There is a fairly recent movie called “Yes Man” starring Jim Carrey. The premise was simple … say yes to everything!

To most people saying yes is NOT the first thing that comes to mind when asked to do something.

Think about the last time a friend asked you to drive them to the airport. Or to help them move. Or borrow money.

Did you jump at the chance?
Probably not. Well, in the movie Jim Carrey’s character was encouraged to say yes to everything. Of course, this was a comedy and it was written in such a way to maximize the humor of the situation. (Spoiler Alert – At the end of the movie he uses this “power” to … surprise … do something unusual and funny).

Saying Yes is a form of Giving

Whether it’s giving of your time, your expertise, your contacts or whatever else someone asks of you. Most people think of time as their most valuable resource. Which in a sense it is. Everyone only has the same 24 hours in a day.

However, would you agree to respond to emails from students or colleagues, make recommendations on LinkedIn, or introduce anyone to any contacts your have?

If you were Adam Grant … you would!

Last week in the New York Times there was an excellent article on Giving to Get Ahead. Where the aforementioned Adam Grant, Wharton professor and whom I’m calling the Ambassador of Giving, is interviewed where he shares his thoughts and research on Giving to Get Ahead. Take the time to read it. It’s worth it.

In case you have not heard of Adam Grant that’s OK. His brief bio is that he’s young … just 31. In fact, he is the youngest-tenured and highest-rated professor at Wharton.

In the article, he discussed how becoming more ProSocial can help you get more done. Think more thoughts. Share more ideas. And ultimately get even MORE done. It seems counterintuitive, but the research bears his ideas out.

Giving is much more than a State of Mind

It’s leadership, relationship building, career enhancing stuff.

By giving your time, your expertise and sharing your contacts you are building your brand and building your community. A lot of people may be concerned that by giving up their contacts and their expertise and their time that they are being taken advantage of. And there is some truth to this. Adam Grant’s research shows that there are three categories for reciprocity: givers, matchers and takers. The article goes into some detail on how each balances out and how, in the end, these three categories help you select which are that are deserving of your giving efforts.

Giving allows you to grow your career, your brand, and your community. While this may not be the goal of your Giving Efforts. These are benefits that make your giving that much more worthwhile.

Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?

According to Adam Grant’s research the answer is YES!

There is an old saying:
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ~John Bunyan

While John Bunyan’s point may seem to run counter to the concepts Adam Grant is espousing I think it’s in perfect alignment with the whole concept of Giving to Get Ahead. Giving can help you get ahead. Even if you aren’t expecting it.

Things have an odd way of coming back to you. And when they do … Enjoy the Moment. And to think … it can all start because you give someone your time, your expertise or your contacts. Just say YES!


Jeff  is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.