Episode #39: Whole Body Yes – How to Create Clear Agreements that You Can Actually Keep
Have you ever said yes to something where you had a bad gut feeling? How did that go? Or have you said yes to something where you knew you really didn’t mean it? How did that go? The number one reason people end up breaking agreements is because they didn’t really agree to begin with. They didn’t have a whole body yes. So, a super easy way to clean up your life, free up your energy, allow life to flow through you, be guided, step into your zone of genius, live your purpose. The easiest hack I know is to only say yes to things where you have a whole body yes.
Having a whole body yes is a requirement, I would say, for any agreement that you are going to step into. And by an agreement I just mean something that you choose that you want to commit yourself to. You might make this agreement with another person, or more frequently, you’ll make it with yourself. An agreement just means, who will do what by when? And if you’re making it with yourself or another person, you still want to ask the question, and how will I know it’s been done? So, what’s the piece of awareness that’s going to let me know, yep, check, I did it?
We want these agreements to be made in a really tight and crisp and clear way so that we can actually know that the agreement has been completed, and then we don’t have all this baggage of, did it get done, did it not, I’m not sure, I think it did, you think it didn’t or maybe even with my own self, I have this residual guilt laying around because I wasn’t super clear with myself about what I was agreeing to. That’s what an agreement is. And we have integrity. What I mean by integrity is, what you say you will do you do. So, if I have an agreement, I keep the agreement. There’s always room for renegotiating our agreements when we no longer want to keep them or we think we won’t be able to keep them.
And that’s a critical skill for keeping integrity as well. We can always renegotiate our agreements. We don’t have to have any shame, blame, or guilt when we do that. We don’t have to have regret, we don’t have to have resentment. But what’s really helpful is having a whole body yes for the next thing that we agree to, even if the agreement is, I’m not going to do that thing anymore. Great. Good. You got something off your plate. Congratulations. Trust me. The whole body yes is a stepping stone. Every single yes you can say that’s whole body, including the ones that are, I have a whole body yes to saying no, each one of those is a stepping stone toward your purpose, toward living in your genius.
And sometimes you won’t even understand how they all fit together, but every single one you take provides further clarity. And you will see it, and you will get there. And suddenly you’ll be there. You wouldn’t even know that you tried. So, what does it mean to have a whole body yes, or a full body yes? How do you know if you have one? Why is it important? And how can you find one where you really want to make change and you just can’t seem to find that whole body yes?
Welcome back to Allowed. I’m your host, Caneel Joyce. Today we’re talking about one of my most useful concepts I think that I’ve ever learned in the whole entire world of personal growth and creating clarity in your life and being a conscious leader. And it’s called Whole Body Yes. Now, I’m talking about it really briefly because it’s actually a super simple concept. Also, this is a topic that was requested by you listeners. So, thank you for those of you who got in touch with me and asked me for this. This is some, what might seem like jargon that I’ve thrown around a lot of times, it’s a very important concept. And it’s super foundational to all of the leadership personal growth development work that we do here on the show.
So, I wanted to dive into it. And this is one of a series of summer short episodes that have been listener requested where I’m going to really just get into one specific topic and give you an overview, and then you can move on with your merry summer day. I want to remind all of you that at aloudpodcast.com I link to some of my favorite books. I offer you some tools that we’ve created. We have a great new ebook. It’s about how to find a coach and if coaching would be a good fit for you. Lots of different kinds of coaching options and models that you may not have heard of that may be more effective and may be more affordable for you.
We’ve also got videos, and every single one of our podcasts, we put the video on YouTube. And whether I like it or not, these videos are not super edited. So, you’re going to get to see the raw uncut version, which is fun for me, but probably mostly fun for when we have interviews. And we’ve had some amazing guests on the show, so if you want to see those conversations you can get that as well at allowedpodcast.com. Today I want to point you to one specific resource, which is from the Change Formula episode. I offered a worksheet about how to overcome your resistance to change and boost your willingness to make change in your life.
Today’s topic is really related to this, and you’ll see why in a second. But please go there if you’re interested. The link is in the show notes. All right. So, today, whole body yes. So, what does it mean to have a whole body yes, or a full body yes? I want to have you really drop into your body and be present through the next part of this episode because this is about whole body yes, and I want you to access the feelings that go with it. So, what I mean by a whole body yes is, my entire being says yes to doing the thing. My entire being.
And by that I mean, my head says yes. So, there’s a logic to it. Yeah, that makes sense, I do want to do that. Yes, I can see all the good reasons why, or I’m compelled because we know we want to achieve this goal and there’s a rationale for why it’s important. So, my head says yes. I also will find that my heart says yes. So, my emotions, my love says yes. I don’t have any lingering, like I don’t really want to do it. Then also my gut says yes. So, this is my instinct, my animal body says yes. I feel, and I’m going to feel that, in particular, this is where I want you to get super embodied because we often override our gut instincts. And we do that because we stay up in our heads. We’re in a very head-centric stage of human development, I think. And especially in a lot of corporate culture, very head-centric.
