Last weekend I discovered that Tonya, one of the caffeinated contributors to Coffee|Served Daily had traveled to Northern California from Charlotte, North Carolina. She was near Santa Cruz to shoot a wedding, and after a few emails we figured out that she’d be in Napa on Sunday. I already had plans, but they shifted and the stars aligned, and I met her for lunch (Bloody Marys and Smoked Trout Salad at The Girl and the Fig, if you must know). Between the two of us, we drove four hours to see each other, and it was so worth it. We ate and drank, walked around the square, took a few photos and finished off at the El Dorado Hotel for a cheese plate and wine. Well, I had iced tea, but in my imagination it was wine.
As we walked back to my car, we talked about taking the risk and making the effort to meet each other face-to-face. I’ve had the chance to meet a few other folks from the coffee blog and didn’t take it. It wouldn’t have been impossible, just a little trickier. And I’ve regretted it. I told her that I have regretted more things that I haven’t done, than things I have done. Hence, the title of this blog…a reminder to myself to say yes. If it’s a bad (or even worse, boring) experience, you can leave. And even if it’s not what you expected or planned, it’s always something.
Tonya told me she tries to respond to every inquiry with the word, “yes.” Even if her answer will end up with a no, she starts off with a yes.
I am still thinking about that. It opens a whole new world, and makes every conversation something. Yes, I hear you, and I am not sure I can help you right now, but here’s an idea. Yes, I’d love dessert, but that salad was so delicious that I will have to wait until next time. Yes, I do know of your charity, and think you do awesome work, but I am supporting something similar.
If it starts with yes, there will be a stronger probability that it will also end with a yes. Yes, let’s take a walk instead of doing the dishes. Yes, let’s go see that movie. Yes, let’s go to that art show. Yes, let’s get to work early and leave earlier.
I’m well aware of the power of yes for experiences. But I haven’t thought about how starting with yes can transform a conversation. Even your mouth is required to make a different shape, and one that’s much closer to a smile. It gives you a chance to breathe, to imagine how you can turn the question/request…even a demand, into something NOT negative.
Yes, I totally get how passionate you are about your point of view. I see it differently. Tell me how we can both work together on this. (That would be versus my standard-inside-but-sometimes-outside-voice response of “How could you possibly think that way and share air space with me?”)
Yes, I am ready. Give me an hour (a minute, a year, ten years, but I will be ready).
A conversation will go somewhere else, turn into something else. I’m going to experiment with it. I wonder where it will take me?