There are many people who are afraid to try new things, afraid of doing anything that might lead to failure. This fear keeps them confined to a pretty narrow comfort zone. In my business I teach one small trick that helps my clients overcome this fear and get more joy out of life. The trick? Start saying “Yes” to those suggestions, ideas, and opportunities that are a little scary, a little beyond their current skills.
There are amazing opportunities to be found in saying yes to things you are afraid of, or don’t know how to do.
To illustrate: I used to have a sign business. What’s relevant to this article is how I ended up with a sign business.
I have a dear friend who believes I can do anything. I’d argue with her but so far she’s been right (hey, not bragging, it’s just worked out that way.)
She ended up owning an awning shop in Santa Cruz. (She’s no slouch in the doing anything she sets her mind to department, either.) One day she took on a commercial job that needed lettering. Not unusual, except this job was too big for her regular sign painter. So she called me because I had a really big warehouse space. (Why I had a really big warehouse space is a story for a different day.)
“Hey, Ker’. Can you paint some lettering on an awning?”
“Sure!” was my answer. I had no idea how to do it, what materials were needed, or how long it would take but I said yes. Crazy, right?
I took to the internet to learn about awning signage and find what I needed. I learned that the best paint is house paint (surprise.) Figured out how to make a stencil to get the letters all the same size and on straight (not so easy, but still doable.) And how to set up the workspace, because this baby was about 40-ft long and needed lots of room (the only thing I knew I had going in.)
Several days, a fair amount of trial and error, and a lot of canvas wrestling resulted in a 40-ft awning successfully painted with 20” tall letters almost the full width. And I got paid, and paid well for it!
So she sent me more work and now I was in the awning painting business. A few more jobs and I had all the equipment I needed and pretty decent skills. Then one of the awning customers asked if they (the awning company) did real signs. Not that awnings aren’t real signs, but what he meant was a storefront sign.
My friend actually called me first on this one, “Ker, can you make a real sign?” and I said “Sure!” (How hard could it be?) She said yes to the client and next thing I knew I was making storefront signs.
I ended up doing work with the City of Alameda in their Façade Improvement program and had a Palo Alto shopping center as a client. I got to design and fabricate lots of different types and styles of signs, play with power tools and spray guns, climb ladders, and scaffolds. For one job I even got to rent and work from an electric lift.
It was a wonderful 5 year run of fun, creativity, challenges, puzzles, new tools and techniques, and the thrill of new business owners’ delight when seeing their new business signs for the first time.
All because I said “Yes!” first and then figured out how to do it.
Want help learning to say “Yes!”? Join me at my next 1-day live workshop for this and many other easy, quick and effective tips for living a juicier, more fulfilling life.