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I want to start this post by thanking Chris who I mentioned in my previous entry ‘Want to be successful? Change your beliefs‘. By turning down my offer of a free chat, he made me realize that I’d been saying ‘no’ to a lot of opportunities coming my way myself. Had I rued those missed opportunities? Of course not. I didn’t even realize I’d missed them!

As humans beings, we have four basic emotional needs (or states), and at times throughout our lives, we will express these desires differently depending on our life circumstances. One of the states we crave is security. We want to know exactly what is around the corner. We plan in advance and weigh up the risks of anything that comes our way, and most of our decisions are based around caution — ‘the worst possible outcome‘.

When we don’t want to go through the effort of engaging our brain, our default answer is ‘no’. This keeps us in our routine; it maintains structure. ‘No’ is safe. It keeps us in familiar territory — it’s what we know. Whereas ‘yes’ brings with it uncertainties — new, scary possibilities which may challenge our map of the world.

So why say ‘yes’?

‘Probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life, happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise things just sort of stay the same.’
-Danny Wallace

Danny spent a year of his life saying ‘yes’ to every single request that came his way, without thought, leading to many eye-opening situations. The experience gave him the most exciting and eventful year of his life and allowed him to learn more about himself than ever before. His book about his experiences, Yes Man, was later adapted into a Hollywood movie starring Jim Carrey.

Essentially every time you grow, either personally or professionally, that growth was preceded at some point by you saying ‘yes’. It could have been something as small as buying a book or as big as a multi-million dollar partnership, but that three letter word started the process. ‘Yes’ gives you inertia by ‘getting the ball rolling’. It gave the guys at Lake Life Boating a great new website, and they’re already seeing the results. Take a look for yourself(opens in a new tab).

Heres six risk-free things that you can start saying ‘yes’ to today:

1. Free Advice

If someone is offering to give you their insight for free, then make the most of it. There’s a chance you won’t learn anything and waste a few minutes of your time, yet there’s an even stronger chance you can take that advice and make a positive change. Once you’ve heard their input, THEN you can engage your brain to weigh up the benefits. You may even build a strong relationship from the interaction, even if you disregard the advice. Replace ‘what do they want?’ with ‘what can they give me?’

2. Networking Events

Again, it’s really easy to dismiss these and say, ‘Well I didn’t get anything out of the last one; I’m not going this time.’ Is this the time that you get introduced to the contact that will completely change your business? Or will you hear a crucial piece of advice? If you stay at home watching Netflix, you’ll never know.

3. Email Subscriptions

I’m now signed up to around 15 different email lists. Every day I wake up to 10 emails, and half of the content isn’t relevant to me. Next time I’m visiting a blog and they offer to keep me updated, what am I going to say? YES — the more information I receive, the more likely I’ll find something insightful and grow my skill set. It takes me five seconds to delete whatever doesn’t apply to me on the day, so I can focus on the valuable information. Sometimes you’ll learn from the ‘irrelevant mails’. A lot of success in business comes down to how you market and sell yourself, and guess what — thats what these mails are trying to do.

4. Helping a new business out.

We’ve all done it. Someone asks you to put a few leaflets on the counter, and you say, ‘Sorry, there’s no room’, or asks you promote their business, but you never do. Yes, it’s nice to be nice, but you never know how taking those leaflets or recommending that restaurant are going to pay off further down the line. That new restaurant could end up being the biggest in town one day, and YOU could end up, hat in hand, asking for THEIR help with marketing.

5. Being Flexible.

Ever get a request to change your usual tour itinerary? Or visit a new attraction? You’re the expert when it comes to the local area, but maybe there’s something you’ve overlooked. Being able to accommodate these kind of requests will boost your business in the eyes of the customer and could lead to up to 10 referrals — not to mention the awesome TripAdvisor review they’ll leave you! You might even decide to switch up your usual itinerary or add a new tour based on your discovery.

6. Blogging/Webinars/Presentations.

Tourism is all about people, and good communication sells tours. Maybe you don’t feel confident enough to put on a presentation to fellow entrepreneurs or feel you don’t have anything of interest to blog about. It doesn’t matter! Practicing your communication skills on as many different platforms as possible can only have a positive effect. The more you talk/write, the better you’ll get at it, and the more you can apply your improved skills to your core business.

The main point about these opportunities is that they are all risk-free and won’t cost you anything other than a bit of time — but the rewards could be huge. I’m not advocating following Danny Wallace’s example of saying ‘yes’ to absolutely every request in your life; just be more aware of the opportunities you are missing and use ‘yes’ more. One big thing that every business owner should say ‘yes’ to is a website built for their industry – like a Tourism Tiger website for tour operators(opens in a new tab).

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