So, drop in. You’re going to feel that gut saying yes. You’re going to feel it all the way down to your feet. Yes. And to me it feels very grounded, like I almost feel I want to bend my knees a bit and, yes. Now, that’s how you’ll know you have a whole body yes. I like to include though, there’s another element. And it’s up here above my head and it’s around my whole body and it’s out here all around me, and that is my spirit says yes. So, sometimes, and this is where it gets interesting, sometimes my spirit is even going to say yes, and I’m going to feel a calling. I might not even know why, but I feel called to go forth and to do something. And maybe it ignites my sense of purpose.
And when that happens it’s almost like the rest of my self gets absorbed into the universe around me, depending on how you conceive of that. Like, is God asking you to do a thing? Is love asking you to do a thing? And in that case, what my head says and my heart and my body, it becomes to me almost less important. And, in fact, because I have such a clear commitment personally to when I feel called, I say yes, that they ended up going along for the ride because I’ve made that choice already. So, my head may say, “Oh, I can see all these logical reasons why that makes no sense to do.” But I know, my head knows that I’ve committed already to following my calling.
So, my head says, “Even though it seems like it doesn’t make sense, I’m going to do it. I say yes.” Even though my heart is saying, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to have to like, let so many things I love fall away and I’m going to have to change how I am, and I’m really going to miss that way of being in certain ways or I’m going to need to like let go of this big project I was working on.” If I feel called my heart is still going to say, “I’m so grounded and committed to my purpose and, and my calling I’m going to follow the calling.” Then my body, I might feel tons and tons of fear. I might feel terror even. I might feel a lot of internal resistance. And yet if I feel called, I go. And you can actually expect that to happen a lot of the time.
When you have that really clear sense of calling terror might be your friend. Certainly, before I launched Allowed, I knew I was heading towards something, I wasn’t quite sure what it was. I made a bunch of big changes in my life, huge changes. I stepped out of a lot of things that I loved dearly. I changed a lot of my business relationships. I made some big expensive investments in my business, and I wasn’t even really quite sure what I was up to or what I was doing, but I felt very clearly called. And I decided to follow. And terror was my friend and my constant companion for about a year. I was just running terror all the time. Anytime we did a check in and it was, I’m feeling terror, joy, love, super inspired creativity, a little confused, and called.
So, it’s okay. It’s okay. Whole body yes doesn’t mean you’re not scared. I just want that to be really clear. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have some twinges of sadness about the piece of you or the projects or the other things that will need to die in order for you to free yourself up to step into what you’re about to step into. You can still have a whole body yes. So, it is a bit nuanced in that way. So, why is this important? I want you to think about agreements in your life where you entered without a whole body yes. You said yes. Maybe you did what the Conscious Leadership group calls a corporate nod, “Yeah, I’ll do it.” But really on the inside you might have given, “No, no, I’m not going to do it. Aye, I’m gonna kind of do it.” Or, “I’m gonna say yes and hope I can get away with it.” Or you might have been, “Okay, I’ll do it, but I, my heart is like, no, that’s not, it’s not right, it’s not ethical. It’s not, I don’t believe in it. It’s not what I want to do.”
Or your gut might’ve said no, like, “Mm, I just have a bad gut feeling about it.” Some part of your body intelligence, which we know includes our microbiome. Our gut is filled with bacteria whose intelligence is not ours, but is the result of eons of really rapid evolution, and all of that DNA is living within us. And sometimes that DNA says, “Mm, nope.” And that’s a gut feeling. Have you ever said yes to something where you had a bad gut feeling? How did that go? Or have you said yes to something where you knew you really didn’t mean it? How did that go? The number one reason people end up breaking agreements is because they didn’t really agree to begin with. They didn’t have a whole body yes.
So, a super easy way to clean up your life, free up your energy, allow life to flow through you, be guided, step into your zone of genius, live your purpose. The easiest hack I know is to only say yes to things where you have a whole body yes. Can you find a time in your life where you said yes to something and you had a clear whole body yes? What did that feel like? It might’ve been when you agreed to get married. “Yes, I am so in. 100%, yes.” It might’ve been you fell in love with a house, or you got a job offer and you had been wanting a job like that forever, and you were a big huge yes to it. It might’ve been receiving a gift. Like the first time you were given a bicycle at Christmas, “Yes!” Or given a chance. So, that’s what it feels like.
And was it easy to keep that agreement? You bet it was. You had a yes to it. So, if we apply this to a concept that we talked about in, I believe it was last week’s episode on the Change Formula, which we’ll link to in the show notes, we can overcome our resistance when we have a yes. We overcome our resistance to change. We have that clarity, the willingness, and a lot of it comes from that whole body. When we don’t have a whole body yes we are entering into agreements where we aren’t really agreeing. We’re not really committed. We’re very likely to have integrity breaches and break those agreements, not fulfill them. And if we keep holding onto those agreements and we don’t renegotiate them, we don’t let them go, we don’t clean them up, we’re going to have a lot of energy leaks.
