April 28, 2023

The Right Yes 

Guest Post by Booth Andrews

Hi Erika,

A lot of the work and conversation in the burnout prevention, stress management, well-being, and time management space is focused on setting boundaries and learning to say “no.”

And this work is powerfully important work. In fact, I have written and spoken about my own lessons learned about setting boundaries on the podcast (episodes 36 and 37), in workshops and in my online program.

But what about saying “yes” to the right people, places and opportunities?

It is rare that we have the bandwidth and resources (either personally, professionally, financially and so on) to chart a completely different course from scratch at whatever point in our journey we determine our path isn’t working for us (at best) or is making us sick (at worst)–as much as we might wish we could disappear and start from a clean slate somewhere else.

The good and the bad news is that the path to well-being and transformation is a series of micro decisions, made with as much awareness and intention as we can muster in that moment, on the way back to who we were before the world told us who to be.

What we say “yes” to can have an unexpected and profound impact on our well-being and our journey back to wholeness in many dimensions.

Case in point . . .

This week I had the pleasure of facilitating the annual planning retreat for an organization whose people and programs have become part of my story in so many ways.

In 2016, I accepted an invitation to attend a Co.Starters Facilitator Training at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. I didn’t have a lot of capacity in 2016 (for more on this you can listen to my crash and burn story on the first episode of the podcast).

But by that time I had the experience (and scars from) running both for-profit and non-for-profit businesses. And even in my compromised state, I felt comfortable that I could “show up” in this role.

That invitation led to approximately four years spent leading Co.Starters at KEC; guiding entrepreneurs and start-ups through the building blocks of the business model canvas and helping them turn their ideas into reality.

Not long after stepping into the Co.Starters role, I was asked to coordinate what has now become @wieknoxville; a group that exists to empower women in business through community and connection.

Five plus years later, with an admin team that now includes Catherine Porth, Founder of Let Her Speak, and Halee Sprinkle, Founder of Czech Yourself Marketing, WiE Knoxville engages with more than 1700 members via in-person programming and an online community.

More importantly for the purpose of this story, the women of WiE have become part of the fabric of my community and my business.

I was introduced to Catherine through KEC shortly after she moved to Knoxville when Let Her Speak was the seed of an idea. The first time I ever told my crash and burn story to any audience was at Let Her Speak’s First Annual Summit. Catherine has become a dear friend and co-conspirator.

As the Co.Starters Facilitator, I also met Haseeb Qureshi and David Morehous who both regularly lent their talents to share their experience and insights with new entrepreneurs. A few years later, I joined Morehous Legal Group where I now serve Of Counsel; focused on making legal services less scary and more accessible to start-ups and small businesses.

And I have had to the chance to share with @themakercity audiences through both virtual and in-person workshops and online content.

Whether through Co.Starters, @wieknoxville, Let Her Speak, or What’s the Big Idea(another KEC program), I have met so many cool humans who not only feel passionately about their own ideas but also about supporting other entrepreneurs; people like Erika Biddix, Founder of Aught Entrepreneurs and Tanika Harper, Founder of Shora Roots Collective and Co-Founder of The Women LLC Knoxville.

The entrepreneurial community in Knoxville gave me a safe place to show up, even when I wasn’t my best, to add value, and to build a new community of friends and peers who didn’t care that I was also publicly sharing with the world that I live with chronic mental illness (well before it became much more common for mental health to become part of our everyday conversations).

This community helped me heal. Because part of healing, part of transformation, part of the journey back to ourselves is finding places we can safely show up and be valued, validated and seen.

I cannot name here all of the amazing people with whom I have had the chance to connect, support, mentor, “Booth Hug”, learn, and build a supportive community over the last 5+ years as a result of that first “yes.”

As much as the path to well-being and ultimately thriving includes learning to say “no”, it also involves learning to say “yes” to the right things.

I had no idea what a powerful influence KEC would have in my life when I first said yes. But every yes since then has charted a path I couldn’t have imagined back then.

Are the communities, companies or relationships you are a part of helping lead you to a healthier, more whole, more impactful version of yourself?

Or are they keeping you stuck (at best) or sick (at worst)?

What is a micro step you could take today toward a community that is positioned to help you heal and thrive?

Where (or to whom) can you say “yes” as you chart a path back to you?

You can find Booth Andrews and all of her offerings at her website, https://www.boothandrews.com


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