My friend Teresa struggled in school. She didn’t fit into any of the typical academic boxes. By the time she was in junior high, she thought she wasn’t very smart. Her teachers called her a daydreamer or flighty. One day a teacher in class caught her doodling. He took the sketch and tacked it to the board. He then leaned down to Teresa and said, “Never let anyone stifle your creativity. If you want to draw in my class while I teach – if it frees your mind – do it! You have a gift.” 

Ah, the power of believing in someone!  

Teresa had never really had someone who believed in her, gave her a “yes” to a silent request to be herself, but when her teacher did she soared. She later honored that teacher for his support and for changing the trajectory of her education.  

Teresa rose up to embrace her creativity and rebel against traditional thinking. Today, she’s happy and successful. 

And that’s exactly what we should do when someone finally says “yes” to our idea, our sale, our ask: Take it and rise! While some internal demons of fear may nag at us, we owe it to the other person to rise to the challenge and “make good” on their yes.  

Have you ever given someone a chance, or recommended them for a job and they let you down? It can be damaging to your reputation and reliability but more importantly is extremely disappointing. We want to keep hearing yes, so we need to live up to our yes. How you treat the person who says “yes” will determine whether you will ever hear another “yes.” 

Here are a few ways to honor your yes:  

  1. Show gratitude. The art of thankfulness has been diluted with social media, but it’s not dead! A personal, intentional thank you can go a long way.  
  1. Keep in touch. I used to teach at a university. Students from long ago, whom I helped get a leg up in their career, still include me in their wedding invites, graduation parties or baby announcements. I am so happy to hear they are thriving! And the fact that they still think of me and include me is a little ‘yes’ of my own. A ‘yes’ that I was able to help them to find their path. 
  1. Send help, support, and referrals their way. Recommend their business, their advice, or their mentorship. 
  1. Deepen the connection. Find specific ways to give back to them or their project or their cause. Really invest in their interests and passions.  

The key is to make a memorable impression on the people whom you ask for help.  

The final step isn’t just the “yes” – the final step is to follow through on that YES and pay it forward!