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  • Jena Skinner, AICP

Are you a yes-person?

As an avid observer, I always find it interesting to watch how people respond when listening to others at conferences, in the workplace, and throughout life. Of COURSE yes is the appropriate answer most of the time, no doubt, when responding to taking on tasks, or when you are in agreement with what is being said. But what about those times that you have to force an answer out of your mouth because to your core, you simply do not agree with a direction that has been given or a position that someone is putting you in? What if someone has come in from "out of town" and wants to make changes to your community that smacks of ego and not of pure intention? Do you smile and nod, or do you take a breath, and be brave enough to stand by your convictions?


In my career, I have done both. I know the feeling, the empathy for others in this situation, and the risks involved. I also know when you sacrifice your soul out of fear of losing your job, this self-disappointment lives on inside and resentment forever lingers in your subconscious.


There is a lot of beauty in working for yourself; where you pick and choose the work you do and who you work with. You have the luxury of stepping back if someone treats you less than you are worth. You can maintain your ethics and stand by your convictions. You are your own boss. But still, work is work, right?


What I have learned is (and I have centered on this before) is that fear is just not worth limiting yourself. Being brave is uncommon, and I feel that is why I have yet to work for or with an awe-inspiring leader. If you become that leader through being brave enough to make decisions true to yourself while being willing to walk away from those who are not, you will have people wanting to work with you. You will get the work, the respect, and you will contribute and leave positive footprints on the world. So who do you want to be now? A yes-person or an amazing leader?

To lead, or not to lead THAT is the question.

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