I have The Yes Virus.
What is The Yes Virus? The Yes Virus – and I think a ton of you have this, at least the good peeps – is when you want to say yes to everything, when you feel like you can do everything, and most of all you don’t want to let people down, or you just want to check off a lot of boxes or accomplish a lot of things. Maybe you just wanna call it “big eyes”; you feel like you can consume all the chocolate cake.
I, very much for most of my career, have had The Yes Virus, and I want to make this to relieve people from their Yes Virus. Because the problem with The Yes Virus, and why I call it a virus, is when you’re trying to say yes to everything, you end up doing nothing.
Recently, in the last 6-9 months, I’ve been trying to say “no” more often, and it becomes so unnatural for me. Saying no breaks my heart. I have a lot of energy (clearly) and I feel like I can do a lot of things, so it feels selfish to say no. But what I’m realizing as I’m getting older and the gray hairs are coming in, is that I’ve been able to accomplish a lot more this last year by giving myself a bit of a vaccine for the Yes Virus by saying no more often. First of all, the big eye-opener for me is how many people actually respect you saying no.
Instead of just deleting that email or avoiding it, coming up front and saying “listen, I’ve got VaynerMedia to build.” We’re at 120 employees up from 25 in the last year, and I would never have been able to get to this point if I’d kept saying yes to everything — every interview request; every single person building their business — while neglecting mine.
As a giver, and someone who gets much more satisfaction out of helping others over helping myself, It’s very hard to say no. It’s actually not as fun to say no. I don’t like the selfish rewards that come along with saying no, but if you’re trying to accomplish something, if you’re trying to execute — and I’ve gotta tell you, in a world where everybody’s starting a business, and everybody’s an entrepreneur, and everybody can raise money, I’ve never been more attracted to execution — a little Bret Hart “The Excellence of Execution” is what I’m looking for. And to be a Bret Hart, to execute, I’ve had to say a whole lot of no’s lately, and I’m very thankful for the way people respect the no. So if you have The Yes Virus, I’m really not sure what my turning point was in late summer last year, but if you’re able to somehow break through…
Maybe we can make tomorrow No Day. If you can just respectfully say no to two or three things tomorrow, and see how that feels, I think you’ll be stunned at how much more you can accomplish over the next year.