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How Saying Yes Led Me To New Opportunities

When I first found myself saying yes often, I wondered if it is because I was generally an optimistic person.
 
Want to go out?
Yes.
 
Want to start this project?
Yes.
 
Can you help me to get this item?
Yes.
 
My yesses kept me busy. And it was not until my inability to say no crippled me that I found myself in a pool of opportunity, thanks to the yesses of my past.
 
Confusing, but let me explain.
 
I am not encouraging you to be a “yes-man” that says yes to absolutely everything. However, I am encouraging you to say yes to opportunities, stuff you’ve never done before and things that scare you. In short, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

1. Saying YES gave me experience

I never thought writing would be my full-time thing. When I was in school, my group of friends I hung out with were prolific writers. I would be astounded by the vocabulary they used, and the world of adjectives they showcased to depict a scene. All I wanted to do was to get good results for my examinations and probably be a nutritionist or if I am hardworking, a heart surgeon.

 

2. Saying YES helped me build my self-confidence

Show-and-tell is probably one of the easiest but most fun games to play when you are handling a big group of people. Desk show-and-tell will give you the chance to catch a glimpse of your team members’ daily views. Aside from that, it will also give everyone a fair chance to speak, hence no one will feel left out.
There was a company that requested me to do copywriting for their website. At that time, I’ve never done it before, but I said yes. Another company asked if I could do up their company profile. I didn’t know companies needed profiles! But I said yes (and spent the next six days on Google to learn how to do it right). Later on, another company asked if I could do social media management. Um, I have Instagram and Facebook, so does that experience count? I said yes anyway!
 
When I initially said yes, I honestly was afraid that I could not deliver. I would spend the next few days doubting myself (and crying at how stupid I was to commit to something I know nuts about). But every time I did deliver the work, it gave me self confidence to say yes, let me try to do it.
 
Now I can tell potential clients that hey, I have never done this before but, let’s try it out and see how it works. They can choose to not hire me, but because I had confidence in myself, they had confidence in me!

3. Saying YES taught me how to fake it

In my own time, I enjoyed singing. But other than singing in church and sometimes in the choir, I’ve never done on stage singing to a public crowd. One day, my then-boyfriend who is a musician got a call, asking if he knew of someone who could stand-in for this other female singer who double-booked a gig.
 

I looked at him, bewildered. It was 2 hours before the said gig.

I can carry a tune, but I’ve never performed songs that are not church songs before. I felt in my bones that I was going to make a fool of myself but guess what, I said… “Okay lah.”

It was a very uncomfortable experience. I was jittery, didn’t have an archive of lyrics at hand to sing from, and didn’t even know my vocal range. But I faked it. I smiled like I knew what I was doing, closed my eyes and belted some notes as if I was Adele (the sound probably not like Adele lah).

I made it out alive. From then on, I was welcomed into this circle of musicians that started to include me in their gigs if there was availability. I started singing once a month, then twice a month and at one time, even 10 times a month.

4. Saying YES stretched my abilities

The most recent ‘yes’ I said was to myself. No one but me nudged me to do it.

It was writing a fiction story.

There was a request for story submissions that I saw on Facebook last year. I didn’t think much about it, but as I lay to sleep that night, something nagged at me to just try – JUST TRY writing a short story. It may be published or it may not, but no one is going to know if you don’t tell anyone you tried and failed, right?

 

Rachel’s published short story in Home Groan: A NutMag AnthologyAnd so I started writing.

You see, writing fiction and writing articles is really different. It comes with a different set of rules, writing style and vocabulary. But I did it anyway. Today, I’ve completed two short stories that will be printed, and one has been formally published in an anthology. If I didn’t try, I wouldn’t even know I could carry a plot through to its end.

In hindsight, I asked myself if I would continue to write fiction if my story was not chosen to be printed? My answer is yes because every failure is a learning opportunity.

5. When to say NO

Eh, what is this? I had the perception that I should only say yes?

No.

 

 

Darlings, in this cruel world, and I encourage you to say no if you feel exploited or if the project offered to you does not abide by your personal values or your current capacity. Say yes to expanding your ability, not changing who you are growing to become.

These are just some of the personal experiences I am sharing with you because it really helped me with my career. Will it help with yours, I am positive that it will. You just have to take that leap of faith, and most of the time, you just have to have faith in you!

Good luck, Crunchies!

A concoction of oxymoronic attributes, Rachel Yeoh is a lazy overachiever. She writes for a living, sings when the sun goes down and runs a homemade granola company with whatever is left of her time. Always planning for something to do while procrastinating on her bed - she is quick to be on her feet at any chance to travel.

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