At the end of 2016, feeling low from personal setbacks and slightly disillusioned with life, I stumbled across a TED talk by the Hollywood screenwriter Shonda Rhimes called “My year of saying yes to everything”. For one year, she tasked herself with saying 'yes' to anything that scared her or took her outside of her comfort zone. Did she want to speak at a public speaking engagement? No, she thought (as she was petrified)… but Yes she said, as her new resolution kicked in.
This struck an immediate chord with me, so I decided to apply the same to my life at the start of 2017. What’s the worst that could happen? Could I rid myself of this constant internal feeling of angst and restlessness? Being naturally reserved and risk averse had served its purpose in getting me to this level of success in my life and keeping up with my peers.
I realised that staying within my comfort zone was keeping me trapped in a cycle of restlessness.
I was feeling unfulfilled, uninspired to set goals and take strides towards achieving them.
Tasked with a combination of opportunities that presented themselves in the course of everyday life or those that I actively sought, I encouraged myself with these words: “No procrastination, just do it!”
The first opportunity was an advert to an Introduction Evening for DrivenWoman on 5th Jan 2017. I clicked on the ad, loved the idea of what joining the group would entail and without hesitation signed up as a member at the next session, which just so happened to be about creating our Vision Boards. Having heard of them but never actually created one.Wow, what a powerful affirmation tool it was!
Over the course of 12 months, I said yes to new opportunities:
~ A solo yoga retreat in Tuscany – I met some wonderful people, some of whom I’m still friends with today. The trip really brought me out of my shell and assured that I had people skills and could relate to different people of different backgrounds.
~ Joining a local British Military Fitness group to improve my outdoor fitness prowess and meet local people having recently moved to Guildford. I only lasted a few weeks, but at least I tried and need not wonder what would have been…I actually hated it ;(
~ Getting my raw passion project idea critiqued by an established player in the industry. Registering with a company that brokered mentorship programmes facilitated this;
~ Accepting a speaking engagement presenting CV’s and cover letters to a women’s charity – HERA;
~ Attending various workshops, events and seminars on career development and empowering women;
~ Starting an online skincare and wellness franchise and doing my first Facebook Live session;
~ Attending a transformative mind, body and soul retreat in Mykonos;
~ Learning to trade stocks, shares and other instruments;
~ Sharing my story on this blog, 12 months later!
10 months into 2017, my year of saying Yes yielded fruit. On the plane back from my Mykonos retreat, I found myself and had an epiphany!
I was beginning to connect so many dots in my life, I rooted for a pen and pad, scribbling a spider diagram of action points to address areas of my life I’d either (i) buried deep into my psyche and carried on ploughing through life, or (ii) genuinely didn’t know how to tackle. I felt these were the foundation to begin to the strides I couldn’t take at the start of the year.
My epiphany was the need to breakdown my barriers, let my guard down and let people in.
I wanted to be and show people my true, authentic, vulnerable self, the result of which would facilitate genuine and meaningful relationships. Yes, yes, it all sounds very clichéd, but it took 10 months for that message I’d heard countless of times to really hit home and for me to truly start applying it to my life.
Being part of DrivenWoman, I feel I have a great supportive network of women both in London and throughout the UK and the world; a structured environment where actionable goals are set, a safe environment where I can share my ideas with like-minded women, a resource pool where I can seek counsel from a vast knowledge bank of intelligent women and a fun environment where I can form and build genuine and meaningful friendships.
I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.
Ncheta Dasilva is a DrivenWoman member in London