Saying Yes

August 2016
I’ve had a jam-packed few months.
This is what I’ve been up to:

That’s a busy 3 months!

How come I get to do so much?

There is only one answer. It’s because I say yes.

Due to my hectic rowing training schedule and starting a new career in a completely different industry, I’m usually knackered, broke, or most likely both. When I say yes to opportunity, I’ve usually got no idea how I’m going to travel there, do ‘it’ (whatever it may be) and how I am going to afford it, but it’s like The Yes Tribe say “say yes, the rest will sort itself out.”

Most of the time, I’ll be in these brilliant sitations armed with a tub of peanut butter (which I got free), a few apples and a tin of mackerel, because that’s all I can afford. But this just adds to my experience in some strange way. I’m making sacrifices in order to be in those places.

In so many situations, one opportunity leads to the next…..

Let me take you back to September 2014 where I’m sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I see a 24-hour endurance event advertised 6 weeks away and find myself wishing I was the kind of person that’d take part in something like that. I make a comment about it looking cool and carry on with my day.

At that stage in my life, I had only just started running and taking part in short obstacle races.  For a long time, I had dreamt about doing massive adventures and endurance events that really pushed me but never had to guts to sign up. Nor did I think my body and mind was capable of such things.

Later on that day, I got a message from a friend who worked in the obstacle race industry asking if I’d like to take part in the 24 hour event. OH SUGARLUMPS! Despite not having any of the correct kit, experience and a clue what I was doing (as well as my then-partner vocalising he didn’t think I was capable of doing it), I said yes and proceeded to feel extremely sick!

Little did I know, this opportunity would quite literally change my life…..

Fast forward to April 2015 – I’m lounging over my friends living room floor one Sunday afternoon surrounded by chocolate and indulging in a wonderful ‘cheat day’ when my mobile rings. It’s one of the organisers of the 24 hour event I did. Despite us being friends, we weren’t ‘chat-on-the-phone’ kind of friends so I thought it was strange him calling me.  In short, he asks what I am doing for Christmas 2016 and ‘do I want to row across the Atlantic ocean?’
How can I say no to this???

7 months previous, I’d completed that 24 hour event I mentioned and impressed the organisers by turning a 1kg bag of sugar into £86 in an hour. But this Atlantic challenge was on an entirely different level. There’s sharks, sleep deprivation, hunger, sunstroke, seasickness, 30-foot waves, capsize and it would be 50 days!!!!!
Within 30 minutes I said yes.

Get back on board the time machine ….. 

Late May 2015 and I’m standing at the start line of another one of my friend’s endurance events, this time it’s 48 hours. Now I have to prove to the guys that I can cope under pressure with no sleep for 2 days. I am to prove to them, and myself, I am the person capable of joining them in their 3,000 mile adventure across an ocean.

I’m joined by 4 others, 3 of which I know well. Then there’s this guy, Matthew, who I hadn’t met before. This quiet guy looks at me strangely when he first meets me, almost a sideways glance and slightly suspicious.
You may have guessed it, 10 points if you have. Matthew is Mat.

Step back onto the time machine for one last journey…..

Now we are in early June 2016.

Having completed the 48 hour challenge and after knowing Mat for just 3 days, I send him a whatsapp asking if he would like to join our Atlantic rowing team.

And the rest is history…….. I’m now rowing around Great Britain because of another series of events and being given more opportunities on a weekly basis.
You’d think the moral behind the story would be to say yes, yes?

Kind of. I would always encourage people to say yes to positive opportunity.

However, for now, I have started to say no. I have a goal to raise £21,000 for my Great British rowing challenge and I would like to do that by the end of March. That means putting other things on hold for a short while, making sacrifices and knuckling down.

I never would have thought in a million years I was capable of doing some of the things I have done. That one comment on Facebook back in 2014 changed it all. It blows my mind.

I’m going to make a suggestion on here which I don’t normally do:  When I suggest saying yes, I’m not meaning saying yes to going to the pub or shopping or something boring like that, I’m meaning something you would normally say no to.  And that also includes not only saying yes to other people but also to yourself!  Say yes to the place you’ve always wanted to visit, the activity you’ve always wanted to try or that person you’ve always wanted to meet. Find some information about it and make it happen.  You’re likely to really enjoy where it leads you.

Afternote: Yesterday I said yes to running the Tough Guy obstacle race, one of the most brutal winter obstacle races, with none of the correct kit and only 3 hours notice.