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Diane Adam

Diane Adam was honored for her philanthropy by the Santa Barbara Foundation at the Celebrate Philanthropy luncheon.

Say “yes” as often as possible, always when there is nothing to lose.

Yes is a gateway to many wonderful things such as philanthropy, friendship, mentorship, encouragement and empowerment. Yes is the first step to a grateful life.

If we keep ears and eyes open every step of the way and enjoy the pleasure of learning something from everyone we meet, gratitude naturally follows.

Say yes to philanthropy. Opportunities are found everywhere, from being a room parent to hosting charity events to leading an organization to success. The effort need not be large, but the reward on investment is huge.

Saying yes to friendship can bring gifts galore. Gifts of a confidante, someone to share news with, gifts of a strong shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen can all be found in friendship. Gratitude becomes second nature when we practice with a friend.

Saying yes to mentorship can give new life to an old job and foster growth in a student or colleague. When we offer our time in mentorship there is a twofold benefit for both the mentor and the mentee. The gratitude from a mentee when the formal role has ended is a pathway for a longer, fuller relationship to thrive.

Saying yes to encouraging another is the best gift a person can give, no matter what age. From encouragement when we are learning to walk as children to encouragement to do our best in school and sports to the encouraging of a coworker to reach for the stars and succeed to their fullest potential. Being grateful for the encouragement makes the next step easier to take.

A yes to empowering someone is empowerment itself. To feel powerful we just need someone with a message of gratitude.

There are many rewards and challenges to yes. During a time of transition it is critical to look through the yes lens. When we think it impossible to expend more time and energy the emotional commitment to a community of any kind is its own reward. To say yes does not have to cost money. The reward of a job well done and gratification of seeing an idea come to life are worth the investment of time. The reward of gratitude from the people that are affected by a yes is worth the investment of energy. The reward of self-satisfaction that comes from offering a yes toward an expertise is enough reward to ripple out to another opportunity.

Ask yourself, how can I not do this? A community cannot thrive without a cadre of volunteers to put their yes behind missions and activities that we hold dear. From arts and culture to education and human services, a community needs it all to thrive and grow in resilience.

Being an optimist is to always try to see opportunity when presented with a challenge. Yes is the favorite word of the optimist because it lends strength to share ideas and talent. It gives guidance and hope and most of all it is encouragement for more yes moments that inevitably follow. Yes can be a catalyst to making a new connection. Yes can be an opportunity to share a skill or talent if only for a short while. Yes can make the day of someone that needs it. Yes can change a spirit.

Be grateful for all the people who say yes. It is people with heart and dedication to their passions that make a community vibrant and thriving. If we all said one more yes to the next opportunity in which we had nothing to lose, we would all be looking, listening and learning that we all have something to gain.

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Diane Adam is co-creator of Touchstone Central Coast. Touchstone can be reached at touchstonecentralcoast@gmail.com

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