Success is Built on 'Yes' and Sustained With 'No'

Does success beget more distraction? Do the opportunities to say yes increase as your influence grows?

I fear so.

But success can also beget discipline and focus. They’re the differentiator between those who make it and those who keep it.

In the past two years, I have transitioned my career substantially. For the vast majority of my time with FranklinCovey, I played the metaphorical role of behind-the-scenes director, producer, and box office ticket taker. I served as a sales leader, the marketing leader, and the business development leader and generally served in non-public roles supporting many parts of the global business. That was intentional—not to avoid the spotlight per se, but because for decades my time and talent were best invested in building the influence and brands of many other authors, speakers, and thought leaders.

Then I pivoted, to the angst of some (I suspect those who realized all my time and creativity was no longer only focused on them, but finally on myself as well….but that’s a different blog). When I pivoted to also build my own reputation as an author and speaker, the opportunities for me professionally grew exponentially. Quickly. Nearly overnight, I was invited to write articles, appear on radio programs and podcasts, and author columns. Media requests poured in. I attribute it less to my genius and more to my thirty years of experience in the performance improvement industry. Keynote requests from around the world came in by the dozens. I began taping six to eight podcast interviews a week, finally as the guest. Current clients invited me to consult with them, and with those opportunities, my profile continued to build, as did my presence and influence on social media.

Now, ego check: I ain’t any big deal, people. I’ve just finally, metaphorically and literally, stepped onto the stage, and some of the audience has realized, “Oh, the producer can also write and act.” As I’ve deployed three decades of experience across a broad career, I’ve been honored to coach and help people across many social platforms who find my experiences and insights helpful as they navigate their own business and leadership paths. More so each week that now it’s become fairly unsustainable for me.

Compared to many authors and business influencers, I’m the proverbial “ant on the elephant’s ass.” But after authoring two bestselling books and becoming the host of the world’s largest weekly leadership podcast, the host of an iHeart Radio program, and an inc.com columnist, I’m building a decent-size virtual posse, that to be clear, I value greatly and don’t take for granted.

I spend three to four hours a day across five platforms answering questions, providing advice, and making connections between my physical and virtual/digital networks. It is the nature of my role as EVP of Thought Leadership for FranklinCovey. Truth be told, I could spend all day, every day simply responding to invitations and requests from social media.

It’s both an honor and a burden. Just as if you neglected your physical mail, your email, your voice mail, or those (in the olden days) who stopped by your desk, at some point your brand would suffer as being unresponsive, aloof, or even negligent.

The same is true with my social media as a business and networking tool.

With more podcasts, books, articles, and columns, my social media will grow. And I am immensely grateful to those who connect or follow me. And I need to determine, without outsourcing it to someone to pose as me (which isn’t going to happen—ever), how do I stay focused on my priorities, deliver value to my employer, and also help hundreds and thousands of people in my network benefit from my messes and successes?

The opportunities for me to say yes have never been greater. As I write this, I have six other writing projects (some small, some substantial) because I couldn’t, wouldn’t say no.

Yes will build my success but yes will also crush it. Only no will sustain it.

Wish me success and I hope you’ll join one of my networks as I’d love to help you. Now back to my day job before you send me a message where I’ll be tempted to say yes.


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About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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