I am going to let you in on a little secret: For my entire career I have said yes to just about every opportunity that has been placed in front of me, and it has made a profound difference in my professional life.
No matter how much or how little effort is required to do something, I will almost always say yes when someone asks me to do something for them. Sometimes I will even do things without being asked, just because of the opportunity that it creates.
Here are a few examples of where I have said yes over the years:
Yes, I will work late to complete this report.
Yes, I will pick up her workload while she is on leave.
No, I don’t mind going the extra mile. I was hoping to learn how to do this anyway.
Yes, I will sign up for your service and give you feedback, it sounds like fun.
Yes, I will volunteer my time to help other professionals grow.
No, I have never done this before, but it sounds like a good opportunity for me to grow personally.
Yes, I will join that sales call if it means we have a better chance of getting the deal.
Yes, I will present my findings to the company as soon as we are done.
No, I am not comfortable talking to large groups, but I would like to be some day.
You name it, I said yes to it. I didn’t say yes as a way of getting more money or expanding my ego, I said yes to the opportunity of gaining experience beyond my years.
… and the experience started rolling in.
Always say yes to new experiences
Experience is the most valuable asset that we have in our professional lives. By saying yes to new experiences, you are making yourself more valuable.
You are creating short term value by building good will toward those you are helping and making their lives easier.
Long term value is created through the wisdom gained from experience.
It pays off in the end
By saying yes to just about everything during my professional career, I have not had to pay to generate a single business lead. Every client I have obtained through word of mouth, client referrals and inbound marketing.
Saying yes has generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue for me and my business partners.
That $250,000 contract? We got it by saying “yes, of course I will be a reference on your resume” when a former client was looking for a new job.
That $1MM client? All because I said “yes, I will give you feedback on your sales process” 5 years before they joined a new company.
Future money making opportunities are often influenced from saying yes in the past. Reason more to say yes to everything.
When is it OK to say no?
Do I ever regret not saying NO more often? Absolutely. There are times where I said yes to things that monopolized my time and prevented me from realizing my true calling. There are times where money was left on the table because I had already said yes to something else.
By not saying no I gained some lessons that were even more valuable; I learned how to avoid situations that would negatively affect me in the future. By saying yes to everything, it made saying no much easier.
No, I can’t give you everything for free.
No, I can’t do anything that is potentially illegal.
No, I won’t let you take advantage of my generosity.
I can now use saying No as a filter to limit future mistakes.
Say Yes to Everything
Go ahead and try saying yes more often; the short term discomfort is nothing compared to your long term gain.