My wife Dawn and I were recently reflecting on our wedding. A wedding is usually a great day for the bride and groom. (Except in Panic At The Disco songs.) But the guest experience can vary widely. That being typed, a surprising number of the roughly 200 guests at our wedding told us how much they enjoyed the event. In fact, 20 years later we still hear this.
We hosted a pretty typical experience. The wedding was in the afternoon. In a church. A reception with dinner and dancing followed. Just like the invitation said.
The party was not particularly fancy. We did all the decorating ourselves, with help from our families. There was no photo booth. In fact, we had disposable cameras on each table. Because it was 2002. And Blockbuster was still a thing.
But we did have a DJ. The kid boasted that he was one of the best DJs in Marathon County. Plus, we sprang for wine, beer and soda pop. Which might have helped the overall experience, because research shows that people enjoy alcohol, sugar, and free stuff.
The Simple Explanation
But as we reflected on the fun weekend 20 years ago, Dawn came up with a simple explanation as to why the event was so enjoyable. She said,
‘It was like everyone was yessing.’
I immediately agreed. Dawn put a unique, but highly accurate descriptor on the event. People yessed to traveling to the fairly remote Wausau, Wisconsin. They yessed to supporting us. They yessed to spending time together. They yessed to a celebration. They yessed to staying up late. They yessed to dancing, drinking, laughing and all the things that make a good time roll.
Here’s To Yessing
As we enjoy this holiday week of Hanukah, Christmas, and other end-of-year activities, I hope you are yessing. Yessing to the fun, and hope and joy of this time of year. I hope you are yessing to gathering and spending time together. I hope you are yessing to traditions and creating new memories and deepening your relationships with others.
Yessing is leaning in. It is deciding to play, dance, and sing. It is not about watching others, or saying this isn’t my thang. The greatest fun and best times are a result of yessing. And the more people you have yessing the merrier the moment.
The Impact on Culture
Yessing is a key to creating a great organizational culture. When we all say yes to the processes, traditions and rituals they help strengthen and deepen culture. When we decide to do and be what the family, business, team or event needs we increase the power and magnetism of the entire group.
The first rule of improv is to say Yes to whatever is thrown your way. Life is like improv. When someone throws something good your way, yes it. Make it stronger and better and more enjoyable for everyone. Yessing creates positive peer pressure that makes life, work, and play better. And it certainly makes wedding weekends fun and memorable.
Lean into life. Say yes to the opportunities and adventures. Participate. Contribute to the conversations. Partake in the traditions. Dance and sing and play when it’s time. When we Yes we create momentum. We deepen bonds. We create memories. And ultimately, we enrich each other’s lives. It’s not hard to do. And the rewards last a lifetime.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? For more ideas on how to build a great organizational culture check out my newest book The Culture Turnaround.