Over the next week, I'll be following in the high-heeled footsteps of reality TV's Real Housewives as I chase my dreams, and you're invited to join me!

I have to hand it to the housewives… Posing with fruit is harder than it looks, but I’m still juiced up about my first challenge!

Now don’t go Tamra Judge-ing me (not that you’re going to be able to help yourself), but I am obsessed with the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo. Every. Last. One.

Before you take to the streets chanting, “Lock her up!,” allow me to explain. I tend to be a sponge when it comes to others’ stress or anxiety. Seriously… I once had to stop listening to the “Confessions of a Shopaholic” audiobook during a car trip, because the lead character’s inability to curb her spending DESPITE being persistently pursued by creditors nearly caused me to drive off the road. It’s supposed to be a comedy.

That’s why in a world with so much turmoil, negative news and hate-filled news feeds, there’s something cathartic about watching a series that allows me to turn off my brain and enjoy the spectacle before me. Much like Seinfield was a “show about nothing,” the Real Housewives are nothing in the grand scheme of things. And yet, they’re everything. The greatest shows on Earth for Spongebob Yoga-pants over here.

So imagine my surprise when I realized my mental escape had become a source of profound life lessons begging to be soaked up like a, well, sponge.


Let’s take a trip to the big apple, shall we? It’s 2009, and we’re smackdab in the middle of season two of the Real Housewives of New York City. One of the pivotal plot points of the season was an ongoing feud between model/philanthropist Kelly Killoren Bensimon and entrepreneur (and soon-to-be gazillionaire) Bethenny Frankel, the origins of which are expertly explained in this Seacoast Online recap:

It all started – and could easily have ended – last week during a meeting about one of Jill’s charities. Kelly made a point to say she didn’t want her name involved since she’s asked to put her name on so many things and she doesn’t want to do that if she can’t be directly involved – and she’s too busy to get involved. A woman at the meeting asked Bethenny who that was, meaning who is Kelly. Bethenny said apparently she’s Madonna.

Kelly heard the comment and they got into an issue there at the table. Bethenny said Kelly comes from “a place of no” and she, Bethenny, comes from “a place of yes.”

Break scene… Let’s dissect this gripping piece of American history, shall we?

Above: Bethenny speaking Frankel-y about her season two nemesis. (source: http://bricesander.tumblr.com)

Overlooking the whole “too important to put my name on this” situation, was Kelly so wrong? She was overcommitted and didn’t want to make a promise she couldn’t keep.*

Much like Kelly, I, too, tend to come from a “place of no.” Not because I’m being negative, but because I am focused and goal oriented. If a new opportunity arises, I have to be convinced that it is a good idea to change course, while others may immediately jump on board and have to be convinced NOT to do it. To be honest, this has served me well in many ways. I don’t tend to commit myself to an impossible roster of things to do. I don’t let myself get distracted by shiny things or the next great idea at the sake of my present pursuit, and I do my best not to let others down.

When coaching small business owners across the country, my biz bestie and I even teach them that “No.” is a complete sentence and that they should get comfortable saying it so they don’t get distracted from their goals. The “place of no” can be a place of extreme productivity, so maybe coming from it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Only what if it is?


Consider this lesson from the other side of the country. Enter Erika Girardi and Lisa Rinna from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

In the first episode of the latest season of Beverly Hills, Erika’s skyrocketing career as an, errrr, performer is showcased. Of her recent explosion of opportunities, she states in an {edited-by-this-Southern-Baptist-blogger} confessional interview:

“I say yes to everything, so… You want to write a book? Let’s write a {BLEEP} book. You want to do Dancing with the Stars? [Let’s] do Dancing with the Stars right here and now. Let’s make some more music? Let’s make it today. Everything is today. Nothing is tomorrow. You’re given opportunity once in your lifetime, so you really have to take this moment and make the most of it. Because this moment is fleeting. This moment is incredible, given to very few, so I’m gonna maximize my {BEEP} time.”

The same is true of Lisa Rinna, who has maintained her place in the limelight over an almost 30-year acting career, seamlessly transitioning from a pillar of daytime television to reality tv star.

“I’ll do anything to make a buck. I don’t say no very much. I say, ‘yes,’” Lisa once said on the show. Boy, she wasn’t kidding:

As for Kelly, she now comes from the place of no-longer-on-TV-or-on-our-minds.

Perhaps there is a place for coming from a “place of yes.”


So does this mean that you should say “yes!” to every opportunity that comes your way?! A resounding NO!

If you’re always jumping from one project to the next or chasing the next big idea, you’ll never accomplish anything you are working on, and no good can come from taking on more than you can handle.

So when is it okay to be a yes woman? Well, it depends… (See what I did there?! No really, you have to read this story about Lisa to get it.)

The path to success rarely looks like what we think it will when we start down it. The best laid plans don’t always work out, but that doesn’t mean your goal isn’t still attainable. It just means that you might need to go for it a different way.

If you’re like most goal getters, you’ve broken down your grand vision for your life and career into a series of smaller objectives. Look past these short-term targets for a moment, though, and consider the progress you’ve made toward your big picture goal. Do you feel stuck in one place, spinning your wheels on the road to realizing your dream? Do you simply want to fast-track your arrival?

If so, keep your eyes open for new ways to accomplish your goal outside of the activities you originally planned. It may seem like a new opportunity is taking you off track, but it could help you get to your long-term vision.

When we make our plans, they are based on the opportunities, connections and knowledge we have in that moment. Your goal may not have changed, but what has changed around you and inside of you since you first made your plan to achieve it?

YOUR CHALLENGE: Say “YES!” to a new idea or opportunity this week that isn’t on your current plan but could help you get closer to your goals. (Bonus points: Share what you’re saying yes to in the comments below so I can cheer you on!)

How I’m Taking On the Challenge: I’m saying “YES!” by starting this blog the week after my 34th birthday! I’m on a personal pursuit to live my best life by doing something to better myself every day, so I’ll be taking on a different self development challenge each week for the next year. Join me on the journey by signing up for my once-a-week emails below.  Sounds serious, I know, but I promise not to take it too seriously. Let’s have some fun!

*Despite the incredible display of objective journalistic integrity exemplified in the paragraph noted above, I would like it made known that I am firmly on #teambethenny.