This is a big reason why burnout happens. I’ve agreed to so much and I just can’t keep it up. And I’ve got integrity breaches now all over my life with with myself, with my body, with my selfcare, with my family, with my marriage, with my belongings, my house is a mess, I don’t know where my dry cleaning is. All these little integrity breaches all over our lives come from these broken agreements that we have with others or with ourselves. And we could free up all that energy and clean up our whole entire lives with this simple hack of whole body yes. So, it’s hard sometimes to access this. And I want to talk about the challenges in applying this tool to your life.
One of the challenges in applying this to our lives, often, in the experience that I’ve witnessed in myself and in my clients is, we don’t access presence. We can’t feel our body. We can’t hear our calling. We can’t think straight and logically with our head. We can’t access our emotions when we are constantly overriding ourselves by being over committed. This is definitely a thing that I struggle with. And it’s something I’m constantly working on. And I really am trying to under commit, because I know that in the moment I might get really wrapped up in, I have a whole body yes, but then it falls away because I’m not slowing down enough to really feel into it and imagine the entirety of the agreements that I’m entering into.
And I’m not slowing down enough to even drop into my body at all and feel my own feelings, my body’s sensations, my internal wisdom, my emotions, or I’m not thinking straight. I haven’t set myself up to think straight. I haven’t gotten enough exercise, I’m not taking care of myself. I’m going too fast. I’m multitasking. My goodness. How many agreements have you seen people make in meetings, especially now that we’re all on Zoom, and you know that they’re nodding, but they’re on Slack at the same time as they’re in the meeting, they’re not even really listening? So, that’s not a whole body yes. But we don’t slow down. We don’t get present enough to feel it.
There’s also another piece of presence here, which is when we’re in the habit of accessing presence and we have our personal life, we’ve set it up in a way that we’re honoring our own rhythm of rest and renewal and we are practicing our meditation or our mindfulness and we’re moving through our lives in presence. Then we’re going to be so much more at home in our body and we’re going to better understand the signals that are coming to us from all those places, from the eternal wisdom of our gut and all of that earth energy that is there from our spirit. We may even feel completely disconnected from spirit if we’re not accessing presence. And there’s so many ways to do it, there’s so many ways. So, a challenge I want to make to you right now is, I want you to go and remember a time when you suddenly felt fully present. This is a piece of our zone of genius I believe is when we can really know how do I access presence.
So, one of the ways I access presence is coaching. I completely am fully present in coaching. And I feel all of it. And I tend to slow down a lot when I’m doing it, and I even lose track of time, because time is not presence. Presence is a timeless thing. And I feel that also in the water. I love swimming underwater. I love being in the ocean and just that total body sensation of that I am fully present. When I leave, if I get out of the ocean, I’m usually bang, bang, bang, bunch of clarity. Okay, now I know what I want to do, and I know what I don’t want to do, and I feel really freed up and willing to just let things go and say no to things and rearrange my agreements and get into integrity in my life. So strengthening.
So, what makes you fully present? I want you to start building that into your life more. And those agreements where you feel you’re already out of integrity because you agreed and you didn’t have a whole body yes, you can get started right now and going and cleaning those up and renegotiating. I’ll probably want to talk about renegotiating agreements in a future episode, but if you’re curious about it, get in touch and I’ll bump it up in the queue and make sure I get to it sooner. Essentially renegotiating an agreement is, it’s a creative exercise and it’s, what would I have a whole body yes for?
And it may be very little, and maybe I just know I have a whole buddy yes for this. The leap of faith is often in, we might find that we have so many areas where we don’t have a whole body yes and we’re not sure what’s going to replace it and we’re scared that we’re not allowed to say no to a bunch of stuff, and we’re not allowed to do as little as we actually have a whole body yes for. If that’s the case, chances are you’ve got integrity breaches all over your life and it’s, this is even more important for you.
Trust me, the whole body yes is a stepping stone. Every single yes you can say that’s whole body, including the ones that are, I have a whole body yes to saying no, each one of those is a stepping stone toward your purpose, toward living in your genius. And sometimes you won’t even understand how they all fit together, but every single one you take provides further clarity. And you will see it, and you will get there. And suddenly you’ll be there. You wouldn’t even know that you tried, and be, “Wow. How did I get here? How did I get into this great job? How did I get into like making this impact that I’ve always wanted to make and like living in my genius and fulfilling myself?”
It’s a simple tool. I’m really glad now it’s in your toolkit. You can go to allowedpodcast.com to get more tools and resources. If you want more summer short episodes about specific topics, get in touch with me. You can also go onto Facebook. We have an Allowed Facebook group. I’m actually not posting to it a lot these days, so when I see your engagement is a great trigger for me to get in there and give you what you’re asking for. You can also leave me questions in a review. If you have the willingness I would love for you to leave a review and just let me know what would you like to hear more about. I’m really here for you. Thank you for inspiring this episode and asking for what you need. I have a whole body yes to giving it to you. And I will see you next week. Bye-bye.