A lot of people are afraid to say yes to opportunities because they sound like a lot of work, or they’re afraid they won’t be able to meet expectations, or they’re not sure what they’ll get out of them. I’ll admit to swinging from a position where I was one of those people who turned down opportunities out of fear to being one of those people who said yes too much.
I think there’s a middle ground. While many opportunities that come along seem like individual efforts, there are always ways others around you can help. Thus, the say yes, then ask for help title. Even being asked to give a keynote can turn into a group effort. You need time to prepare, so delegate some tasks to others so that time is freed up. You need feedback on drafts and trial runs. Enlist friends and colleagues to help. There are always ways to make things happen.
As someone who now says yes too much, I’ve learned from doing so what to truly say no to. Inevitably something you say yes to goes wrong, and you learn from that, and you learn to say no to something similar or get more help or time it better.
I kind of regret not learning to say yes earlier. I missed some key opportunities by not doing so. But it’s never too late, and now I know how to get the help I need. And now I encourage others to do the same, and I’m often the one providing the support that allows them to say yes.