A Little More ‘HELL YEAH!’ A Little Less ‘I Guess So’

Derek Sivers has time management all figured out.

Derek Sivers, creator of CD BABY, is taking an “It’s either ‘HELL YEAH!’ or no” approach to whether he takes on projects, works with people, or even attends conferences.

If said project, person, or conference doesn’t make him go “HELL YEAH! I want to do this!” he doesn’t do it. He said it’s been incredibly freeing, letting him focus on the things he really wants to.



I’ve been trying this myself. I only say yes to certain meetings, projects, and even clients that make me go “HELL YEAH!” I don’t do this all the time, and I’m not really faithful to it. But I’m a lot better than I used to be.

I don’t fill my days up with meetings, wondering when I’m going to get work done. I don’t take on every project I can find, because it takes away from projects I really care about. And I don’t take on every client, because some are more of an energy drain than others. I only take on those things that make me go HELL YEAH. Otherwise, I just say no.

At other times, though, I try a “HELL WHY NOT?!” approach. Personal development trainer Sid Savara came up with this approach, because, he says, there are times when you can’t say no to things that you should be doing. And sometimes you just shouldn’t.

Sid said he would never have started running if he had waited for a HELL YEAH. He would miss out on meeting new people because they weren’t a HELL YEAH. In fact, Sid says that a lot of things that have become a major part of his life started out as a hobby he had a small interest in. But they weren’t HELL YEAH moments.

HELL WHY NOT goes something like this: someone calls you up for coffee, and you say “Well, I’ve got all this work I’ve got to — HELL, WHY NOT?!” That meeting turns out to be a major turning point in your life and career.

Your friend has two tickets to tonight’s game, but you’re thinking that after the day you had, you just want to go home and — HELL, WHY NOT?! And you have an awesome time at the game. Much better than you would have had at home.

Or the day Kyle Lacy asked me to help him write a book. I was busy, didn’t think I had the time, but said HELL, WHY NOT?! Not only was Twitter Marketing for Dummies born, but that lead to writing Branding Yourself (affiliate link) with Kyle, and now, No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls.

That one HELL WHY NOT lead to two more HELL YEAH moments, with more to come.

It’s an interesting place to be, in the middle of these two responses.

On the one hand, an overenthusiastic YES! for specific opportunities. On the other, the most committed and energetic non-commitment you could ever have.

Admittedly “why not?” is not something you want to hear from someone when you ask them to come work for you, go to lunch with you, or even marry you. But HELL WHY NOT is hollered with that enthusiastic “that’s so crazy, it just might work” slapping-the-table gusto.

So I’m trying this out. I’m trying to agree to new opportunities and meetings if I can muster up either a HELL YEAH! or a HELL WHY NOT? If I look for a reason not to do something, if my first response is to groan loudly and roll my eyes, then I won’t do it.

We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll keep you posted on the results.

Only if I feel like it though.

Photo credit: DWizzy (Flickr)

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    About Erik Deckers

    Erik Deckers is the President of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing and social media marketing agency He co-authored four social media books, including No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (3rd ed., 2017, Que Biz-Tech), and The Owned Media Doctrine (2013, Archway Publishing). Erik has written a weekly newspaper humor column for 10 papers around Indiana since 1995. He was also the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, FL.


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