3 Ways "Yes" Can Lead to Success
Three little letters - one powerful word.
Today, let's discover 3 unexpected ways you can tap into the power of YES for more success in your life, career, and/or business.
Are you ready? (The answer should clearly be yes.)
1. Say Yes, and You'll Figure It Out
Acclaimed Saturday Night Live writer and actress, Tina Fey, has a great essaywhere she talks about how she took her first gig at SNL in 1997, even though she felt terrified and unprepared for the opportunity. She said "YES" without worrying that she couldn't figure it out.
It's led Tina Fey to her life philosophy about success: "Say yes, and you'll figure it out afterwards."
Years before Tina Fey's experience, my dad was in business school at Tulane. There was a story he'd always tell me that has inspired me to say yes. The story goes that an executive at Barq's Root Beer (yes the soft drink) asked him - "Hey, can you create a co-op advertising campaign for us?"
He said "yes." And he had absolutely no idea what a co-op advertising campaign was. He read up quickly, jumped in, and rose to the occasion.
Whether it's Tina Fey or my dad, the lesson is the same: don't let fear, lack of preparation, or general panic keep you from saying YES to big opportunities. Remember that there's always a first time for everything. This doesn't mean say yes to representing someone in court if you've never gone to law school (or something equally absolutely over your head) but you get the idea...
An internship. A job. A special project that could stretch your skills. If you've got an inkling you can make it happen, go make it happen. 1. Say Yes and You'll Figure It Out.
Read Tina Fey's Essay here.
2. Where You Can, Sub "Yes" for "No"
I've learned a lot from one of my good friends who's a fellow small business owner. Her company has really taken off and she often gets requests that she can't take on: everything from "can we have coffee so I can pick your brain about growing my business?" to "can you donate some product to this very worthy cause?"
As much as she'd like to say a full yes to everything, she doesn't have the time available or the resources to be able to spare sometimes. She's also an expert who's spent years learning ways to do things and there's immense value in any time she might give others.
So how does she deal with requests like this? She reframes these asks to a point that she can answer "yes" and be as positive and encouraging as possible.
- If someone says they'd like to get together for that "brain-picking coffee" she says something like - "I'd love to help you grow your business. I offer mentoring sessions for that exact need. Let me know if you'd like to get together for one!"
- If someone asks about donating products - she says "Yes, I'd love to support you. For this, I offer X discount off our products. Let us know how we can help!"
I've really tried to take a page from her book because I think wherever you can, be kind and helpful. This doesn't have to mean losing your boundaries, or giving away time or assets you can't afford to give, or devaluing what you do. If you stop to think about, there's usually there's at least a part of what someone asks you for that you can give in some way.
Inspired by this example, I do offer mentoring sessions and I also create free resources - like this blog, video blog posts, and my free ebook - so that when I get asked for advice or my time, I have a lot of great things that I can share with someone to add value and encourage them. The majority of these resources are free. And though it's an investment, the mentoring session program is perfect for those who are at a stage where they're needing guidance in their business (or business idea) where the 1-on-1 advice would be very valuable.
Here are some ways you can put this into action if you're often getting asked for time, resources, or both that are in short supply:
- Create free and/or inexpensive resources that you can share with others - Great formats for this are a newsletter, blog, facebook lives, or even a digital download that you can email to people
- Write a few "canned responses" in a Word Document or using this trickin Gmail for common questions you get - like I might get "How did you get your job at Disney?" > that way you can share advice without having to rewrite it each time
- Provide information on what you can offer: If you're an expert or very experienced person in the field someone is asking you about, invite them to have a mentoring session with you and provide details on what that investment might be. This is an invitation that you can give positively, along with those free resources, that someone can opt in to if it's a fit for them
- Suggest an alternative option: If you'd love to give your time, your product, etc. but can't give exactly what they're asking - offer enthusiastically to give what you can. Most of us are stabbing in the dark when we ask for help or a favor and we're open to your thoughts!
So next time you feel uncomfortable saying no to a request, consider ways you may be able to say "yes" and still give something positive - even if it's just encouragement. That can go a long way!
3. Don't Be Afraid To Say "No," So You Can Say More "Yes"
Drafting off of #2, you may be thinking - wait - aren't they saying the opposite things?
Not really - it's all about the context. #2 is about being creative and positive where you can when you are asked for something you may feel that you have to say no to - due to lack of time, resources, or both.
#3 "Don't be afraid to say 'no' so you can say more 'yes' " is all about setting your own agenda where you need to.
Take the example of "Batch December" where I wrote the other week about my crazy business experiment of taking the entire month of December off from client work to focus solely on business development.
These days, I'm getting a lot of inquiries and requests for estimates right now and I'm saying no. I'm saying yes to reconnecting with them in the new year, but I'm choosing "no" so I can say "Yes" to Batch December. I'm making these tough decisions to protect that time and say "yes" to 15 business days of pure business development that will fundamentally shape my 2017 and beyond.
It may cost us some clients, but what might I miss if I chased every opportunity and threw this business development time to the wind?
Sometimes you have to say "no" to something - even something good - to say yes to something great. What is something you could say "no" to now that would allow you to say more "yes?"
- I'm not available for that weekend call - I'm going to spend the time with my family.
- I'm saying no to that free speaking engagement - so I can use the time to focus on writing next week's newsletter and not having to work late.
- I'm saying no to that epic idea for collaboration - so for now, I can do what's most important and work on my own upcoming project.
Whether life, business, or career --- sometimes "no" is the best gateway to a way better YES.
Last week, I said no to writing this weekly blog article. It was less than 24 hours after the presidential election and quite honestly, I just couldn't think straight and I didn't feel like I had the right words. So I said no to it. I used the time instead to draft 15 new video newsletters for 2017, which we filmed with Big Dog Little Bed on Thursday. Can't wait for you to see them!
The great thing is that "no" from last week has allowed me to say an emphatic YES this week! Coming back to this blog with renewed energy and spirit - excited to bring you great things the rest of this year and into next.
So I'm saying YES.
- Yes to jumping in and figuring it out later!
- Yes to helping however I can as creatively I can!
- Yes to what matters most, and no to the rest
- YES to you - because you can make this work for you!
No matter how this reaches you, I hope it encourages you to think differently about those three little letters and the power they can have for your success.
Leave a comment and tell me one way you're going to use "yes" in your life! I'd love to hear what you're standing up for - on this - a new week and a new opportunity to make big things happen.