Are You Saying YES to Life?

Liz Dennery in ParisLast October, my good friend Susan Hyatt announced on Facebook that one spot had opened up for her retreat in Scotland. It sounded incredible. She’d booked a castle fit for Scottish royalty, and the trip included a guided tour of Edinburgh and surrounding towns, Outlander site visits, hiking, coaching, hip-hop dance classes and fine dining with a private chef. I immediately felt an intuitive pang that I was supposed to go. I texted Susan and said, “If I sign up for your Scotland retreat, do you want to spend a few days in Paris afterwards and celebrate our birthdays together?” It took her less than a minute to respond with an emphatic, “Duh.”

I had never been to Scotland and it was on my top ten list of places to visit, and I’m always looking for a reason to spend more time in Paris. Plus, last summer, I’d just finished navigating a complicated divorce and I was craving more fun, spontaneity and adventure in my life. Needless to say, within minutes I registered for Susan’s retreat and sent in my deposit.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Less than two hours later, I got a call from a client asking me to take on an additional project before the end of the year. This was totally unexpected, but I said, “Sure, I can do that. Sounds great!” Oh, and one more thing – this client wanted to pay for the entire project up front. As I hung up the phone, I realized, “Wow, this new project just paid for my entire Scotland/Paris trip and then some.

I had money in the bank to pay for my trip before this happened, but getting hired for this extra project – and getting a surprise influx of cash – felt like a big “thumbs up” sign from the universe. It felt like confirmation that my instincts about this trip had been spot on.

I’ve learned that when I follow my gut and allow myself to say a big, fat “YES!” to life, that’s when the magic happens. Looking back, every “leap of faith” I’ve taken has been rewarded in some way. The reward isn’t always cash, of course. Sometimes it’s a beautiful new friendship, a new creative project, a new passion or a new idea or realization that influences my daily life.

What do you want to say YES to?

It may not be something as big as an international trip, but perhaps you’ve been thinking about taking a Tango class or you’d love to spend more time at the beach or the lake. Maybe you’re pissed off by the current political climate and you want to get more involved in local politics. Or maybe you’ve started writing and you’ve thought about publishing your work but you’re afraid of what people might think if they read it.

There’s always a litany of excuses to not do something: “I’ll make a fool of myself,” “I don’t have enough time,” “My family needs me,” “It’s such a crazy time right now,” or the perennial favorite, “I’m afraid of what other people might think.”

Blah, blah, blah.

We all have these same thoughts. We can’t let these excuses stop us from living brave, bold, colorful lives.

As an entrepreneur, as a mother, as a writer, as a friend and a daughter, I want to be the one who makes the first move. I want to be the one who calls spontaneously to say, “I love you,” the one who books an international flight without over-scrutinizing every detail, the one who takes my son on a last-minute adventure, the one who drinks champagne with friends “just because,” and the one who says “YES!” to life…not, “Hmm, maybe next summer.”

Liz Dennery says yes to champagneEvery time I follow that intuitive inkling to say YES, I feel more awake and alive, and life seems to overflow with rewards.

Here’s the Truth with a capital T: Life isn’t going to wait around for you.

Life is constantly presenting you with opportunities to dive in to new experiences, adventures and people. But you must make the first move. You are constantly being given the chance to take a step into the unknown. Pay attention to those subtle nudges and cravings, the ones that say, “Hmmm, that looks interesting,” or “Wow, I’d love to try that.” Many times, there are no words at all – it’s just an intuitive feeling or sense that something feels right.

When you step outside your comfort zone without a logical assurance that things will work out, you get the chance to s-t-r-e-t-c-h yourself and grow. Even if things don’t “work out” in the way you think they should, most likely you’ll learn something and gain confidence in the fact that you tried something new.

Because here’s a not-so-secret secret: when you follow your inner compass and say “YES!” to life more often – even when things don’t work out exactly as you think they should – you get to learn more about yourself, what you’re capable of and ultimately feel more comfortable in your own skin.

YES to Scotland and Paris. YES to champagne “just because.” YES to following the spark of intuition that says, “Just go for it.” YES to the responsibilities that I’ve chosen, and also… YES to spontaneity. YES to joy. YES to life.


  1. “Life isn’t going to wait around for you” just gave me goosebumps. I say “yes!” to that. I’m a Media Coach and last week I posted a question on my Facebook page asking people if they had a project/book/product that they wanted to put out into the world but for some reason they weren’t…what was the reason? The floodgates opened! People spoke of fear, perfectionism, worries about family reactions to their work, life getting in the way, etc… Why do so many people fear rejection, when they reject themselves and their work before anyone else even gets a chance to see it? I learned to say “yes” to life when a dear friend who was my age died very suddenly. Driving home from his funeral I made him a promise out loud that the next time something came along that I knew with absolute certainly I could not do, I would do it anyway for him. Literally that week, doors started opening for me to publish a parenting book. I was positive I couldn’t write a book, but I had to keep my promise and say “yes.” I’m now a bestselling, award winning parenting author. “Yes” is a powerful word. I’m going to share your article because honestly, sometimes I just want to shake people and say, “What are you waiting for?” But your words encapsulate that sentiment much better. Sending you heartfelt gratitude for sharing this.

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