What happens when you say ‘Yes’

When do you say no? Do you utter the word no? Is it appropriate to decline?

What happens when you say 'Yes'

These are all intriguing questions. Truth be told, I have consistently adhered to a general policy of embracing nearly every opportunity that comes my way, regardless of its magnitude.

At Know-it, I am occasionally referred to as ‘the Yes man.’ You may recall the release of the film “Yes Man” in 2008, based on the book of the same name by Danny Wallace. In the movie, Jim Carrey portrayed a character who, following a bitter divorce, falls under the influence of a self-help guru urging him to say yes to every opportunity for a year. While the film provided a couple of hours of silliness, the idea is fascinating, and I’ve discovered that having a policy of saying yes can unlock doors to new opportunities and experiences that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise.

Over the past few years, I have spoken at events, participated in mastermind groups, judged award shows, appeared on podcasts, joined exclusive ski trips, and presented awards, primarily because I (mostly) said yes. I soon realised that one opportunity often leads to another; doors open, and new possibilities quickly emerge.

A prime example of this is why I find myself here today: just under four years ago, I received a call from esteemed speaker, author, and SMB business champion, Carl Reader.  He was scheduled to speak at the Elite Business Live event a few days later. The timing was crucial – in just days (unknown to everyone at that moment), COVID would shut down the UK. As expected, a few speakers had dropped out, and Elite were on the lookout for a keynote speaker for the financial management segment of the event. While I had some speaking experience, it had usually been in a ‘safer’ environment, such as a room full of accountants, with the product being the focal point. Similarly, I had participated in numerous webinars and podcasts, but addressing business owners in a keynote felt like a stretch. Imposter syndrome quickly set in.

However, Carl, being Carl, convinced me that I would perform well, and with the assistance of a compelling slide deck, my confidence grew. Thankfully the session went smoothly, feedback was positive, and I felt at ease on stage – even after Scott English pointed out that, due to Covid, the room was less populated than planned, but there were still thousands watching online.

 could never have anticipated what followed. Thanks to the social media buzz around the event, I found myself invited to podcasts, interviews, and an offer to judge tech awards for another show.

Even today, I am still uncovering opportunities that trace back to that one ‘Yes.’

In truth it would have been easy to decline. I could have avoided travel during the growing pandemic, I could have stayed within my comfort zone, I could have taken the easy way out.

But where’s the fun in that? The lesson here is to be bold. Be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Say yes because, truth be told, if you don’t, someone else will, and you never know what that one YES may lead to.

Phil Hobden
Phil Hobden

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