I am a yes person. Yes person, giver, same thing. If you need something done, I will say “yes” or “I’ll see what I can do about it”. It’s exhausting. My hands are too open. I will end up doing everything because the takers in life know that I got this. The upside to this is I get to learn new things every day. I enjoy that, it keeps my brain alive. I talk with my work friends on life experiences and I realised that my “yes” has opened up a lot of opportunities for me.
Recently, a work colleague asked me for a favour. First of all, I couldn’t say no as he had got me out of a bind before with sincerity. And it was a small, personal favour that didn’t need too much stress on my part. The downside was that it was last minute so he was really on my back to get it done, which annoyed me a little but I could tell that it meant a lot to him so I stayed positive. The end product was not what he expected and he was blown away, the look on his face and the excitement he had with the work, that’s probably why I said yes. There’s a feeling you get when you put your effort into something then it pays off. It can be worth the hassle of the yes.
Being a yes-person is not feasible in the long run, however. Having done something well at this point gave me some encouragement that I needed at a time when I was having a bad week. But it also meant that I procrastinated doing my core work for this and that could have gotten me into some trouble.
At first, it was looking good but then I was working later hours because of training and things kept piling because I wasn’t saying no.
Let’s sit down for another when-I-was-in-agency story. At the time, it was a tough economic period and I was taking over some accounts that were more high profile than what I already had on my portfolio. The new accounts had a more sophisticated system that I need to get a hold of quickly and at the same time I was taking on more work with the accounts I had already. At first, it was looking good but then I was working later hours because of training and things kept piling because I wasn’t saying no. I confided in one person that I was indeed overwhelmed thinking that they would empathise at least or help with my workload at best. Instead, she still watched YouTube videos at work and asked if I was too overwhelmed for her tasks. She really wasn’t on my side. Eventually, things calmed down but it left a really bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, the calm came just in time for a holiday and I got some time to reflect and switch things up. I came back refreshed and shone really well. In a time when others were being let go of, I was actually offered a position albeit temporary.
You’d think this was a happy ending but the thing is, in that period that things were not working out, there was a better and permanent position that I was aiming for and my competitor for the post was also as really good at her work. The mistake of confiding in someone that I was overwhelmed worked to my disadvantaged as it broke the tie for who was best suited for the work. Disappointing as it was, I did learn how to handle pressure better. Now, when everyone is in a panic, I know to count to ten, take a sip of water and stay on track.
Praise for the success, blame for failure, titles on who did what doesn’t feel as good as the sweat I have put into the task, completion is what wipes my brow at the end of it all.
Being a yes person means your focus is on getting things done, the satisfaction comes when you can say “It is complete!”. The bonus comes when it is done especially well. Praise for the success, blame for failure, titles on who did what doesn’t feel as good as the sweat I have put into the task, completion is what wipes my brow at the end of it all. But being a yes person can lie to takers (see the Adam Grant talk on Givers and Takers) about responsibility and accountability. Why bother unsettling your comfort when you know that if you ask X, they will handle it anyway? If it succeeds, it’s a team effort. If it fails, but X agreed to do it so it’s his fault. Takers will do something halfway and ask givers to finish. Most times, have the giver start and push them into finishing, the taker’s contribution was giving directions that were so obvious.
Takers don’t realise that they are enemies of progress. If the taker doesn’t hold up his end of the stick, the stick falls. The giver is not omniscient to be on both sides. The giver needs to demarcate the NO. The taker is in disbelief that there are boundaries. The giver struggles to set boundaries from the beginning and ends up debating on whether or not a project should fail because the taker needs to learn a lesson. This sounds very vindictive but it’s important for the giver to keep up hope for the other givers who meet halfway. The giver knows that failure is only failure if you don’t learn something from it. The taker needs to be okay with failing. It’s never the end.