The people who pull you to new heights

Peer pressure gets a bad rap.

Those two words are usually associated with bad choices and a bad crowd.

But, peer pressure might be just what we need to do something we wouldn’t otherwise imagine.

Last week, my mom and dad visited from Colorado. 

Florida has been chilly (by Florida standards) and the full-time residents had on scarves and fur-lined boots.

I had taken the morning off of work to spend some time…just me and them.

We had plans to go to the beach. For the past two days, my dad had been pumping up the idea of a re-enactment of our dip in the ocean from a few years back. (That time, it was summer and the ocean temps were above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, mind you).

He reminded me to put my swimsuit on.

I played along and changed out of my long-sleeved shirt and sweatpants. I threw a few towels in the car. With no intention of going in.

Except, there was a twinge.

A twinge that told me…I might commit.

Heck, I couldn’t leave his 70+-year-old self to brave the waves alone, could I? (Well, maybe I could…)

We took our walk. A long meandering stroll through freshly soaked sand and ocean spray. (Really, there was wind…and there was spray. Did I mention it was kinda cold?).

We reached the decision point.

I knew from experiences past that the best times, the highlights, had been when my dad had that same childlike grin. That same, ‘ah, come on…let’s do it’ cajoling encouragement had taken me through white-water, down zip lines, sneaking into pristine college athletic facilities to jump in the foam pit of the gymnastics training area.

I said, “OK”.

And, that OK meant the world to me and to him.

Those two little letters brought us joy (including the joy of finding water warmer than the outside air) and a memory we will never forget. We made a moment together. 

It got me thinking about the moments I miss because I don’t say ‘OK’. I choose ‘no’ or ‘not now’ or ‘in a sec’.

Shonda Rhimes, the television titan, has a wonderful TED talk and book that describe her year of saying ‘yes’ to everything. In it, she talks about how ‘yes’ opened doors unimaginable and helped her find her way into a new version of herself.

What about you?

Are there enough yes’s or ok’s in your vocabulary?

Or, do you have a person in your life whom you’d like to help say ‘ok’ more often? (Check out Robert Cialdini’s work on persuasion for some tips)

Are you surrounded by people who will encourage you to take (the right kind of) risks?

To get out of your comfort zone?

To realize that you can live the life you want?

If the answer is ‘no’…go find some. Or, ask the ones you have to challenge you to take small, beautiful steps to say ‘ok’ to something you’ve wanted to do. Or, something that creates the smallest of ‘twinges’ that tell you you’re onto something.

Something that will wake you up and help you come alive.


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