Sam said, “Okay, I get the PASSION, LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, and ACCEPTING NO EXCUSES. But what is up with this YES MEN thing? I’ve always hated that.”
The COACH responded, “Yeah, Dave told me you were already upset about that one. The normal connotation of YES MEN is dreadful. We don’t want people who just always say, ‘Yes,’ even when they disagree in order to get on our good side. That, however, is not what I mean by YES MEN. We want people who will challenge our thinking and expand our vision.
“These YES MEN are people with whom you surround yourself to encourage you and hold you accountable. They are the people who tell you, ‘YES, you CAN,’ when you are thinking, ‘No, I can’t.’ They tell you, ‘YES, you SHALL,’ when you are thinking, ‘No, I shall not.’ They tell you, ‘YES, you WILL,’ when you are thinking, ‘No, I won’t.’
“Your YES MEN are your accountability partners. Dave and I get together regularly along with the TRAINER and the PROFESSOR to act as each other’s YES MEN. Further, we get together with many of the other people we have helped along the way.
“I hope you don’t think it’ll be a cake walk from this point on. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had this conversation with who end up settling for mediocrity in their lives. They don’t step up to the plate. When you talk to them today, they’ve just grown their big ol’ BUTS back again. Without fail, each one started back into their old habits of COULDA, SHOULDA and WOULDA by neglecting their relationship with their YES MEN.
“As you pick out your YES MEN, don’t pick out the ones we often think of as YES MEN, the ones afraid to state their convictions and disagree when it’s necessary. They won’t help you. Pick the ones who’ll push you. Pick the ones who’ll force you to get up when you have fallen. Pick the ones who’ll question you and make you clarify your vision and your course of action. Pick the ones who’ll ACCEPT NO EXCUSES. But make sure to pick out YES MEN who are willing to say ‘YES, you CAN,’ even when no one else has before.
“When you have established your council of YES MEN, be completely open and honest with them. Let them know your plans, dreams and visions. Let them know the obstacles you see and the struggles you face. Let them know your fears. Then listen respectfully to their advice. Remember, it’s just that, advice. You SHOULD still be you and you must make your final choices. Good YES MEN will ACCEPT NO EXCUSES from you, not even, ‘I did what you YES MEN said I SHOULD.’
“Here are the benefits of YES MEN. First, two heads are better than one. Even with all of your INSIGHT into your work and life, it’s still hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. It’s always good to get advice and counsel from others with differing perspectives.
“Second, you’ll be surprised how often your network of YES MEN can actually help you with your projects in practical ways by connecting you with others or with needed resources. For instance, when I first started working with this high school, you may remember the team had maintained a losing record for several years. The school board had cut the budget. We were in desperate need of new equipment and didn’t have the funds.”
“Oh yeah, I remember that,” Sam said. “I remember little Sam complaining about some of the outdated and dilapidated equipment. One of the local sporting goods stores stepped in and made some donations didn’t it?”
“That’s right. What you don’t know is those donations came because I laid out my troubles to my YES MEN council. The TRAINER had a connection with the upper crust at that store. Dave had an accountant friend who explained the tax advantages of making such a donation. Voilà, our equipment issues were resolved.
“The third benefit from YES MEN is they help pick you up when you fall down. Before I moved here, I had an experience so devastating I was ready to throw in the towel. I had made a few mistakes in my first head coaching job. Instead of letting me learn from them and grow, one of my assistant coaches, a man I thought was a friend, went behind my back to get me ousted so he could have the job. It was my introduction to another aspect I hate about this job—school politics. I was down and the ref had counted to 9. That was when Dave really came into my life. He had been my landlord for a few years. One day he was just checking out his property and struck up a conversation with me. I guess I needed someone to talk to because I just opened up to him like he was my best friend. He taught me about GETTING TO DID and ever since he has acted as my YES MAN, picked me up and helped me move on. I’m just going to tell you, you can’t replace that or manufacture it on your own.
“Fourth, maybe I think this because I’m such a people person, but life is just more fun when you’re sharing it with others. Your council of YES MEN gives you people to laugh and cry with. It gives you people to support and people who support you. It gives you people who will pat you on your back when you do well and kick you in the backside when you slack off. It just makes life more interesting and more fun.
“Finally, when it’s time to do battle and go toe to toe with the ones who’ll try to knock you down and keep you from reaching your goals, your YES MEN provide you with support and strength you WILL never have alone.
“My game is a game of YES MEN. I have yet to see the one man football team. No PLAY in my game is ever made by a single player. I never let my team forget that. We have to support each other, defend each other and bust heads for each other. In the end, I’m convinced there’ve been some games we won simply because we ‘YES we CANned’ each other through it.