Career advice often focuses on the value of saying no, and it’s true that without good boundaries, it’s hard to be successful. However, it’s also important to say yes in your career — not to other people’s priorities, necessarily, or to every project that comes down the pike, but to new opportunities and experiences.
Mega-producer Shonda Rhimes published a book on the topic a few years back. In Year of Yes, Rhimes wrote, “Who you are today . . . that’s who you are. Be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy. And every single time you get the chance? Stand up in front of people. Let them see you. Speak. Be heard.”
Want to be seen and heard in the coming year? Say yes to:
1. A Promotion You’re Not Quite Ready For
If you wait until you feel ready for a promotion, you might wait forever. Opportunities to advance don’t come along every day. If you like your employer and you can see yourself in the role “someday,” don’t wait. Make someday today.
You can learn on the job. You might even surprise yourself by discovering that you were more prepared than you thought. But you’ll never advance if you don’t make the leap.
If you can see yourself in the role “someday,” don’t wait. Make someday today. #getpromoted
2. An Experience That Stretches You
To grow, you have to do things that scare you. That might mean giving a presentation at the next company meeting, when you’re terrified of public speaking, or taking a role that involves more travel when you’re more of a homebody.
How can you tell a good stretch from something you’ll flat-out hate? Ask yourself whether your resistance is based on fear or genuine distaste. If you’re an introvert, for example, you probably aren’t going to enjoy a job that requires you to schmooze constantly. But if the only thing standing between you and something you want to do is anxiety, it’s worth seeing if you can power through.
3. Learning New Things
Picking up new skills can help you get promoted, earn a raise, or land an exciting new job. But you don’t have to limit your educational pursuits to skills that will feature prominently on your resume.
Learning new things changes your perspective, keeps your mind sharp and helps you stay intellectually curious. So, go ahead and learn French this year, or ballroom dancing, or karate. It’ll be a good reminder that you’re not done becoming yourself.
4. Meeting New People
Networking is a boring name for something people do anyway: form relationships. Want to make it more fun and less of a chore? Stop thinking in terms of getting ahead in your career, and just focus on meeting new people.
More friends means more people to support you when things are tough, at work and at home. Plus, it might give you the chance to help someone else out, which will feel good, as well as building the kind of strong connections that create a foundation for success.
Tell Us What You Think
What’s the scariest thing you’ve done in your career so far? We want to hear from you. Tell us how it worked out in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.