Say Yes: An Overlooked Success Strategy

Say Yes: An Overlooked Success Strategy image DATE: March 23, 2021

Most people want to be reasonably successful however they might define it. A lot of people are well on their way while some are struggling for strategies to help them succeed. Sometimes the most effective approach is right under our nose, hiding in plain sight. We’ve just disregarded it or intentionally overlooked it. This one success strategy may be THE one that propels you forward in ways you couldn’t have imagined possible. I know it did for me. Let’s take a look at the simple strategy I call, SAY YES.

Say Yes: An Overlooked Success Strategy

Several years ago, I was spending some time with my buddy, Joe Calloway, a fellow professional speaker. Joe is a tremendous speaker and author (his books include Never By Chance and The Leadership Mindset), not to mention he’s one of the most likable guys I know. One of the many reasons I like him so is that he always makes me think, whether he intends to or not.

During this particular conversation, Joe arrested my attention and captured my imagination. Though I’ve long since forgotten the context in which the line was delivered, I doubt I’ll ever forget the line itself. Joe simply said, “If it scares me professionally, I do it.”

That statement initially grabbed me as a sort of counterintuitive musing — a thought that ended up being the opposite of what I would have expected from him. But the more I thought about it, the more I found myself agreeing with a larger principle contained in the statement.

From that conversation with Joe, a success strategy I had overlooked emerged for me. That strategy is to simply say yes.

Like most of my success choices, this one is rather simple in concept. However, it has far-reaching implications. Here’s how it goes. Whenever someone approaches me with an idea, an opportunity, an invitation, or a suggestion, I immediately try to find a legitimate reason to say yes.

If someone says to me, “Phil, I would like to discuss something with you over lunch,” I would like to pitch an idea your way,” I would like to get your input on making something work,” or I would like to get you involved somehow,” I immediately start trying to figure how I might say yes to this person.

Now, before you start rolling your eyes and thinking I’m a complete idiot or someone with more time on my hands than I know what to do with, take a minute to consider my reasoning. Believe it or not, there is a method in my madness. I do have standards, so let me address them.

Reasons Not to Say Yes

  1. I will take time to listen to and consider only contacts from people I know and with whom I have an established relationship. Or those who find their way to me from a respected, shared connection. In other words, I’m not interested in taking a call from a stranger who got my number from a directory or who is offering me a “once-in-a-lifetime” investment opportunity. I can guarantee that would be a very short conversation.
  2. Even if I know or know of them some way, I’ll spend very little time with individuals who appear to be self-absorbed. You know the type. They’re more interested in talking about themselves and their own personal interests than the opportunity, idea, invitation or cause they say they represent. Such people turn me off. And my conversations with them are bound to end quickly too.
  3. I have little time for people to whom I’ve already said “no.” While my overarching intent is to say “yes” whenever possible and practical, I will say “no” from time to time. And if I’ve processed the request and already decided to pass, I really don’t want to repeat or explain my reasoning again.
  4. I will most certainly offer a quick and definitive “no” to anyone bringing something to my attention that doesn’t align with my personal values, beliefs or standards. Those foundations are in my life for a reason — and they’re not something I hastily change. That includes any requests I view as illegal, immoral, unethical or highly impractical. And includes anything that conflicts with my personal or professional commitments.

When you must say “no,” use these tips to do it positively and keep the door open for future opportunities.

Benefits From Saying Yes

Saying yes can lead to some extraordinarily exciting discoveries, adventures and opportunities. Imagine the benefits to come from…

Saying yes to a project assignment. Who might you meet? What might you learn? What skills might you build?

Saying yes to be mentored by another professional in your industry. When might you need a connection, an introduction or an advocate?

Saying yes to a volunteer leadership role. Who might you help? How might your perspectives change? How might you grow?

Get our blog and get more like this by email  + a bonus welcome gift!

What Scares You?

Let’s face it. Most of what scares us does so because it’s new or unfamiliar to us. As I pointed out in my book, Leaders Ought to Know, “unfamiliar experiences are breeding grounds for new fears.”

But Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once advised, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

So what scares you? Spend some time thinking about that. And once you have, would you be willing to say yes to at least considering the next opportunity that comes your way?

You may be surprised how this one simple, overlooked success strategy propels you.

What other unexpected strategies have you used to grow your success? Please share!


This book is PACKED with success strategies you can put into play TODAY!
Get a copy here —  success is waiting for you!


About The Author:

Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE is committed to helping organizations transform their business outcomes by building engaged employee relationships. He is an award-winning keynote speaker and author on engaged leadership and communication. His most recent book is “Earning The Right To Be Heard," a primer for creating greater influence and opportunities. Connect with Phil on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Recent Posts