I’m a believer in lifelong learning and so at the beginning of 2022, I attended a residential self-mastery course.* The cynic in me said you train this stuff, why do you need it? The wiser part of me (and my friends) said, what have you got to lose? I’m glad the latter won out. Forget what they say about old dogs and new tricks. There is always something new to learn or a fresh perspective to be gained. I had several ‘aha’ moments, but more importantly, I came away resolved to keep on saying yes. Yes, to ideas, suggestions and experiences.
I benefitted hugely from gaining new friends to having exciting adventures. I also noticed an improvement in my general health and state of happiness. As the year progressed, I realised that it became easier to say yes… and to do, than to say yes, but..., which is what I had been in a habit of saying. There is always something that can go wrong, but, the interesting thing is that when you decide to be positive, it frequently goes right! By saying yes, we open ourselves to opportunity and this automatically cultivates optimism. Optimism feeds confidence and thereby it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more we say yes, or its friendly cousins I can, and I will, the more likely we are to act and so achieve more.
This is not to suggest that you should become a doormat and say yes to every favour asked of you. It’s about cultivating a positive, open mindset to trying new things, new ways of doing things and asking how we can achieve a goal, rather than settling for reasons why it won’t work. It has the added benefit of focusing your attention on what is important to you. For example, next time your child asks if you can attend their soccer match, instead of saying ‘no, I’m sorry but I have to work’. Try saying, 'Yes, I will', and asking the same child to assist you with the chores so that you have the time to catch up on your work.
Practice in your personal life first, then introduce the habit into your business. Start with little things and slowly get braver with what you say yes to. Say yes to more employee requests e.g. experimenting with flexi-time or a 4-day week, learning a new skill, trying out a new system, or introducing a new product line. If it doesn’t work – what is the worst that can happen? Weigh up the pros and cons, but don’t be afraid of risk. Entrepreneurship is inherently risky, but you once said yes to starting a business.
Yes, may be a tiny word, but it has enormous potential!
Author Janet Askew