these stories is that often we hold ourselves back. As Chris said in his Brave New Year program, we have negative scripts in our minds that we have written. By simply remembering “Yes” I am putting myself back on the path to open myself up to the universe and see what it has to offer.

Stop saying “No”, start saying “Yes” and open yourself up to wonderful experiences. You won’t go anywhere unless you start allowing yourself too.

On a side note: One day after choosing my three words, I received an invitation to a closed networking group connected to my Alma Mater. It’s funny how the Universe rewards us for positive decisions.
Butterflies in my stomach, I set off to tackle my words “Yes” and “Connect” at this event.

If you were to choose 3 words what would they be?