It seems somewhat fashionable these days to trot onto LinkedIn and post either a picture of an iceberg (you know, the one with the hard work underneath and results above water, YAWN), talk about your 3am daily routine, or tell everyone you're awesome because you say "no" to everything.
The first two speak for themselves (it's not a great look by the way), but I don't think the last one is either, and actually, I don't think it's great advice.
The advice goes like this.
When you learn to say no to things, you're valuing your time better and not wasting it, and you end up doing more productive and focused work. I get that. I understand it.
But what concerns me is who picks up that advice and who it ultimately comes from.
It tends to come from people who are further into their careers, on great money, and doesn't reflect on anything that got them to where they are.
The fact is, we all started somewhere, and that usually involved being at the bottom rung of a ladder and doing everything we could to climb up. In doing that, we said "yes" to a lot of things.
I remember starting my financial planning firm - it was hard work. I had zero clients. It was proper graft.
There's a great book by Danny Wallace, later turned into a film starring Jim Carrey, called Yes Man.
The protagonist decides to say yes to everything, and it opens all sorts of doors and gets him into all sorts of situations.
I didn't take that book by the letter, but I decided that in order to win more clients, I needed to say yes more.
Didn't sleep well but there's a networking event? I went.
Injured and couldn't play cricket? I went to watch.
Couldn't be bothered to go catch up with mates in the pub? I went.
I went, and I said yes. These interactions all resulted, in one way or another, as great wins.
The networking event led to a Hollywood actor becoming a client.
Watching that game of cricket I met a retired couple strolling the boundary, who also became clients.
That night in the pub? Well, it was just a night in the pub, but once you're there, it's great to be out with friends right?
My advice to people making their way (as I still am), is say yes more.
Yes is fun. Yes is positive.
It's true you'll get the odd timewaster, but isn't it great to just interact (especially during these times)?
Yes makes people's days. Yes opens doors. Yes is action.
For me, it's yes all the way.