Introducing The Yes Policy

If you missed it, check out my guest post on Nerd Fitness that went up yesterday: How To Upgrade Your Life: Lessons Learned From Chuck. Nerd Fitness is one of my absolute favorite blogs and I was pumped he decided to run it. Thanks Steve :).

I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately from different readers on a lot of different things. Some want to interview me, have me write a guest post or help out with a project. I’m tired of people being timid about asking things from me [I think I’m a pretty nice guy] and there’s not a lot to be scared of [except for the times I’m holding a javelin]. Here’s a very poorly kept secret. If you have any sort of reasonable request [and you’re nice about it], there’s a very slim chance that I will actually say “no” to it. I mentioned this in a talk I had with Tim, but I felt like I needed to formally announce it here on BIT:

Starting now, until further notice, I have a “yes policy”

How This Works

If you have something you’re working on, I’d love to hear about it and if you’d like me to help out with it, 95% of the time, the answer is yes. Just a few ideas of stuff I’d love to help you out with:

  • If you need another set of eyes on a project you’re working on, I’ll be happy to look at it.
  • If you’d like me to write a guest post, I would love to [see other guest posts I’ve written here].
  • If you’d like to interview me, I’d love to talk to you.
  • If you’d like me to contribute to a project you’re working on, I’d be glad to help out.

There are some things I don’t do that I reserve the right to say no to, but I tried to keep it a short list.

Yes, my time is limited [there are a lot of you impossible do-ers out there], but as much as possible, I’ll try to make myself accessible. I can’t promise that I’ll always be able to do everything you want, exactly how you want it, but I’ll do my best to help you out as best I can.

Why Have a Yes Policy?

A lot of people worry that having a yes policy will suck their time away into oblivion. Maybe it will, I don’t know. So why chance having one?

The #1 reason I’m pursuing this “yes policy” is because I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the life that I have. I’m grateful that every single one of you take the time to read this Blog of Impossible Things. I’m grateful that other people have taken their time, said “yes” to me, and poured themselves back into me. I guess there are some out there  that look for others to say yes to them, and then refuse to do the same for others. Maybe that works for them, but I don’t think I can live a life where I take, take, take, without giving back.

Some people worry that saying “yes” will dilute their “brand”, devalue their time and suck their energy. Trust me, I get that. I really do. But I also find it hard to go wrong with a policy of generosity. And I think it’s stupid to let the fear of something, keep you from doing something you want to. To not implement something like this because I’m scared that it might kill my time would be dumb. I don’t know if it will until I try it. If I try it and it does, then I can look back at this, shake my head at dumb little Joel, learn a lesson and move on. However, I don’t think that’s going to happen…for a couple reasons:

  • I LIKE hearing from you guys. Some people get bogged down by their readers, but you guys are one of my main sources of inspiration. Seriously, if you’re reading this, you’re awesome.
  • Having a policy of generosity works really well with replying to comments & emails you guys send my way though lots of people say it’s a waste of time [fyi – people are never a waste of time].
  • The more work I have, the more efficient I am. It happens almost automatically just from having more to do & having the same amount of time to do it in.
  • Giving creates a vacuum for more good things to come. That saying about the more you give, the more you get? Call it goodwill, karma or woo-woo wishywash, but I see this all the time and it’s true.

So if you’re wondering about something. Feel free to ask. 95% of the time, the answer is yes =).

Now some questions for YOU, before you leave:

Q#1 // What do you think about having a “yes” policy? Is it a good idea or am I screwed? :)
Q#2 // Also, is there anything you’re working on that I can help with?

PSA: The Indiana stop of Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Book Tour is happening tonight in Bloomington at Howard’s Bookstore. If you’re in the area, you should definitely plan on coming out. Chris from AONC & Baker from ManVsDebt will be there so good times are guaranteed. I’m looking forward to it and would love to see you out there. Blog meetups are always a lot of fun.

[Photo by Eyefruit]

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  1. says

    Dude, thanks for calling me awesome. I dig that. Also, I’m wondering if this is happening for others, participating in social media is taking over what used to be my entertainment time, so I’m much less worried about saying yes, besides, its fun. Also, if you have more on your plate you’ll probably get more done. Whats that line “if you want a task done give it to a busy guy.”

    • says

      Dan, you ARE awesome.

      I think you’re right. I do spend a lot of my “entertainment” time on blogging things. To some people that sounds weird, but I’d rather be building something here, than zoning out in front of the TV. If I can help others build something and simultaneously build relationships, I think it’s time well spent.

      • says

        Totally agree with you on that [reply to Dan] . . . it’s definitely time well spent. I’ve been building some fantastic new relationships through this whole ‘blogging thing.’ Particularly, with people who are genuinely motivated to better themselves (and the world around them). It’s truly inspiring and motivating to ME to spend my time networking with other driven people, rather than remaining surrounded by friends that just don’t ‘get it.’ It keeps me pumped to forge ahead and accomplish my bucket list! Thanks for the great post, Joel! Yes!

  2. says

    Joel – I think it’s a great idea. It is a little terrifying to approach someone sometimes. I think that you’ll increase the number of people who approach you with this post – but that’s a good thing! It means more people to connect with and more opportunities to collaborate. Kudos!

    • says

      Thanks Trever. I know how it can be hard to ask people for help, so hopefully this will make that process a little easier.

      p.s. congrats on the blog launch! [even if it’s not “official yet] =)

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Chris! You’ve been one of the big inspirations behind what I’m doing & your generosity is contagious. Looking forward to seeing you tonight too!

  3. says

    I love this, dude! I think having this policy is one of the reasons that I have seen the success I have (though nothing compared to Guillebeau LOL).

    The connections you make are fantastic. Not only that, but each of us brings something unique to the table. When we use that to make others successful we create loyal fans.

    Plus, Chris said it well: Why say no when you can say yes?

    • says

      Connections + loyalty + actual fun sounds like a recipe for success to me.
      Also, I love this;

      Why say no when you can say yes?

      I think that’s jumped up to the top of my favorite quotes list. That Guillebeau is a smart guy :)

  4. says

    I say yes to the yes policy. I’ve never been one to turn down someone who needed a helping hand. In fact I’ll go out of my way to offer that hand before someone even asks. See a need and try and fill it is a good policy to have. I’m all for more woo-woo wishywash too. Great policy Joel. Looking forward to seeing you in June but hopefully sooner.

  5. says

    Hey Joel, love this man. And no way your not screwed. I think people like know you can be an asset to them. The real question is how many people actually call you for something. I know I did and you said YES! That rocked. Made my day.

    Thanks for being real and not a fake loser. HAHA – Keep going I may be looking for another YES from you soon. (grab the bait, go ahead)

    Great post man.

  6. says

    That was a great post. I think your doing e right thing in the right way. I have not got anything you can help me with at the moment but I know where to come in future and I know who to recommend for being real and understanding its all about what you give.

    Thx for the post.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. says

    I am all about the Yes Policy. Probably because I’m a fellow blogger who wants to know she’s making some sort of impact on her readers and doesn’t want them to think she won’t help them (if she can) and I believe in generosity. I just read your post about meeting Chris Guillebeau and the idea of doing something. That’s what the Yes Policy’s about: doing something, not just writing about it. I’m heading into my senior year of college and frustrated because I want to be out in the world doing something, and here are people like yourself and Chris, tackling the impossible and meaningful every day. It gives me hope but also leaves me antsy.

    • says

      Use that anxiousness and go do something :). Look at all the things holding you back and ask yourself if they really are….Chances are, they’re not as limiting as you think they are :).


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