Say Yes, While People Say No

Posted on July 19, 2010

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Those of you who follow this blog, and well, follow me on twitter know that I’m a huge Tour de France fan.  Yes, I record the 4 hour show and the 2 hour and watch both multiple times.  Why?  The strategy of the competition, the skill and then most important, the guts and drive it takes these competitors to not only show up and ride these stages, but compete for the stage win.  Those who compete in this race are those who say yes at those moments when others say no.  They are those who push themselves way beyond the pain threshold to fight for time.  For many, a podium spot isn’t likely.  For many, they are simply pushing themselves to help a teammate achieve glory, while for them, they simply hope for good food, a massage and a comfortable bed at the end of the day.  They are people who step forward to say yes, when many would simply say no.

The interesting thing about this year, is I have a dear friend who is on the stage of her life fighting cancer and facing a big surgery, a twin gearing up for a 100 mile run, and a twitter friend who is competing in a sport while battling a tough case of asthma.  All of this added up to my thinking about this post.  Thinking about why some people say yes when faced with something either by choice, or not by choice, and while others say no.

All through my career, I’ve had a certain reputation.  That reputation?  Well, in those moments in life when, well, stuff hits the fan, and most in the room run as fast as they can for the exits, I run toward it…or at the very least, don’t step away.  I await for the wave of the moment and ready myself to do what needs to be done.  I would like to say, those who run are the smart ones, but,  I don’t join that crew.  Instead, it is at that moment that I say yes, I head toward the crisis with a calm head.  My twin and I run toward, while others run away.  Adrenaline junkies?  Hmm, I don’t think so, though have been accused of that before.  I would like to simply say that for some reason in our nature, at that moment, a calm awareness takes over and we head towards the problem or crisis and not away.  My former law partners loved the fact that nothing would shake me.  That I might blink my eyes, say…ok, this is not going to be fun, but I wouldn’t back away.  They would love the fact that they could know in those moments of everyone running as fast as they could away from whatever the problem was?  Well, Deb would be standing at their shoulder saying “okay, so I think we need to think about doing…” or saying “no worries, let’s figure out our next steps.”

So this leads me to my question…why do some say yes at those moments when others say no?  I think that is a really good question to ask about humanity, and one that I have no answer for.  How can I describe those moments?  Well, “hold on, say yes, while people say no…”

My friend fighting cancer?  Well, yes, the easy part of the battle would be to simply say no to the fight.  But, that’s not her.  She can’t do that.  She can’t say no to fighting this battle.

My twin giving up running a 100 mile race? Nope, she can’t do that.  You see she says yes, when others say no.  She says yes to getting up at 3am when others are thinking about sleep.

And my good cycling bud who is battling asthma?  Yep, much easier to sleep and not get up early try to breath and race for miles.  But for each of us?  Well, you see, we say yes, when others say no.  We keep battling, we keep crossing the bridge, we head toward the yes and not the no.

There are moments in life when the greatest reward you get for doing something is to simply know “you were the one who held on to say yes, while others say no.” And for me, well, that speaks volumes.

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Posted in: Leadership, Life