Richard Branson once famously said, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity to do something and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.”
There is wisdom in his advice. Plus, it comes from Branson – a disruptive, successful, and visionary billionaire. But for mere mortals like most of us, his words may sound a tad insane. How can one possibly say yes to everything?
The premise here isn’t about being the proverbial “yes person” or negating your needs. In this context, saying yes means having the conviction and courage to pursue goals we know we really want to.
Too often, we fear failure and rejection. We automatically expect the worst. Saying no becomes an impulse, and we end up rejecting several possibilities. Many brilliant chances come disguised as innocuous things – not as grand events announcing their arrival. It could be a chance to step up at work or an unfamiliar challenge. Opportunities can come knocking in unexpected ways.
How can you tell the difference? If it’s something that sparks an excitement hitherto lying dormant, you need to pay attention. That spark is your intuition, telling you to say yes or, at the very least, to ask more questions.
Saying yes to new opportunities can be tough – especially when they push you far outside your comfort zone. However, agreeing to or strongly considering each opportunity is imperative to going places.
Former CEO of Walgreens, Greg Wasson, concurs with the concept of saying yes. He once told the press that he became a top executive at Walgreens by taking on every role that the company presented.
When Wasson had to run Walgreen’s health services in Las Vegas, he didn’t know what to expect. He mulled over the decision quite a bit but eventually took it as an opportunity to learn. It turned out to be the one decision that accelerated his career.
Whenever a new opportunity comes by, ask yourself three questions. What is its possible impact on your quality of life? What can it do for me? Is the timing conducive? Not perfect, but conducive. There’s no such thing as perfect timing.
Anytime people can broaden horizons at work or outside, it is always beneficial. The idea is to consider every opportunity before instinctively saying no. You never know what may change your life.
Award-winning producer and writer Shonda Rhimes’ story is a testament to this. She spent a year saying yes to everything – from trivial things to others that frightened her as a self-described introvert. It’s a decision she credits with transforming her life.
Brilliant opportunities can pass you by if you wait to feel ready to pursue them. By saying yes, you operate from a mindset of curiosity and growth, not negativity. In addition, saying yes can organically open up spaces for dialogue. It creates possibilities to collaborate, partner, and build great things with others. Most importantly, saying yes brings you infinite sources of joy. A life more fun and rewarding in the long run.