Yes Man

Posted October 7, 2010 by jimhigley

The other day I was talking to my college son about an intern opportunity that landed in his lap for consideration. After he shared all the details about it including the time commitment, the specific work he’d be doing, my reply to him was to remember that (and I quote) “Sometimes, the hardest thing to know is when to say ‘no.’”

He pretended I was sharing wisdom.

As I reflect about it, what I was sharing with him was the exact opposite of the way I’ve been trying to approach my own life in the last year or so. I’ve been trying, in small ways, to grab a little bit from the Jim Carrey character in Yes Man, and not be afraid to say “yes” to new things – even when those things were a little out of my comfort zone.

The funny thing I’ve been learning is, the more I say “yes,” the more things kind of make sense. Here’s a few current “yes” things in my life:

Yes #1: Bowling

My new neighbor, also named Jim, asked me to join his bowling team, recently.

“Sure!” I told him in a tone that suggested I knew how to bowl. I haven’t really bowled since I was a kid. With bumpers.

But I said “yes” because, truthfully, my dad was a bowler. He bowled every Monday night in a Knights of Columbus league in my little town in Nebraska. I’d occasionally tag along with him, if my mom had a school meeting or some conflict that night, and just sit in the background, sipping a Dr. Pepper and watch my dad play. And be silly. I absolutely loved doing that. In fact, after my dad passed away 13 years ago, the only thing I wanted of his was his bowling ball. I’ve actually kept it on a stand as a little lawn ornament next to my grill outside. I know that sounds tacky. But it makes me laugh. And, it helps me remember all the things that made my dad so uniquely my dad.
So, I’ve hosed off Dad’s old bowling ball and I’m joining the guys on Tuesday nights. A bowler I am not. Still. But I’m meeting some good guys. I win.

Yes #2: Angels

I have a lot of angels in my life lately. If I were to tell you about the real angels, this would turn into a much longer story. Call me if you want the scoop on that. The Angels I recently said “yes” to are the Imerman Angels, an amazing one-on-one cancer support group. They’re based in Chicago but provide help to anyone – and I mean anyone – dealing with cancer, anywhere in the world. They team you up with a pal, a buddy – an angel – to walk the walk with you. It’s very personal. It provides critically needed support. It’s compassionate. And, it works. As a cancer survivor myself – I’m one of the lucky ones to give a little bit of insight to someone who’s now walking down the path I’ve been down.

Yes #3: World’s Greatest

And, my third “yes” is way outside my comfort zone. I was recently asked to enter a national competition – for guys who write about being a dad – for the title of “World’s Greatest Dad.” It’s sponsored by a neat, new guy magazine called To make a long story short, I entered. And now I’m a contender for this thing. Do I honestly think I’m the greatest at anything? Please refer back to my bowling skills for the answer to that question. What I do believe, however, is that each of us has the ability to be the greatest to the children in our lives. I believe that passionately. So I threw my hat in the ring. And, guess what, I’m actually in the game.

There’s a handsome cash prize that comes with this title, which, in the spirit of my collective “yeses” I’ve told my friends at Imerman Angels is all theirs if I somehow end up on top of this thing.

So, that’s a long way of explaining why I’m glad I’ve been saying “yes” lately because it’s brought some pretty neat things into my life.

What do you need to say “yes” to?

While you ponder that, if you’re so inclined I’d love to get your support with this “World’s Greatest Dad Challenge.” I need public votes. There’s a link at the end of all of this. Just click through and push the “vote” button. It’s easy and you can do it daily until October 22. You’ll be helping a great cause, Imerman Angels, by helping me.

And, what’s in it for me? I’m not totally sure. Another journey I imagine.

But for now I’m going to simple enjoy something I just remembered as I was typing these ramblings. The calendar says it’s October 7. My dad would have been 85 today. So I’m going to savor a few memories of the man I knew to be the world’s greatest dad.

To learn more about Imerman Angels,