Advice from the pros
Beth Storz, president and consultant at Ideas To Go shares the most valuable career advice she’s ever been given, and it caught our attention for being so opposite of what has become traditional advice. Storz says that the best career advice she’s ever received was to “say yes as much as you can.”
Take the affirmative
Storz encourages readers to say yes “any time someone asks you to speak publicly,” “when someone offers you a challenging opportunity,” and “when someone offers you a chance to take a risk.”
While all of these opportunities come with a certain amount of uncertainty, they usually pay off tremendously because you’ll learn and practice new skills that you might have otherwise neglected.
An omelet of opportunity
As they say, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
Being too cautious will definitely hold you back.
Even if you are scared or unsure, saying yes to things can stretch your experiences and skills in unexpected ways.
Using yes as a team builder
I’ve found that saying yes is particularly important during early brainstorming, and when working in groups.
I’ve found that it’s advisable to say “yes” to all but the most unrealistic ideas early on in a process.
Saying “yes” will make everyone on your team feel included, and bad ideas will naturally be filtered out when they prove unworkable without you needing to poo-poo them.
*Almost* always yes
On the other hand, I reject the notion that you should always say yes. As women, we’ve often been socialized to put others’ needs before our own, and your coworkers and bosses can take advantage if you don’t seem to have many boundaries.
You might get piled with extra work without the necessary support and compensation.
Or you might end up neglecting your personal and social life in favor of your career. Saying yes to a work opportunity might mean saying no to your family or friends.
Don’t lie to yourself
While you should sometimes push yourself outside your comfort zone, I don’t think it’s advisable to say yes to things that you know will be boring or overly stressful.
You’ll end up resenting your boss or coworker for asking, but ultimately, you’ll only have yourself to blame for agreeing in the first place.
Say yes fearlessly, not carelessly
As a rule of thumb, unless something is very time sensitive, I always give myself 24 hours to decide whether to say yes or no to an opportunity.
This allows me a chance to weigh the opportunity against other obligations and commitments. It also lets the person making the request know that I’m not a pushover and that I value my time.