Saying ‘Yes’!

I’ve often thought that people say ‘No’ straight away because it is the easiest option to take; they are perhaps afraid of what might happen if they were to say ‘Yes’ and whether they could cope. Saying ‘No’ will usually keep your life at a standstill and you won’t progress very far. However saying ‘Yes’ could open up new horizons and who knows what exciting challenges could await to help you climb the ladder of life and personal achievement?

I suppose some may say I have been foolhardy throughout my life. I’ve always been up for a challenge or a bet, I can’t resist it. For example, I decided not to take the place I had been awarded at the Royal Academy of Music to study piano because I did not want to end up like my piano teacher and when a girlfriend said to me she was going to be a radiographer I asked her what that was. Having explained the job she asked, “why don’t you become one too?” I said, ‘Yes’ and spent the next few years having great fun training at Westminster Hospital and taking part in the medical students’ musical productions. The week I qualified, my singing teacher at the Guildhall School of Music asked me if I’d like to go for an audition with the BBC. I said, “Yes” and got the job. I took 3 weeks off from the hospital and went to Aldeburgh to sing in the BBC 2 production of Peter Grimes with Benjamin Britten conducting. This changed my life for while I was away I made more contacts and on my return to London I auditioned for London Weekend TV. I got the job, gave in my notice to the hospital and spent the next 3 months dancing and singing with Joe Brown on TV. Although I often worked part-time as a radiographer when I was out of work, my show business career in opera, musicals, variety, pantomime, acting session singing and eventually my own production company ‘Edwardians Unlimited’, had begun!

Twenty years later with two beautiful children and a recently failed marriage, a friend dared me to put an advert in a newspaper advertising dinner parties for single people. I said, ‘Yes’ and Dinner Dates was born – twenty years on its still thriving.

A few years passed, then having persuaded a publisher, for reasons known only to myself at the time, to let me write a chapter in one of his books he later said, “you should write your own book”. I said, “Yes” and signed on the dotted line. Well I procrastinated for a year until there was only a month left before the completed manuscript had to be at the printers. I confessed that I hadn’t written a word, bought myself a computer, asked the astonished publisher how to switch on the machine and operate it, then brain stormed the book with him. He left in a highly nervous state and I started to type with one finger! In fact I still haven’t learned to type properly and my one fingered typing is now quite fast! I wrote day and night, even in restaurants whilst I was hosting my dinner parties and a month later the copy was finished. Two months later I was posing by my book in W.H. Smiths and Harrods and my writing career had begun.

These are some of the opportunities that were offered me and if I hadn’t grabbed them with both hands I expect my life would have been very different – but maybe not so exciting. Some experiences were good and some not so but on the whole I think I learned as much from the bad experiences as I did from the good and I’m grateful for them.

So don’t let your fears hold you back. Don’t miss those hidden opportunities. Sometimes have a go, jump in with both feet and say yes. Why not see where life takes you?

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