So often, we find ourselves saying no in order to manage our monthly budget. I know I’m horribly guilty of this. Maybe it’s a friend who invites you to a dinner out at a fancy restaurant, only to hear you decline because you don’t want to bust your bottom line. Or maybe it’s skipping a birthday party for one of your children’s friends because you don’t want to spend the money for a gift.
But sometimes, saying yes can help your financial situation, too.
A few weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine mentioned casually that she was going to relaunch her photography business. I enthusiastically told her what a great idea I thought that was; I’d seen the work she’d done before taking a career break to have kids, and I knew she had plenty of talent. Then she said that she really needed to bolster her portfolio; I heard her hesitate before asking, “Do you think you and your family would be willing to sit for a photo session with me? I wouldn’t charge you or anything.”
Of course, I said yes, and was rewarded for my time – she was a little rusty, and a shoot that normally would have taken 45 minutes lasted twice as long – with a CD of beautiful images to use and print however I wanted.
Not long afterwards, I was checking into a hotel for a quick weekend getaway with my family when the clerk at the reception desk asked if I’d be willing to fill out a short survey about my visit. In return, she said, we’d be upgraded from a standard room to a one-bedroom suite at no cost.
Again, I said yes. The 10-minutes it took me to fill out the online survey after our trip was over was well worth the extra room for my family of four at the hotel.
And then just this weekend, I accepted – on my daughter’s behalf – an invitation to one of her friend’s birthday parties at a local tumbling gym. I was tempted to say no, knowing I’d have to buy another party gift for the child, but I didn’t; my daughter had a great time at the party, and in her “thank you” goodie bag, we got a coupon for two free gymnastics classes at the facility, which we definitely plan on using.
What do all of these situations have in common? Two things:

  1. The only thing saying yes cost me was my time. While it’s true that you can’t get something for nothing, in this case, I got free things simply because I took a few minutes out of my day in exchange.
  2. The individuals who offered me these free things were the ones who had something to gain from my cooperation; my business, fresh examples of their work, my opinion. In return, I was the one who ended up gaining something, too.

As a culture, we’ve become so used to saying no that sometimes, we forget to say yes. We forget to take advantage of experiences and opportunities that can enhance our lives, or give us something we ordinarily wouldn’t be able to have.
So next time you’re tempted to say no to something, say yes. What do you have to lose?

Reader, have you ever said “yes” to something you might otherwise have declined, only to be pleasantly surprised by the result?