Shonda Rhimes was on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday talking about her book ‘Year of Yes’. She realised that whenever she was invited to an event, her default answer was always no. Consequently, she decided to start saying yes to things that she automatically said no to or scared her.

As I listened to the interview, I realised that my default answer to many things is no. It was not because they scared me, but I would automatically think no, which just became a habit. I decided to change that.

Here’s  a sample of what has happened since deciding to say yes:

I accepted an invitation to attend a female-dominated book launch of Nurjahan Khatun’s Book of Hope. I was 1 of 2 men there but, In the process, I learned so much about the life of a Bangladeshi Muslim woman growing up in London.
I am much more into Jazz/Soul than reggae, so I had to think twice when a friend invited me to see the Bob Marley show, Get-Up-Stand-Up.

The performance was superb, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. During the intermission, I thought to myself; this is what saying yes means. (Highly recommended, by the way).

I haven’t been to the opera in over 15 years as quite often I found the story hard to follow. That said, I decided to go and see   La Traviata at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden- a fantastic show and evening.

Although I said yes, my biggest disappointment was missing out on an opportunity to see Gregory Porter. This was because the ticket was no longer available.

All of these experiences gave me tremendous joy, and I was happy to be there.

What does this mean in the world of business and value? Here’s the difference saying ‘Yes’ can make:

  • Say yes to speaking up and telling clients what you think.
  • Saying yes to that contract or opportunity that takes you out of your comfort zone.
  • Say yes to charging more instead of keeping your fees the same
  • Say yes to investing in that course instead of thinking you cannot afford it or don’t have the time.

Try it and see what happens.

The biggest lesson for me was that I recognised how often I choose to say no for whatever reason.  Now, I am excited about saying ‘Yes’ and will see what happens over the next year like Rhonda.

What about you? Are you going to join me and see what happens?