There was a gobstopper-sized lump in my throat as I wrote an email to a mogul in the health and fitness industry declining an offer to become one of his nutrition coaches. After days of debate I decided that I couldn’t say “fuck yes” to the offer, because that would mean saying “no” to something else — I’d be saying “no” to Minimal Wellness. But during this internal debate, I also stumbled to say “fuck yes” to continuing to work for myself.
Not long ago I would have jumped into the coaching offer, falsely believing that I could do it all — I could continue cultivating Minimal Wellness and be an outstanding nutrition coach for another fitness team. As I wrote that email a small part of my psyche was screaming “you’re an ungrateful idiot! This is an opportunity to learn from a great person who’s running a thriving business and to make some solid income!” But I’ve come to realize that I need to be more deliberate with what I say “yes” to, if I want to maintain my priorities. In Derek Sivers’s book Anything You Want he recommends saying “no” to anything you can’t say “hell yes” to. I’m a bit more crude and intense than Mr. Sivers, so for me, something has to be a fuck yes. I have to be able to say “fuck yes” to a decision in order for me to know it’s the right call. These lessons apply to life far beyond the fuzzy boundaries of business.
These days I say “fuck yes” to relatively few things in order to prioritize my core and foundational values. I say “fuck yes” to the actions and activities that will help me be the best mother and partner I can be. I say “fuck yes” to putting in the consistent effort necessary being healthy and fit. I say “fuck yes” to spending quality time with my family and friends. When I started Minimal Wellness I said “fuck yes” to all the work I knew was going to be required to make this a viable business. But what I realized when trying to make the decision regarding this coaching opportunity was that when I put similar roles side by side — coaching for someone else and coaching for myself — while I wasn’t able to say “fuck yes” to coaching for someone else, I also had trouble saying “fuck yes” to continuing to work for myself. This uncertainty was unnerving. Self-doubt set in. If I can’t immediately say “fuck yes” to working for myself, what am I doing? Am I a fraud? Do I lack the sufficient passion to make this business viable? Is this wavering the first sign of failure?
I love nurturing Minimal Wellness, in many ways it’s like my second child. But just like being a single parent, being a solopreneur can be terrifying — it’s all on you. You can’t outsource the hard stuff or ask someone to take the reins when you’re depleted, exhausted, or feeling uninspired. No one tells me what I need to do to make my business work (although as with parenting there are lots of opinions). Minimal Wellness is only a year and a half old but the excitement of the launch has faded and the far more difficult job of showing up, thinking creatively and strategically, and providing the best coaching for my clients everyday has begun. If I let those things slide, my business will suffer. Saying “fuck yes” to myself means sitting in the chair, doing the work, setting limits, boundaries, and expectations, forming the habits, and saying “no” to life’s cacophony of distractions. In my heart I know I can and want to continue on this path — it’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. But knowing my direction doesn’t mean I’m immune to questions and worry about my abilities. Grappling with why I struggled saying “fuck yes” to myself showed me how quietly and deeply rooted self-doubt can grow and how easily it can sabotage our best intentions.
Upon broader reflection I see that many of the most difficult but rewarding decisions in my life have involved saying “fuck yes” to myself and I see my clients struggle in similar scenarios. We are all occasionally hamstrung by devaluing our worth and abilities. Sometimes it feels easier to doubt ourselves, to make the perceived safe decision, to make the excuse, to change our expectations, to follow ill-fitting societal norms, and uphold our false beliefs that only exceptional people can do the thing we want to do. But that’s bullshit.
Saying “fuck yes” to yourself is an exercise in believing and then executing on fact that you can do it, not just that you want to do it.