Is it a HELL YES?


Sometimes, students ask me questions with pained looks on their faces:

  • Do you think I should take this job?
  • Do you think I should go to graduate school?
  • Do you think I need to join this club so it looks good on my resume?

From one look at them, I know the answer: No. Absolutely not. Do not take that job. Do not go to grad school yet. Do not join that club.

Why? They don’t want to! It’s all over their faces! Their bodies are screaming, but they can’t listen so well because they are confused by their monkey minds. Because really, you know.

You know.

No one needs anyone else’s guidance. It’s all there. We all have our own inner compass. It points in the direction of joy. It points in the direction of excitement. It points in the direction of growth. It never points in the direction of doubt.

I’m not sure who said these first, but here are two aphorisms I live by:

  • When in doubt, cut it out.
  • If it’s not a hell yes, it’s probably a no.

Read those again. Feel the truth in them. And now, a journey through my past:

When I graduated college, I had no idea what to do. I traveled for a year and buried myself in debt and still… no idea. Upon returning to the US, my sister Kate and I visited my friend Cat in San Francisco. Her lease was up. She needed new roommates. Immediately, we all decided to move in together. Kate and I quickly moved to California. It was a hell yes.

After I moved to San Francisco, I applied for a ton of jobs with no luck. Then, one day, I walked my resume into the San Francisco Bay Guardian, an alternative newspaper. I talked to the receptionist, the next day I interviewed, and was quickly offered a job with the most weird and wild and amazing people on the planet. My experiences there became the setting for my first novel. It was a hell yes.

When I visited Montana for the first time, I went to a county fair and my first rodeo and was offered an amazing teaching assistantship at the most beautiful campus nestled in the mountains in Missoula. Hell yes I wanted to go there.

img_4131My friend Maria invites me to go rafting with her. Hell yes.

My friend Alicia wants me to go to a songwriting class. Hell yes.

My friend Shireen challenges me to bootcamp classes. Hell yes.

My friend Katie suggests a mountain biking clinic. Hell yes.

My friend Chris challenges me to do a full marathon in 2017. Hell yes.

WHAT?? Wait a second.

None of these things are easy. I don’t say hell yes DURING these activities. Most of these things scare the shit out of me. And yet, should I have done them? Am I glad I did them?


HELL YES you want to do that.

HELL YES you want to try that.

HELL YES you want to be that person.


Now, those other things that you’re doubting? Should you do that? Should you try that? Should you go to that event?

NO!!! For heaven’s sake! Listen to your body! Look at your face in the mirror! Stop shoulding all over yourself!

If it’s not a hell yes, it is probably a no. But, you know what? Stop squirming and worrying. You have time! Maybe it will become a hell yes. Right now, if it’s not, that’s ok. You could do it anyway and see how it goes. You could gather more data. You can always wait.

Beautiful reader: You are gorgeous and you have an inner compass. It’s telling you where to go. It’s pointing to the joy. It’s pointing to the growth opportunity. Trust yourself and your body and your intuition. It will never lead you the wrong way.

If you’re in doubt, cut it out.

Go for the HELL YES. You deserve the HELL YES. You want the HELL YES. Wait for the HELL YES. Really.

I’m loving you out there. Please, wait for it. When you know it’s on, it’s on… and it’s gonna be freaking awesome.

Oh, heeeeeeyyyyylllllllll yes.








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