2017 Women’s Leadership Symposium: “Creating a Resonant Yes Through the Power of No”

yesSarah Young from Zing Collaborative had a powerful message for attendees of the 2017 Women’s Leadership Symposium: “How we spend our moments is how how we spend our lives”. Her interactive, high-energy and thought-provoking talk started with some alarming statistics:

Google searches per second: 40,000
Number of texts sent every minute of every day: 15,220,700 
Frequency in which one is distracted at work: every 11 minutes
Minutes it takes to to get back on task: 23
Percentage of behavior NOT consciously self-directed : as much as 95%

Young challenged us to be honest about how many times we check our phones and email, even if we are not prompted to do so. “The use of time is critical. We can choose how we show up from one moment to the next, from one meeting to the next.”

phone_crop“…every time I check my phone, I’m playing the slot machine to see, ‘What did I get?’  ~ Tristan Harris

Young cited the Power of Full Engagement that asserts as little as 5 percent of our behaviors are consciously self-directed, specifically that we have automatic reactions instead of intentional actions.

With all that in mind, Young led our group through a series of exercises to understand the immediate and long term impacts of saying “yes”, when we want to say “no”. Young guided us in small groups until we were easily able to iterate our values. thinkingNext we talked about gratitude and generosity guiding our sense of clarity. Finally, we discussed our purpose and the ways in which we can best serve each other and ourselves. When faced with a request, “Will you do x?”, Young asks us to pose these questions:

Is this 100% aligned with my values?
Does this come from a place of Gratitude?
Is this aligned with my higher purpose in this world?
Am I saying yes to prevent inertia or to rescue?
Is this the best way to serve our Customer?
Is this bringing us closer to our Vision?

Young urges to be strategic in saying Yes. Tell the truth when we say No to the request and NOT the requestor.

  • Give yourself time: “Let me think about it/ get back to you”
  • Pose a question: “Is there another way to get the same outcome?”
  • Counter offer: “Can I do x instead?”
  • Shift language: “Here are my current priorities…”

Young closed her amazing session by encouraging us to evaluate what is at the crux of when we say Yes and No, “Sometimes, in order to increase our overall positive impact at work or on the world, we need to decrease the things to which we say Yes”.


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