My friend and former business partner Pat Wiesner and his wife Janet are a couple I look up to. They are always up for trying new things, always learning, always helping, and always interested in other people. The Wiesners have a “game” attitude that I admire.
During a business trip to a Palm Springs conference years ago, Pat agreed to stay at the home of a local man who was a magazine publisher. “Are you pretty good friends, then?” I asked Pat.
“Not yet. We’ve only met once.”
“But you’re staying at his house for the whole weekend? Won’t that be weird, walking around in your pajamas with someone you hardly know?”
“He invited us,” Pat said. “Unless I have a really good reason not to, if someone invites me to do something I usually try to say Yes.”
Wow, I thought. That’s brave.
That weekend, Pat and Janet stayed in a lovely Palm Springs home and enjoyed camaraderie, laughter, and friendship with their hosts. They ate breakfast on the patio and drank juice from just-picked, homegrown oranges that the publisher’s wife hand-squeezed, while the rest of us ate powdered eggs on styrofoam plates and experienced the boring familiarity of a chain hotel.
Pat’s adage came to my mind recently after I gave a speech at my Toastmasters club. A visitor came up, introduced herself as Shirley Chan, and invited me to attend her club’s meeting, which happened to be that night. I’ll be honest with you. My first instinct was to stay home on my comfortable couch, rather than go to an unknown club and meet a bunch of strangers. But it was so nice of her to invite me, and I decided to say Yes.
And then, a curveball: one of their speakers didn’t show up, and they invited me to speak on the spot. I bet you can guess my first instinct. But I decided to say Yes.
So I stood up and spoke, and received encouragement and valuable feedback from every member. They even gave me an award! Well okay, I got to hold the trophy for twenty seconds, and then I had to give it back. But it was a very happy evening, and I’m so glad I went.
We can’t do everything, of course, and sometimes we need to be better at saying No.
But sometimes, I think I just need to say Yes.
How about you?