Seven years ago, taught myself to say “yes” to the opportunities life presented. My newfound willingness to meet people and try things has paid off in some big ways.
In 2008, for instance, I received an email from a blog reader. He’d be in Portland the following week and wanted to know if I had time to meet for lunch. “Sure,” I said. “Let’s do it.”
I met the reader and his wife at a local Thai restaurant. We had a great conversation. I was impressed by his story and his drive. I gave him blogging tips. He told me stories about traveling the world. His wife showed me how to stretch my injured hamstring.
Eventually, this guy — whose name was Chris Guillebeau — moved to Portland. Our friendship grew. In 2010, I joined Chris for a train ride from Chicago to Portland. On that trip, he shared a crazy idea. “I want to create a conference and hold it in Portland. I want you to be on the planning team,” he said. For the next three years, I helped to organize the World Domination Summit, which has grown into a grand party for 3000 people.
Success breeds success. When you do something well, you open doors to new opportunities. When you fail to act, doors remain closed.
In my case, saying “yes” to lunch with one stranger has had a ripple effect that continues to spread throughout my entire life. Because of that one action, I’ve met hundreds of incredible people, some of whom have become close friends. I’ve traveled to Norway. I’ve spoken on stage before one thousand people. And so on. This very article — and the ebook I’m currently scrambling madly to finish — is a direct result of me overcoming my fears and taking a tiny risk. The downsides were negligible, but the payoff has been enormous.
This is only one example of the huge jackpots I’ve received from saying “yes” to opportunities that I would have ignored before. At times, it feels like I’ve won the lottery. In fact, the lottery is the perfect metaphor for what happens when you embrace new experiences and new opportunities.