The Power of Yes & No

It seems like there are quite a few winds blowing these days — moving life and it’s many parts around in different directions. And we do our best to navigate, and show up for the people and things that matter.

But with so much going on, it’s easy to get caught up in the tiny complexities. And then we get stressed and overwhelmed by all of the things.

So today let’s get reacquainted with something impactful, yet fundamental. The Power of Yes and No.

Naturally we have all said both of these words more times than we can count. But rather than get interested in the number, let’s take a look at the when and the how we say them.

Each of us has a natural tendency to choose one over the other. Pause for a moment and consider the question, “Do I tend to lead with yes or no?” You probably know, but if you really can’t figure it out, ask someone that you’re close with — the one you know who will tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it.

We need both of these answers, these declarative statements. Yes, and no. And having facility with both is essential to effective communication, relationship building, and getting what we actually want.

Personally I’m more of a “yes” than a “no.” And I promise that I also know the other one too, and well. But my default, my automatic, for a long time was yes. Even if it lead to my discomfort. Because it also avoided the discomfort I perceived would be created in others. In the end it’s really a trade. And there’s also a trade for most people who more often choose no over yes.

A quick clarifying point for anyone pushing back, thinking, “I say both all the time. It just depends on what’s happening.” I’m not talking about clear cut circumstances that would have one make more sense. We’re talking flat road here, no inclines. What do you choose when it could technically go either way?

Out of curiosity — regardless of whether it’s yes or no — show of hands from those who do clearly see that one comes more easily.

Ok, great. Thanks for playing.

Remember, we’re talking about our automatic process. So this is how it goes when we’re scared or mad or confused. Our intention — conscious or otherwise — becomes that of protection. To avoid. To get smaller. We prioritize comfort and safety.

Let’s generalize for a moment, and say that the “yes” people like me are people pleasers. We source ourselves from the value we provide for others. But we can become exhausted from trying to be all things to all people and we often neglect our own needs. We can also be selfish, when we’re “forced to be,” because we’ve trained the world to not need to look out for us. And let’s say that the “no” people are more guarded and self reliant, but can also be isolated and have learned to meet their own needs. So relationships can sometimes be challenging and even transactional.

In other words, there’s a cost and a benefit to either side. It may not surprise you to hear that the opportunity for growth comes from practicing the weaker muscle — the opposite of where we tend to go.

If you are quick to say no, try saying yes more. If you’re always saying yes, how about sitting out for a few?

Ultimately, yes and no come down to where we allocate our resources. Do we send ours out? Or do we hold onto as much as we can?

It can be fun to practice the other side. It can also help grow the kind of power that will pay dividends both inside and beyond the walls of your business.

Becoming conscious of where we choose from is likely to impact how we show up everywhere.

Allow yourself to take a look at which path has more wear. And then maybe take a stroll on the other side and see how the other half lives.

And, as always, have a powerful day!

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