· managing your opportunities · 5 min read

The Power of "Yes"

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Unlock the limitless potential of your life and career by embracing the power of 'Yes'—discover how saying 'Yes' can open doors to new opportunities, successes, and meaningful connections.

Recently I posted an article called The Power of “No”, focusing on managing and protecting your time using the word “No”. Some might think this means always saying “No.” In this article, I want to dispel that notion and talk about the power of “Yes.”

Why “Yes”

A few years ago, while working on my MBA, I had the privilege to interview one of the co-founders of an advertising firm that has since grown to impressive levels and become international. This man, let’s call him “Bob,” shared a story that has stuck with me.

In the mid-90’s the World Wide Web was new. Businesses were trying to figure out the best way to use it to promote and make money. Bob was speaking to a telecommunications firm about how to best serve them. During talks, Bob suggested “You need a website”. They paused, then looked at him, and asked “Can you make one for us?“. Without hesitation, Bob said “Absolutely”.

What Bob didn’t say was that he and his agency had never built a website before. That didn’t stop him because Bob understood the power of “Yes”. In this case it was “Yes we can do that”. The result of this yes was an experimental website concept that ultimately didn’t work out but led to a flourishing, 20+ year relationship with the client.

Bob knew that saying “Yes” can create new opportunities in life and business.

”Yes” can be a vision of what is possible

Bob’s story is not the first time I have heard of this approach. Growing up, one of my Dad’s (Jon Thurmond) favorite stories was how he became one of the first store managers of the Waffle House in Grandview, Missouri. He leveraged the image of knowledge during the interview to win the position.

During his interview, he asked all sorts of engaging questions about the equipment, maintenance schedules, building design decisions, and even the ductwork. Most of this wouldn’t matter for managing a store, but it showed his engagement and focus on details. It demonstrated that he had the gumption needed for the job. He took that initial kernel of success, built on it, worked hard, and ultimately excelled in his role. Bob did much the same. He took a kernel of possibility, found a solution, and made it happen.

The power of “Yes” is so significant that it was the central theme of the 2008 movie “Yes Man,” starring Jim Carrey. In the movie, a man changes his life by saying “Yes” to every opportunity. He made friends, brought joy into his life, found love, and achieved more success by using “Yes.”

It doesn’t stop there. You can see it in everyday tenacity. In stories of pursuit of dreams, of a simple date, seemingly impossible rescues, in sales pitches, and many more places. The power of “Yes” is everywhere.

How I use “Yes”

As someone in the technical field, I’ve had to use “Yes” in many ways. My first “Yes” was to myself as a kid when I took things apart to understand them. Later, it was “Yes” to getting a spot at the local vocational-technical school. In college, I said “Yes” to learning how to build a website with no prior experience and again when I worked towards a scholarship for my MBA.

Last year, I was presented with a new opportunity where saying “Yes” meant expanding my skill set. I was asked to help with an API written in Java. I said “Yes,” despite not having touched Java in over 20 years. What I found was that I was familiar with the concepts and structures; I just had to adjust to the syntax.

This “Yes” led me to another “Yes” to learning AEM (Adobe Experience Manager), a CMS built in Java. I’ve now worked on three different AEM projects in less than a year, creating further opportunities. Even if they aren’t in AEM or Java, I have the confidence to pick up any new language or tool and succeed.

But it doesn’t stop there. When I first met my wife, I was nervous about asking her out. She was pretty, intelligent, kind, and interesting. I was debating what to do. Ultimately, I told myself “Yes, I can ask her out.” I didn’t expect her to say “Yes” back. When she did, I was so surprised I didn’t know what to do. It worked out great — I have an awesome marriage and three kids because I said “Yes” to asking her out.

What can “Yes” do for you?

As you can see, “Yes” is a powerful word when used correctly. It opens you up to new possibilities, jobs, friendships, love, hobbies, interests, and business opportunities.

Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?” Then figure out what you need to say “Yes” to for success. Sometimes, this may mean wasting time. Other times, it could lead to small successes. Accumulate enough successes, and you might find your goals within reach.

Want to learn something new? Say “Yes” and try it. Want that job? Apply for it, try things you might fail at, learn from mistakes, get better, and try again. Want to ask someone out? Say “Yes” to yourself. It’s okay.

Remember when I said “Yes” helped me get a scholarship for my MBA? I didn’t just say “Yes” once. I applied three times in four years. It took three tries before I got a “Yes” back. It was worth it because it enabled me to get my MBA.

Conclusion

Using “Yes” at the right time and place can mean doing and having more for yourself and those around you. My question to you is, “What will you do with Yes?”

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