(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY "No" has become a knee jerk reaction to every request and opportunity. No, sorry. My schedule is full. Maybe later. That just doesn't work for me. No thank you. The problem is "no" won't get you a raise. No won't get you the body or health you desire. And no won't get you new friends or rekindle your marriage. No sucks the life from your life. Excitement? Adventure? New challenges and opportunities? Poof! Gone in an instant with just one word.
Want to bring some oomph to your life, live with excitement, and make more money? Just say yes. Say yes to things you don't want to do. Say yes to things that scare you. Say yes to things that seem impossible. It's simple - just say "yes."
But saying yes is controversial. Time management experts will cringe when I suggest you say yes more often. In fact, I was one of those time management experts. In my most recent book, The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose, I encouraged readers to say no. The problem is that they listened too well. No is now a habit even when we are given a great opportunity.
No is easy. No requires zero risk. No gives you a sense of peace. But no will not give you the life or career you want. Here are five reasons why yes may just save your life:
1. Yes opens doors. Yes paves the road to experiences. Sure, some of these experiences may not turn out well, but if you say yes often enough, you can't help but stumble on life-changing opportunities that you never would have experienced or fathomed if you had said no.
2. Yes is challenging. Yes means you have to do something, and when you take action, you are putting yourself at risk. What if you don't do it well? What if something bad happens? What if you regret it? Common concerns, but they miss the point. The goal is to design your life where you experience and challenge yourself, not to design a life that provides the greatest comfort and security. No keeps you on the couch and sheltered from the joy of living. Yes gets you out there. Doing. Experiencing. Learning. Failing. Living.
3. Yes gives you responsibility. Yes is a commitment and a promise. Yes is your word that you will take action. In too many companies there is a fear of stepping up and taking on responsibility. The less you are responsible for the less chance you will be blamed goes the thinking. In the short-term, this is undoubtedly true. Take on a project that doesn't succeed and this puts you at risk. But this is phantom risk. The real risk is dodging responsibility. The less your colleagues want to step up and tackle the impossible the more opportunity you have to get noticed and get results. How can you rise in your company? Say yes to what everyone else refuses to do.
4. Yes provides momentum. No keeps you stuck. Yes gets you moving. Granted, you may spin your wheels doing things that don't ultimately work out or feel that you are wasting time on activities that aren't leading you anywhere, but action begets more action. The more you do, the more you will want to do. Yes provides the impetus to start the action.
5. Yes is the antidote to regret. You will always regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did do. Saying yes takes courage and is the solution from living a life of would haves, could haves, and should haves.
Over the next week, say yes to everything (legal and ethical that is!). Boss asks you to tackle a new project? Yes ma'am. Neighbor needs your help? You bet. Your daughter wants to go on a bike ride. Of course. Nothing amazing was every accomplished from saying no. Be bold and start saying yes.