I mentioned in our FFF post I was going to try something new and say YES more at work to see if that made a difference in my stress. Don’t get me wrong I like my job and love being an Instructional Designer and, to be honest, I think this one of my favorite jobs and companies I have ever worked for. That said as a senior member of the team I find I am always offering advice and have gotten the word “bossy” tossed my way. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you are right if no one wants to work with you. So maybe saying yes, holding my tongue, and going with the flow at work will create less stress and more happiness for all.
When I think about myself I wouldn’t say I am “yes” person but I am also not someone who says no easily. I went into this 30-day project thinking it was silly but why not try something new and see what happens and I was very surprised by the results.
The very first thing is I noticed all the of the yeses. A few people do it often and part of me wonders if they too are on the surrender project or is this just their way of life? Did they know what they were doing? I was at a meeting with one of these yes folks and a question from another team member came up. They wanted to know if something was in the document. The answer was no, but I didn’t say that. Instead, I waited to see what the yes person was going to say who also worked on that document with me. To my surprise, they said yes, that item was in the document. Did they lie? Did they forget? Not sure but when we got to that part of the document the team member noticed that item wasn’t in the document and the yes person apologized and added it in. My yes coworker avoided a no and made it look more like an oversight. Again not sure if this was intentional but it worked out nicely.
One would think my team would take advantage of me saying yes all the time. But the truth is they didn’t. Maybe that is a testament to working for a company that cares about their employees. Regardless the results started out right away and I was overall less stressed. I was going with the flow, and rather than being devil’s advocate I found a way to ask questions and be inquisitive rather than judgemental. I tried to act like I didn’t know the answer so I didn’t have to say no and rather asked others the question.
I wasn’t expecting to like the surrender project, I thought it was silly and I would feel resentment for not speaking up. After 3 weeks my boss said I got the “gold star” and seemed the most pleased with me in months. My stress level was at its lowest point and I am in love with saying yes. I volunteered for a community outreach program and so excited to have this new opportunity. Got a new fun project outside of my usual work that was super creative, fun, and met some new teams that I worked well with. Things are going really good.
Saying yes all the time didn’t make me mad or ungrateful. I think as long as I am not holding back information that could help or saying yes and … might be a way to avoid such resentment and still feel good about yourself. I like not saying no, I like asking questions, I like being the person to be ready to help and not be seen as bossy or the know-it-all. I am shocked by how much I learned from this project, and how much I learned about myself.
In the end, I would not call what I am doing “surrendering” or even say I am now a “yes” person. I would say I am a “why” person as I keep an open mind before saying anything, ask questions and try to hold off on judgment.
Maybe one day I will try this in my personal life. * L