I saw the new Jim Carrey movie, The Yes Man, this weekend (see a clip here). I don't want you to mistake me for a movie critic so I won't comment on the value of the movie itself. But I do want you to know that I left the theater inspired by the message of the film: We can all experience life more fully if we would just say yes!
Say yes to new opportunities. Say yes to help a friend...or a stranger. Say yes to visit that place that you have always wanted to see. Say yes to try a strange food or drink (like RED BULL -- a movie reference if you haven't seen it -- Ha!). Say yes to meet someone new...or get to know someone more fully whom you may have been saying "hello" to for years. Say yes to learn a new language or experience a new culture. Say yes to learning how to play an instrument.
The point of the movie is that saying yes, making it a point to do so at every crossroad, will open up unimaginable opportunities. I know it did for me when I said yes to my brothers earlier this year to go to Vietnam and as we plan our next adventure. I felt the same impact when I said yes to serve on several non-profit boards this year. Saying yes has opened up my eyes and helped me grow in immeasurable ways.
What is the leadership application? Perhaps this is the year that we can say yes to taking risk, to going after those Big Hairy Audacious Goals, to establishing new partnerships, to joining new / different / diverse groups, to learning a new skill, to serving on a board of directors or as a volunteer in a community group. This is the year we will have fun at work, lose the cynicism and become positive leaders, put people first, transform our organizations, make a difference, change the world! I am confident that the challenges that we will face in 2009 -- personally, professionally, economically -- will demand that we embrace an entirely different attitude...one that says YES!
As we approach the new year, I am sure that many of you, like me, will be setting goals and establishing resolutions. Let's resolve together to put at the top of the list: THIS YEAR, I WILL NOT HESITATE TO SAY YES!
This is not just Jim Carrey funny business. This is Leader Business!