I consider myself as a late bloomer.
Case in point, I was the student who quivered at the thought of raising her hand during recitation and the person who gets tense whenever ordering food at a restaurant. Simply put, I’ve always had troubles in communicating. Of course, as a result, as this boils down to simply being afraid to speak up, I’ve always deprived myself of opportunities. Unlike people who, so to say, were thriving in their respective fields, I never joined competitions, events, or even made friends.
Nonetheless, this was okay for me. It was comfortable. I liked being in my own bubble of zero drama, comfort, and peace. On account of the fact that I was a naive child, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that a sudden epiphany struck my mind because it was impossible to have that. My only paradigm was constricted into my own zone, so I had absolutely no idea of what life is like beyond that. This went on till high school.
My journey to advocacy and youth leadership started with signing up for a training far from home. Signing up, I recall specifically how I was overly nervous, with my mind incessantly bombarding me of why I shouldn’t sign up. Long story short, I got in, was uncomfortable as hell with the new people and opportunity but very much delighted throughout, and the rest was history.
Today, I’m an active youth leader who holds multiple commitments, meets new people, has a good set of mentors, and in general just has a stronger sense of self. I’m gratified to be where I am right now, and I owe it all to the experiences which challenged me, the people I’ve met along the way who always pushed me to be better, and to myself for always taking the conscious choice of seeking growth.
It all started with a simple yes.
And I’ve been saying yes before knowing how since then.
Why I live saying yes before knowing how, and why you should too
1. Discomfort is the best source of growth (the growth zone).
Placing myself in circumstances novel to me constantly challenge me to elicit new ways of dealing with circumstances, which I will always carry along the way. As creative human beings, we seek to adapt to the point of wielding all of our resources. Alongside that, we learn new skills, ideas, and perceptions that overall make us grow.
In my case, I was invited before to design for an event, and I said yes, whilst knowing that I was lacking in technical skills. At that point, I had no idea how to use Photoshop. I had to force myself to learn design principles and software, and right now, I’m genuinely in love with design and plan to carry it long-term in my career.
2. Learn about what’s beyond one’s world.
One of the most preeminent parts about being exposed to diverse, unique, and somewhat uncertain opportunities is how it trains versatility. The ambivalence in who you meet, the skills you (have to) train, and what ideas you will gain surge in those new situations. With that, one exposes the self to new things that you may fall in love with and pursue.
Once again, in my case, I said yes to joining a competition before which required me to learn UX. I fell in love with and now find myself dabbling in the field, with different projects related to it. I don’t regret that choice one bit.
3. Expand connections.
You meet the most like-minded people in opportunities you chose yourself, especially if these are ones you are most interested. As society is naturally grounded in the idea of social interaction, you always meet people in different fields. And frankly, people, once you approach with genuine curiosity, are the best sources of knowledge and vicarious experience.
4. Take ownership of one’s growth.
You are your best investment. The conscious choice of being in environments allows one to take a preferred pace and road — hence: growth. These choices build a person to be a holistically grown person — the one they chose to be.
But saying yes before knowing how is not, in any way, about being an impulsive yes-person…
Saying yes before knowing how is NOT about saying yes to everything. Do not overcommit to the point of sacrificing the quality of your works. This is doing disservice to yourself and your teammates. Rather, explicitly, the mantra is about refusing to be stifled by one’s fears.
Uphold your word, commitment, and excellence in everything that you do.
Grab that opportunity, say yes, and never be enslaved by your fears
With all that said, say yes before knowing how. The moment you know you’re ready is when the thoughts crosses your mind — even at least once. Numerous opportunities await which, though they give the impression of appalling, will hasten you to be a better person each day.
Once you’re in the field of steadfast action, you will be prone to making mistakes, burnouts, unsolicited stress, and inevitable mishap. Despite that, persevere and continue. Be the student of your circumstances and challenges; love learning and every single bit that comes in between that.
For you are the person most responsible for your own growth — and it all starts with saying yes.