Yes, I’ve always been a ‘yes’ man. No, not one of those obsequious, slick-suited, smarmy, corporate types who say ‘yes’ to everything that their bosses want, the ones who would sell their own families to further their own careers. Shall I name names? No, maybe not, but you know who you are and those of you that have met them know who they are too. No, I don’t say ‘yes’ just to curry favour, although why favour should be curried rather than fricasseed or stewed remains something of a mystery to me, I do it for altogether more deeply ingrained reasons.
I’m a ‘yes’ man nevertheless though; finding it very hard to let any opportunity go by without grasping at it like the proverbial drowning man with a straw. God knows why? I don’t remember ever being close to drowning. I think it’s something to do with my upbringing; constantly trying to please, even when you hate what you are being asked – told - to do, is bound to have an effect.
It’s almost as if when someone asks: ‘would you like to do this horrible task that nobody in their right mind would attempt,’ a mask slips down over my real face and, although my mind is whispering ‘no’, the scary clown inside me screams ‘Yes!’ A strange grin, almost a grimace appears on my face, my eyes glaze over, and for some reason well beyond my ken I’m suddenly Mr Ken Can Do, no problem at all, just show me the hare and I’ll chase it up the flagpole - and the ‘no’ that was on the edge of my lips is cancelled into nothingness.
Oh, why do I do it, when I know it’ll end in tears?
This ‘saying yes’ thing has got me into hot water over the years: a marriage or two that weren’t exactly expected, a few flings that roller-coasted into dangerous waters, jobs that were too big for my not very shiny boots, promises that I sometimes couldn’t keep, but did keep by hurting myself in various ways, sometimes years later in mental health terms.
I guess I’m like that girl in the song - just a guy that can’t say ‘no’…
What a terrible fix to be in.
You see, the problem with saying ‘yes’ is that it commits you. Saying ‘yes’ means that you are happy to do something and, in my experience, I’m sometimes not. Mind you, I’ve built businesses, travelled the world, and really grown as a person (sorry for that phrase, but it’s true) as a result of saying ‘yes’ to things that I really wanted to say ‘no’ to and, at the end of the day (as those footballing commentators say), it has brought me real benefits that I wouldn’t have realised if I’d followed my inclinations and said ‘no’.
Yes, that’s why I’m a ‘yes’ man, although these days I am slowly learning how to say ‘no’. Maybe it’s my age, perhaps experience, or it could be that I’m just getting increasingly cussed. ‘No’ becomes easier to say as each day passes, although I don’t think I’ll ever be a real ‘no’ man.