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Want progress? Two paths. You choose.

Most everyone wants to move forward. They want to become a better person. They want to improve their lives. They want to help others improve their lives.

Ethnographer Brad Bennett Yeasayer

I see the desire for progress in my work with consumers. I spend time in their homes and join them on their shopping trips. I see and hear about the little and big steps they take to move forward.

I also see the desire for progress in my clients. They ride with me as we travel from home to home over the course of days. I learn about their families, career goals and ways they hope to help their company and customers.

But progress is hard.

As leadership expert John Maxwell says, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.”

I notice some people progress quickly. I see and hear about the trail they leave behind as they clamber up their hill. I notice others are stuck—looking up rather than moving up. Certainly uncontrollable life circumstances come into play, but there is something wonderful about those making more progress.

Some are Naysayers, some are Yeasayers.

Yeasayers are the ones moving forward. They have extra hope and determination and a twinkle in their smile. Ironically, their momentum means they hit more hurdles than those standing still. Even if Yeasayers’ movement is slowed or stalled, they know they will find the way ahead. They will progress.

We can easily point to the true Yeasayers and Naysayers in our lives. It is a trait that defines them. But most of us are not one or the other. We are all shades of gray and yellow—overcast and sunshine—and sometimes one path is much easier than the other.

Some might think Yeasayers are just yes-women and yes-men, who believe any idea is a good one. They are not. They often say no to things that impede their progress.

Yeasayers are yes-we-will-women and men.

Benjamin Franklin was a Yeasayer. And Martin Luther King Jr. too. Melinda Gates is a Yeasayer and so is Elon Musk. My grandma was a Yeasayer and my father-in-law is too. Almost all of my “innovation” clients are Yeasayers.

It is a choice.

Yeasayer or Naysayer? Which are you choosing today? And tomorrow?