The "No, Thank You" Bite of Life

by: Annie Groeber

When my two stepdaughters were little, they had to taste at least one bite of everything that was served to them.  We called this a "No, thank you" bite.  We would make them try whatever it was, but they had the right to say, "No, thank you" if they didn't want to eat more. As a result, they learned to like a wide variety of foods (you've got to love an 8-year old who suddenly realizes that she loves escargot) and it also helped to build their confidence.  


What started with a simple dinnertime ritual had the added benefit of helping them feel brave and empowered.  The "No, thank you" bite concept for kids is something that we, as adults, can also learn from.  Beyond food, the idea of being open to taking a chance, a risk or that "bite out of life” is something worth considering.  In addition, taking a small bite – a taste – isn’t as overwhelming as having to eat everything on your plate.


After I graduated from college, I had a variety of corporate jobs in sales, marketing and communications.  I knew that I liked the work, but I also realized that the 9-5 route wasn’t a good fit for me.  I talked to people that I looked up to and asked for advice.  (aka “I put it out in the Universe.”) Within a few months, a freelance opportunity came up, but it meant quitting my corporate job and only having guaranteed work for a few short weeks.  It was a risk, but I remember thinking, “I’ll just do this one project.  If it doesn’t work out, I’ll look for another full-time job.  And, I can always temp or wait tables.”  That one small bite was the start of successful freelance career.


Think about a time recently that you were anxious about doing something and, as a result, you simply didn’t do it. Maybe you’ve been thinking about looking for a new job, but you haven’t done anything to make it happen.  Or, you want to learn how to kick box or learn Spanish?  What if you want to take a trip outside of the country, but you don’t even have a passport?


It’s easy to let anxiety rule – especially if you start thinking that you have to eat everything on your plate (to keep the food analogy going). It can stop you in your tracks and keep you from moving forward.


The beauty of the “No, thank you” bite is that it challenges you to just do one small thing to move toward your goal.  If you are thinking about looking for a new job, your bite could be doing one online job search every day for a week or scheduling time to talk to a trusted advisor.  If you want to take a trip, your bite could be downloading the passport application form, getting your passport photo taken and mailing everything in.


Taking one small bite out of a challenge can be the start of overcoming it.  It’s your life so you can always say, “No, thank you”, but you may also find out that you love escargot if you say, “Yes, please!”