Have you ever taken an improv class? One of the first things you learn about doing improvisational comedy is to say, “yes.” When the other person suggests something, saying “yes, and” moves the sketch along. Saying “no” brings it to a screeching halt.
Life is like that, too. When an opportunity is presented and you say no, a door closes. Saying yes creates the possibility of great (or at least new!) things happening for you.
Does this mean you should say yes to everything?
Well, no. Some things are just bad ideas. Saying no to bad ideas is smart.
What you should avoid, though, is the automatic no. This is the no that comes without thinking when you are confronted with a new possibility. Whether it is an offer to speak to your professional association, taking a yoga class, or going on a trip to a new city, saying no only because something will take you out of your comfort zone is always a bad idea.
The next time you are presented with an opportunity, before the “no” springs from your lips, ask yourself a few questions:
What part of you is saying no: your instincts or your fear? Probe a little deeper for the origin of the no. As you dig, you will find your true reasons. If they have to do with real dangers or problems with the offer, go with the no. But if it is just fear, consider saying yes instead.
What is the worst thing that could happen if you say yes? If the worst thing is that you go broke, destroy an important relationship or go to prison, “no” might be a good answer. If the possible consequences are less dire, maybe a yes answer is warranted.
How does this new opportunity fit in with your overall goals and objectives? If it is consistent with your goals, say yes. Would it interfere with doing what you need to do? That might mean a no.
What good things could come from saying yes? Even if it doesn’t appear to be a perfect match with your goals, are there other benefits you might get: financial, personal growth, resume enhancement?
Be open to saying yes, and see what great things you can make happen!