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January 6th 2010JUST SAY YES!

Posted by Brian Bartes

As 2010 begins, you have probably taken some time already to reflect on last year and to consider what kind of year 2010 will be for you. If you’re like me, January will be a season in which you continue to look forward and make plans for 2010. Ever the eternal optimist, I believe 2010 will be a great year for most people…including you!


Typically, I write about resolutions, goal setting, or strategic planning of some sort in this first message of the New Year. While the theme of the message is the same this year, I’m going to suggest you approach your planning a bit differently this time.


I’m just returning from eight days at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. My family and I had a wonderful time, although I don’t recommend the week between Christmas and New Year’s, for a variety of reasons. It was not the “warm weather winter vacation” that we had hoped for, with highs averaging in the low to mid 60s. And the parks were jam-packed. Were it not for the Fastpasses that our Disney Vacation Club representative provided when we arrived, we might not have ridden any of the more popular rides.


I’m not complaining, though. I am certainly grateful for the opportunity to get away. 60 degrees is certainly better than 20, and I savor the time that we are able to enjoy together as a family…especially now that our son Andy is in college.


I always enjoy the business aspects of Walt Disney World. There are so many lessons I could talk about, as I look at our experience there on two levels—one of having fun and enjoying the experience with my family, and also noticing how Disney conducts its business.


I’ll talk more in the future about that second level, because Disney does a lot of things very well…things that you can also apply to your business. Today’s lesson originated not in the theme parks, though, but rather in the pool…at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.


It was Sunday evening, our second night at Disney World. The temperature was in the mid 50s, though the water was fortunately much warmer. Typically my children (who must be part polar bear!) insist on swimming the first night. But somehow they waited until Sunday.


For some reason, the older I get, the less enthusiastic I am about swimming in what feels like sub-zero conditions. Any more, I’m perfectly content sitting at the side of the pool, heavily dressed in jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, a jacket. A bit cold, perhaps, but not freezing.


If you have children, you also understand that part of their enthusiasm for the “vacation swim” involves you being in the pool with them. Kids can’t understand why on earth you wouldn’t want to be in the pool.


Throughout the evening, I found myself wanting to say “no” to a variety of things that (looking back) were clearly in my best interest to say “yes” to.


First, I didn’t want to go in the water at all. Being the “team player” that I am, I reluctantly agreed to swim with my two youngest children. Once I was in, the water was fine, and I was having a great time with Carly and Caleb.


But then, Caleb wanted to go down the slide. Of course, that involved getting out of the water, into the now even colder night air. The slide is 20 feet high and 148-foot long. There are probably 40 steps up to the top. Did I mention that the air was cold?


Needless to say, we slid down the slide. Then we went down again. Then a third time.


After that, the kids wanted to go in the hot tub. Now, that sounded appealing. Thinking ahead, though, I knew we would eventually come back in the pool. Which, on a chilly evening, would mean that the water that once felt warm would feel much cooler after enjoying the 104-degree water in the hot tub.


We enjoyed the hot tub, then went back in the pool.


In the end, in spite of wanting to say “no” a number of times, I said “yes” again and again. It was the right thing to do under the circumstances. I’ll soon forget how cold it actually was, but I will always remember swimming with my children in the pool at Bay Lake Tower.


I could site numerous other “late night swims” we’ve had during cool nights on vacation. They are engrained as tremendously positive experiences not only in my mind, but also in the minds, and memories, of my children.


After reading this story, you might find yourself judging my actions related to the experience. You might be one of those dads that is fully engaged, and would never think of not going in the pool in the situation I described above. Or you might think that I’m an idiot for going in the water at all, and perhaps even for allowing my children to swim given the weather. In a more positive light, you might think I’m a pretty great dad for doing what I did.


For me, there’s a bigger issue than the swim itself. As I reflected on the great time I had that evening, the following question occurred to me:


What are you saying “no” to that you ought say “yes” to?


As you plot your course for 2010, I hope you’ll consider this question. Perhaps there’s a decision you’ve been wavering on. Or maybe you’re pursuing a new direction in your career. You might be thinking about starting a new business. This question might also apply to a relationship you’re thinking about starting (or ending).


Saying “no” is important, and I’ve written about that before. But for 2010, say “Yes.” To the opportunities that present themselves, both professionally and personally. To the experiences that await you in the coming year. To the possibilities that exist in the world today.


Go ahead. Jump in. Say “yes” in 2010.


You’ll be glad you did!



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