Life is busy and complicated with competing demands that can pull us in conflicting directions. Naturally, accepting opportunities to attend events, meet new people, support charity events and help others can be difficult.
Many years ago, after a tough period in my life, I made the conscious decision to say yes as often as possible. It wasn’t easy, but this simple change was life-altering. Now, I say yes to so many more social events, trips, job opportunities, and interviews, and to helping people in my network achieve their goals.
More generally, I find, people respond well to the word ‘yes.’ Yes is an energizing word and a great way to start an email, ‘Yes, I would love to work on that project’ or ‘Yes, Friday night works perfectly.’ Something about the word ‘yes’ simply makes people feel happy and optimistic, and the more you use it, the more feelings of happiness and optimism will be linked to you.
Of course, using the word ‘no’ has the opposite effect, although so much more jarring; ‘no’ feels limiting, and final. In fact, the word ‘no’ is considered ‘the most dangerous word in the world’ by Psychology Today magazine. It’s proven to release stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters, impair our logic, and disrupt communication. Use the word ‘no’ to your detriment.
In addition to making people happy, saying yes will open the door to enhanced experiences, more enriched opportunities, and a greater overall feeling of positivity. When dealing with your network, it’s important to realize that yes is not just a word, it’s an attitude. We like to be surrounded by people who are positive, engaged, and participatory. If you become that person who perpetually declines or worse, cancels, eventually your network will no longer be your network – before long, they’ll reject you.
Saying yes has brought me much good fortune both personally and professionally; it has quite literally brought me to the top of a mountain. It’s the reason I found myself in the unlikely position of working for Canada’s largest industrial supplies company. AGI is a place where I’ve had the opportunity to do my best work alongside extraordinary leaders whom I’m proud to call friends.
I’m a big believer in setting annual goals to kick off the New Year, and with January 1 just around the corner my suggestion is to make 2018 your year of saying yes, and see what happens!
Amy Davies is Founding Partner of the Firefly Group of Companies. She is a writer, professional speaker, insights expert and corporate trainer. Amy lives in Toronto, Canada with her children and partner.