My Year As A Yes Man

My Year As A Yes Man

My son loves Jim Carrey and we've watched a bunch of his movies together.  "Yes Man" is his favorite and lead to me last year to take a New Year's resolution of not saying no to opportunities that came up in my life.  I didn't give my wallet away to a stranger like Carrey's character did in the movie and I didn't learn Korean either.

What I did do was say yes to almost everything I was invited to or opportunities that came up.  Some of these I would have said yes to in the past anyway, others I would have said no to because I was tired from working or the thought of sitting on the coach or just having a relaxing dinner was more enticing.

I'm not sure why I act this way at times in turn of rejecting opportunities.  Almost every time I do something it turns out to be a great time.  From this past year I did the following that in the past I would have used an excuse to get out of:

-Went to the Harlem Globetrotters show.  My friend ended up being able to get 4th row tickets.  While I remember liking them as a kid, it seemed a bit cheesy to me as an adult.  Boy was I wrong. Their show was really funny and entertaining and most importantly, my kids had a great time.  Our family motto (even though I can be hypocritical about it) is to collect experiences, not souvenirs and this was a great one.

-Said yes to going to a friend's change of command ceremony with the Air Force.  He's not my closest friend in the world, but a good guy.  He wanted a civilian to be at this ceremony.  At first I was thinking no as I'd have to skip work and travel a bit to make it.  Then I remembered my vow and realized it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this type of military ceremony.  It was amazing just being on their base, but then I got to hear what my friend had accomplished and was blown away.  Truly a memorable day.

- I agreed to be a coach on my son's soccer team. I had been in the past, but took the previous year off. He's on a very competitive club team which means at least three practices a week plus games on the weekend.  I love it, but it's a big commitment and can be exhausting. It also interferes with my day job at times.  A friend of mine with three boys had told me how once the kids are in high school you don't have a chance to be this involved with them and that I'd regret not doing it.  He's right and the year so far has been awesome.

- Took a trip with my wife to Utah. Our boys were at camp. I was swamped at work and wasn't excited about Utah.  It was so beautiful, the food was great and while she and I can have a great time anywhere, this was especially fun and a trip we'll talk about forever or at least until my dementia fully kicks in.

- Sounds simple, but any time I thought I could help my wife with an errand, I did. It was mostly a lot of going to the store and often uneventful, but a lot of times I bumped in to a friend and had great conversations or even just got an awesome sample of food.

- I was asked to be on the board of director's of an acquaintance's company. I'm busy enough at night with soccer and that's when the meetings are so it would have been easy to say no.  But we only meet once a quarter, his company is really interesting and I've met some pretty cool people as a result.  It's actually help me become more introspective about my own  business which has lead to some positive changes.

- I was thinking about sitting on my butt to watch game 7 of the NBA Finals, but instead took up an offer to go to the Cubs game. Way more fun and got to see the first home run and hit by Willson Contreras.

- I used to be a big race runner, but haven't done that as much in the past few years. I'm especially not a fan of races that cost a ton. Being a yes man though I paid $50 per family member to run the Bears 5k which finished on the field at the 50 yard line. The amount my sons enjoyed it was worth the price of admission alone even if they are now faster than me.

- On a random Saturday at the end of summer, my wife was taking my boys bowling with their friends.  I had the green light to stay home, but my son asked me to go.  Was looking forward to watching an English Premier League game, but I got to see each of my boys get a new career high.  Not a life changing moment, but not one I'd want to have missed.

- Agreed to take a teammate of my son on a six hour trip for a soccer tournament for four days even though we don't really know his family or him. It worked out great because my son had someone to run around and do Pokemon Go with and it served as a good example to our kids about helping others.

- I know almost nothing about coaching basketball, but stepped up when a coach had to drop out due to illness.  I ended up having a special needs child on the team. To him success was just being part of a team, giving out high fives and successfully throwing the ball in bounds. I coached to be with my son, but certainly learned more and was able to give more by focusing on making sure this other child had a good experience.

- I went to a Peter Frampton show.  Million reasons not to go.  It was a school/work night. Wasn't going on stage until late. I don't know a ton of his songs. I knew it was likely see him then or never in my life. My buddy and I seemed to be the youngest people in the crowd by 20 years.  Frampton absolutely crushed it and while I know nothing about music, you could just tell he's a level above 99% of guitar players.

- I went to Game 7 without a ticket, scored an amazing seat at face value and you know the rest. Would have been so much easier to just watch it from home instead of agreeing to meet my buddy at the game.

So it wasn't an earth shattering year that changed my life in a way that will result in a Zoey Deschanel sequel, but it's clear that when you say yes to opportunities and don't live your life on the couch that good things happen.

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