Tea with a Titan, Episode 46: Mary-Jo Dionne, Just say “yes!”

Tea with a Titan, episode 046 Mary-Jo Dionne, Just say “yes!”

Your host: Mary-Jo Dionne, Just say “yes!”

Tea of choice: Vancouver’s Steam Tea House.

What we cover: “It is not our job to ask ‘how?’ It is our job to say ‘yes!’” —anonymous

A few years ago, a friend of mine made me a mixed CD. One of the songs was Snow Patrol’s “Just Say Yes”, and it resonated the most for me on that playlist.

“Just say yes. Just say there’s nothing holding you back.”

We are so conditioned, as planners, and as a Type A list-makers, and as do-ers with goals and full daytimers, to say “no” when something we hadn’t necessarily seen coming is presented to us. If it is going to require exertion we hadn’t planned on having to exert, or thinking we hadn’t planned on having to think, or making plans we hadn’t planned on having to plan, we say “no”. We come up with reasons why it won’t work or why we can’t.

I’m not talking about having the ability to avoid biting off more than we can chew. When you say no to things that do not serve you, when you say no to that which depletes you, that is a whole other story. That is to be commended.

I am talking about having an ear that is so finely tuned it can tell when the sound you hear is opportunity knocking, and the time to answer the knock with a “yes!” and not a “no” is now. Because sometimes that happens – sometimes something so big, so exciting, so ginormous lands in our laps, only we’re too caught up in the weeds to notice the potential for the blossoms. We say: Oh, how can I possibly squeeze that in?! How can I possibly go along with that?! How can I possibly, with all I have going on right now, make room for that?!

Our job, however, as they say, is not to ask “how?” our job is to say “yes”.

Like Snow Patrol. Just say yes, just say there’s nothing holding you back.

So, when a dear friend of mine, called me on the weekend and spontaneously let me know of an opportunity that had presented itself, my first reaction — on a visceral, gut level — was to think “no, this isn’t the right time for me.”

That opportunity? Well, due to the last minute cancelation of a fellow participant, one spot had become available for one person to join a group of approximately 20 entrepreneurs and thought leaders for a week of big thinking and unforgettable life experiences on Sir Richard Branson’s private estate, Necker Island. Did I want the spot, she asked me? If I did, she would put my name forward to the decision makers, but I needed to act fast.

When I talked about it with Chad, and we quickly identified the logistics of what we’d need to solve for me to take off to an exclusive and remote locale in the British Virgin Islands, Chad said something that changed it all for me. Knowing that I’d love to do a trip of this nature “someday”, he said: “Jo, you’re not getting any younger.”


Now – I know for a fact he didn’t mean it in a derogatory way. Neither of us begrudges or bemoans the aging process, it’s a privilege denied to many. But he meant it in a way to remind me that time is finite. Maria Beyon Ray says: “Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in an eternity. We have only this moment. Sparkling like a star in our hand. And melting like a snowflake.”

So, in just a few weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane to Dallas, and from there, one to San Juan, and from there one to Tortola, and from there, a small boat will zip me through the Caribbean Sea to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, where for one week, I will be surrounded by a group of the most formidable do’ers and dreamers: The change makers and rule breakers and forward thinkers – those people who know what the German poet Goethe said is all too true: “Anything you believe or think you can, do it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.”

So, this weekend, one a weekend equated with rebirth for so many, Easter Weekend, no less. I made like Snow Patrol, and I just said yes. Because there’s nothing holding me back.

How you can learn more:

What book do we recommend you download for free? Right here, right now? The Virgin Way: Everything I know about leadership by Sir Richard Branson

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