What if you knew that everything boiled down to one thing?
The Power of One Small Word.
Who could imagine you could change the world with such a small declaration?
Rosa Parks did.
Martin Luther King did.
Or the many millions of others in our documented history who have stood up for what they believed in and declared #EnoughIsEnough.
Whatever your primary belief about the power you wield in your own life, you’ve likely witnessed how mass conviction can change the world.
One small word at a time. One small victory at a time.
Whether it’s a speech at a podium, a seat on a bus, a verdict in a courtroom, a march in the streets or a boycott in a warehouse.
And it’s not just for the masses, either.
Sometimes the swiftest way to get clarity about what DOES matter is to listen to the ‘No’ in your body.
What do you react to? What causes you to sweat, or cringe, or gulp, or skip a beat, or lose your breath, or cry a tear of sadness or anger?
Sometimes I get so sad-mad I feel tears running down my face before I realize I’m crying. That speaks volumes about how disappointed or disgusted I am with how things are.
It took decades for me to acknowledge my ‘No’.
I grew up in a setting where tolerance of craziness and chaos just meant you had to swallow what was and move on.
When the ‘No’ gets stuck inside, it sucks the life force out of what wants to be expressed.
NOT saying ‘No’ sours the enthusiasm for what really matters, throws doubt on your daring to live your dreams, and castrates the courage to fly your freak flag (as my friend Angela calls it.)
If you can’t say No, you won’t have room for the ‘Hell Yes’ either.
Rosa Parks didn’t sit because she liked buses. She stood for Freedom.
Gandhi didn’t sit to rest. He stood for Peace.
Martin Luther King didn’t orate to be revered. He spoke to Awaken the Silent.
What do you sit or stand or speak up for?
What are you literally so clear about that there is a beating in your chest or a clenching of your jaw or fist or tears rolling down your face when you consider it?
I have so much clarity it brings tears of both joy and anger and a conviction that squeezes the life force into my appendages so I can’t stand still or just sit on my hands when I’m feeling my ‘Hell Yes’.
I’m literally forced to move, my ‘Hell Yes’ is so strong.
But that only came about because I learned to claim my ‘No.’
I claimed my ‘No’ so I could “keep the main thing the main thing,” to paraphrase Stephen Covey. I wouldn’t have this much conviction and hope and faith and perseverance if I hadn’t said ‘No’ a gazillion times over.
Saying ‘No’ can be hard.
Your friends may have different political or social or economic views than you.
Standing up for who you care about and what you believe in may offend some people.
Your family or partner may want you to be the person they imagine you to be.
Leaning into the most evolved or true version of you may mean disappointing them by being who you’ve become.
The world may make it tough if you choose to take on a role that matters more to you than to the economic systems of our time. Deciding to live a meaningful life sometimes creates priorities that aren’t rewarded in the ways we’re accustomed to.
As McKeown notes in Essentialism, “the Latin root of the word decision- cis or cid- literally means “to cut” or “to kill.”
Like scissors. Or homicide. Or incision.
Deciding to do or be something requires you to cut something out. Away. Off.
Like the path in the woods that requires a right or left turn, our lives are full of discrete decisions that we make resolutely or not.
What will you say ‘No’ to, so you can become everything you’re meant to be?
Given where we are, this is, in fact, a time-limited offer.
Dr. Holly Woods is the Author of the #1 Bestseller, The Golden Thread: Where to Find Purpose in the Stages of Your Life. Read it, you’ll never again think your life doesn’t matter. Holly is a purpose activator. She believes that touching the spark of your soul lights you up so much that you alter the world just by being in it. Holly earned a PhD in Human & Organizational Development, is certified as an Integral Master Coach®, Purpose Guide®, Professional Mediator and Facilitator, Master Energy Practitioner, and is a Stages of Consciousness developmental practitioner. Learn about Holly’s work at Emergence Institute. You can schedule a 30 minute Strategy session with Holly.