Author. Life Coach. Catalyst. CEO. Authentic. These are just a few words that I have heard people recently use to describe Paul Boyton. One look at his website, Begin with YES and you will see that he is genuinely invested in helping people accomplish their dreams through action. And that is the underlying theme throughout his website. It’s a curation of stories showcasing people taking action from all walks of life. Much like he did in his own life, Paul wants you to take action and stop waiting for things to come to you. Using this as his mission he has grown the Begin with YES community to over 1.5 million people strong on Facebook and growing.
If you are serious about taking action in your own life and being in good company with others from all over the world, read the interview, connect with Paul Boyton and start saying YES more in your life!
What does being grateful mean to you?
First of all, thanks for asking me to be part of your incredibly important work. I’m honored and grateful!
For me, being grateful happens whenever I focus on what’s good in my life. When I am aware of the good things happening around me, within me and because of me, more often than not, I feel grateful. Clearly life is a mix of blessings and challenges, but we get to choose where to put our focus. We do need to deal with the realities and challenges that are part of everyday life, but we also need to find a balance. The more we focus on the miracles around us, the more miracles we’ll see.
I would like to add one other thought. Being grateful is both a feeling we have, and an expression we make. Feeling grateful is wonderful, and expressing it by helping others is even better!
Right now in this moment what are 3 things you are grateful for?
The pen in my hand, this question you have asked, and the thoughts that seemingly pop into my head because you asked them. If we are grateful for little things, our hearts and minds naturally develop an appreciation for life. That’s not to say that there aren’t many big miracles too, but focusing on small blessings is a good place to start. I would challenge everyone reading this, to answer your question for themselves. “What 3 things are you grateful for?” See how easy that was?
You share your passion for kindness, compassion, and gratitude with over 1.4 million people daily through Facebook. How does gratitude factor into this daily practice?
I don’t have a “typical” daily practice, like meditation or yoga, but every day I am writing and posting 2 or 3 positive, hopeful thoughts on the “Begin with Yes” Facebook page, and that puts me in touch with thousands and thousands of people from all over the world who are on this journey with me. If you’ve followed “Begin with Yes,” you know that being aware of what’s good in our lives is part of our routine. I never thought of this as a “practice,” but I do now.
Could you tell us about a struggle in the past year that you are now grateful for?
I don’t think I am grateful for the struggles, but I am grateful for what I learn, and how I’ve grown, as I have dealt with the challenges that I’ve had in my life. I do think that challenges can help us become kinder, more thoughtful, and more aware of the love we feel and the love around us. So although I am not grateful for the health challenges I’ve had this year, I am grateful that I got through them, one small step and a time. And I am especially grateful I found courage, even when I was scared. I’m grateful that there are so many good people around me, supporting me as I do my best to encourage and support them.
You are a role model to so many people all around the world. Who is a role model of yours, and why?
The first name to come to mind is Ellen Degeneres – She had the courage to come out, took risks, stayed kind, and all the time kept her wonderful sense of humor. Like the rest of us, she had a major life-altering decision to make, and I’m glad she chose authenticity, compassion and love. Ellen has taught so many of us to be happy and proud to be who we really are!
Your Community page is a place people go to receive inspiration from your words. If you could name a few other pages that do the same for you.
Two that come to mind are Cheryl Maloney’s page, “Simple Steps,” “Real Change” and Jacob Norby’s page, “Blessed are the Weird.” There are so many good pages on Facebook, but I find that I end up spending most of my free time engaging with the people sharing so much on “Begin with Yes.” The people there are so motivating and empowering to me, and having a community of 1.5 million positive people around me is an amazing reality, that keeps me very busy.
Can you describe the emotion/ feeling you get when you read over comments and see the number of people that not only like the content but have shared it out so many others can experience it?
The feelings are gratitude and love. Sometimes the comments make me smile, other times tear up. It’s like getting a PhD in humanity. I am blessed by my friends on Facebook, most of whom I will never meet in person, but who have touched my life in remarkable ways. I don’t say this lightly, and I am sure it has the potential to be misunderstood, but I truly feel love for the people who show up on my page day after day. I’m a very lucky man.
Could you share the key ingredients of building a strong community like “Begin with Yes.” I don’t think I am a social media expert, but here are a few things that I think have helped me.
Be authentic – be yourself and tell the truth.
Respect the people who are with you.
Be consistent in posting original, thoughtful provoking material.
Use beautiful photographs, and always let people know you appreciate them.
Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your life so far and why?
This is a wonderful question, and my mind is flooded with so many possible answers, including being a good father and grandfather, my work at The Moore Center, writing my first book, and on and on. I think that what I value as my most significant accomplishments always seem to revolve around achieving goals, making personal dreams come true, and getting through the personal challenges and dark days that we all face.
Tell me about the moment that you realized that the community you had built up was a huge responsibility and blessing. To quote Superman, ”with great power becomes great responsibility.”
I do feel a great responsibility to the “Begin with Yes” community, and a great deal of support for what we are creating together. I can remember our 1st year, and being excited to hit 100 friends, and then 500, and it took almost 2 years to hit the 10,000 mark. Today we are close to 1.5 million friends, and adding between 10 and 15,000 new friends every single week.
I believe that we keep growing, and the level of participation (the number of likes, shares and comments) is so high, because when folks visit the page, they know there will always be new content. I personally manage the page and personally post every morning and every late afternoon, and again at bedtime. For me, the connection I feel with the people who visit the page is where the power comes from, and it is pretty powerful and pretty amazing too! I guess Superman was right.
In closing, what is one suggestion you could give to our audience that can help them incorporate gratitude into their daily lives?
Pay attention. Life is complex and filled with challenges, stress, as well as blessings and miracles.
We obviously need to deal with the realities in our lives, and also work hard resolving our challenges. At the same time, we also need to remember to let in the light. The best advice I could offer is the exact advice I need to hear myself: Keep looking for the blessings and the miracles. No matter what else is going on, there is plenty to be grateful for.