How do you progress in life and your chosen field or career? Say, YES. Be a YES person.
Without fail, every time I said YES to something I thought could help me become better at who I am and what I do, good things happened to me.
I went the extra mile, did the work, got promoted. Made more money. Had fun. Met amazing people who helped me get even better. Rinse, repeat.
I built a lucrative and successful career rising to executive ranks in corporate communications by saying, “yes” often. And now I’m sharing tips in my “retirement” on how I did that, so you, too can progress in your career and life.
Back to being a YES person. Now hear me. This is important.
I didn’t say YES to just ANYTHING. I thought about what opportunity came about and first tested whether to take it. I tested it against my goals and aspirations, against where I was heading and what was important to me at that point in my life, against my core beliefs and values.
With that clarity of purpose as my lens, I asked myself questions like this:
- Does taking this on align with my goals and aspirations – personal or professional?
- Does it support my core beliefs and values?
- Will the opportunity help others?
- With it help me grow, develop myself and others, learn, meet new people, give me exposure I wouldn’t otherwise have?
- Is it honest, legal, ethical, and moral?
- Will it support my personal well-being?
- Does it anchor to me authentically, honor my family and myself?
- If I take it on and fail, what’s the worst that could happen? Will you be sure to reflect on what went well and what didn’t and learn from that?
Sometimes, this conversation in my head took me 2 minutes. Sometimes it took me 2 days or more. Either way, what’s important is to STOP AND THINK just long enough to make a decision.
Once you make your decision, gather up your courage and make the move! Just do it.
Take a deep breath, tell yourself you got this, say, YES, and step out into your future.
“Nothing changes if nothing changes,” I say.
That’s a picture of me at my college graduation after saying “yes” to continuing my education part-time while working full-time.
So, make the move, make the change.
In doing so, you will learn, grow, stretch, challenge yourself and come out on the other side of whatever you do with more experience and more confidence. And you’ll prove to yourself it was worth the risk.
Saying YES to an opportunity is how you progress and prosper.
But let’s remember that saying YES is a choice. It’s a decision based on the self-talk you engage in when asking yourself those questions above.
Keep this in mind, it’s EQUALLY important to run the same exercise – ask yourself the same questions — on what you will decide to say “NO” to. Being selective in what you choose to do matters.
Saying YES to everything means you are not focused on what matters most. Over time, if you’re not focused, you’ll find you may have bitten off more than you can chew and could wind up being overwhelmed, confused, and paralyzed.
I know. I’ve experienced this, and it’s not a fun place to wind up. Don’t fall into the trap I have sometimes fallen into. Be smart. Be strategic. Be discerning. Be true to yourself.
It takes discipline to steer your career and life in the direction you want it to go. That’s how the most successful people manage their success. They say NO to anything that won’t keep them laser focused on what they’re doing or where they’re going.
There are a lot of scams out there – a lot! They’re all over the place. They come in as texts and phone calls; they hit your inbox and social media feeds. They present themselves as people who at first may appear to care about you but are instead out to gain for themselves alone – or worse yet, even hurt you.
My friends, there are Satanic people trying to lure you into things that you probably do not want to say YES to. Follow your gut and instincts when, and you get a sense something just doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Steer away.
That’s why it’s so important to stay true to what’s important to you as you progress in your career and in your life. If you don’t have a clear image of what you want and where you’re going, veering off course will not be hard to do. Let me give you some examples. For me, these are things I just say “NO” to.
- Drugs and excessive alcohol (I do enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail now and again).
- The 7 Deadly Sins. For those who don’t know, these are Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, and Wrath.
- Regularly consuming unhealthy food. Regularly is the key word here. I love pizza, bread, pasta, cookies, and ice cream and enjoy them . . . in moderation.
- Any act or behavior that dishonors the 10 Commandments, a code I deeply believe in and strive to follow.
- Texts, phone calls, emails, ads, stuff I get in snail mail, that feel out of place or that seem very tempting to engage in.
- People who are negative and maliciously intend to do harm to others.
To me, these represent temptations and situations I stay away from as much as possible.
In a nutshell I say “NO” to anything I wouldn’t want my Mom, Dad, or Grandmothers (rest their souls) to see plastered “above the fold” (or top scroll) of the NY Times, on 60 Minutes or in a dark place on Tik Tok – anywhere that could undermine me, my family, my business, career, or the reputation I worked all my life to establish.
What’s important is I KNOW what these rules for myself are. I live my life by them every day.
Asking myself questions, with my goals and aspirations clear in my mind, and saying “YES” when it matters most – and no when it doesn’t feel right — is how I became successful in my career and life.
It’s a way of living that keeps me focused and leads to prosperity.
Now you know. You should consider doing the same for yourself. The time spent on this will be well worth it.
To your prosperity!