The Grey. (That Blurry Line Between “Hell Yes” and “No”)

If you haven’t been inspired, ignited, informed, or otherwise entertained by my friend and entrepeneurial colleague Amber, do yourself a favor and hop on the bandwagon. If it’s one thing I connect with more than any other, it’s her assertive and deliberate decision making. She isn’t afraid to leave even what may be an outstanding career (working with Seth Godin) or an exciting city (New York) when she knows there’s something better, more important, or more fulfilling that she can and should be doing. She follows her head AND her heart, and as a result is doing great, great things without pulling any punches.

Yesterday she shared some of her “unconventional rules of life”, all of which rang true. Though one stuck out in particular that I want to elaborate on. She says:

Never do anything you don’t want to do. Hell yes or no. If you don’t want to do it, be honest (without being hurtful), and carry on with what you do want to do. Doing things that you don’t want to do because you’re trying to be nice or trying to please will actually hurt you and them in the long-run.”

“Hell yes” or “no”. Not “yes”. Not “maybe”. It’s about going either full speed ahead, or pumping your breaks and saving yourself the energy of pursuing something your heart isn’t in.

Ultimately, I believe this is the way life should be lived. It would save us all a lot of stress if we could say no to the things that don’t matter, don’t want to do, or otherwise don’t excite us. And instead, focus our energy into being fulfilled and passionate in everything we do.

But the realist in me knows this isn’t always the case. It’s not always black and white. In fact, it can often be pretty grey.

I’m here to tell you, Grey is okay. It’s not perfect. It’s not ideal. It’s not your best-case scenario. But it’s where we’ll often find ourselves.

It’s taking a job that may not be a dream, but does pay the bills. It’s renting an apartment, even when you’ve been wanting to buy a home for years. It’s taking on a less-than-ideal client to keep the lights on for another month. It’s staying put instead of taking the leap. It’s figuring things out. Problem-solving. Planning. Strategizing.

In the grey, we embrace and understand where we are to figure out where we want to be.

The grey is part of life. It’s the real world. It’s a place you’ve been. A place you are. And a place you will be.

And though it’s a part of life, the grey is temporary. The grey is a stepping stone. It’s a transition to something better. It’s calculated and patient.

Eventually, things must become black and white. They must become clear. You’ll be asked to follow your heart. You’ll be asked to take a risk. You’ll be confronted by the ultimate obstacle and challenge: yourself.

It’s at this moment, and in these moments, that you’ll need to follow in the wise words of my friend Amber and say “hell yes” and go for it or “no” and head in another direction.

But don’t get lost in the fog. Don’t let the blurriness of the grey confuse you or hold you back forever. Be decisive. Be deliberate. Be daring. Be bold. Sometimes that means saying “hell yes”. Sometimes that means saying “no”.

The beauty of both? They remove you from the grey and put you smack dab into the bright spotlight that is the best part of life…