Don’t be the “Yes Man”

The 2008 movie “Yes Man” featuring Jim Carey follows Carl Allen, who feels his life is at a standstill. His career and love life are very dull. Looking for something more, he enrolls in a personal development program based on a very simple idea: say yes to everything! Instantly, his life is shifted into excitement. He receives a job promotion and meets a new love interest. He is on top of the world until he realizes that some opportunities are better left not taken. Meaning, new ideas may look appealing, but often they mean the end of a previous idea.

As entrepreneurs, we can learn a lot from Carl’s story. When we dream up ideas or are given opportunities, it is sometimes important to say no, especially because a new idea can seem so appealing as compared to working on a current idea. Jumping from idea to idea, before completing the one before it, will mean the difference between an entrepreneur and a dreamer. Forbes writer Eric Wagner refers to this way of thinking as “idea chaos” and lists it as the fourth biggest road block for entrepreneurs.

I personally struggled with this for years. I would have an idea, run with it for a couple of weeks, buy all of the supplies I needed, write business plans and then… I would have an even better idea, one that was too precious to pass up. The cycle would repeat. Eventually, I started to see a pattern. I was sick of seeing my ideas remain as ideas. So, I read through my pile of business plans, picked the best one, and promised myself I was going to follow through even if it meant failure.

My advice for anyone running into these problems is to treat them like dating. You don’t want to marry your ideas right in the beginning, but you want to make sure you pursue them, and at least date them, before deciding whether or not they will be a success. Even though that new idea may seem fresher, easier and more exciting than the current one, make sure you weigh the positives and negatives of leaving the long-term relationship for what might only be a bad first date.

Dave Boni
Marketing and Communications Assistant
Macomb-OU INCubator

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