Originally published on Advisor Perspectives
We lead busy personal and professional lives that place heavy demands on our time. But it’s a mistake to quickly say “no” to something that might not offer immediate benefits.
I observed this in the process of writing my new self-help book for the general public. I’m really excited about it. It’s called: Ask: Be Liked. Be Loved. Be Better. Ask is based on solid research in the fields of psychology and neuroscience. It will positively impact a lot of lives.
I’d like to get it traditionally published but will self-publish if I can’t. My journey so far has taught me something.
The odds of getting a publishing deal in today’s environment are really slim. The process involves first finding a literary agent. By some estimates, top agents receive over 2,000 submissions a year and only accept two or three of them, if that. A rough rule of thumb is the odds of getting an agent are about 1 in 1,000.
Very daunting, even for an author with a good track record.
Improving the odds
One way to improve the odds is to get a well-known author to write a foreword to the book. I reached out to one who wasn’t interested in reading my book proposal or learning anything about the book. He explained he learned the importance of “saying no.”
There are some legitimate reasons for declining requests that impose on your time. However, reflexively saying “no” – especially in situations where there’s no immediate benefit to you – may be a mistake. Here’s why:
The benefit of saying “yes”
I am frequently asked to write book “blurbs” – a foreword or answer investing questions. I almost always honor those requests. I do so because I believe the books will help those who read them and answering questions from investors will prevent them from being victimized.
While I don’t benefit monetarily from those activities, I enrich my life in ways that can’t be quantified.
When I help others, it makes me feel good. There’s a scientific basis for this feeling. Doing something for others boosts serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being.
There’s also evidence that being kind eases anxiety, releases oxytocin which is good for heart health, helps you live longer, reduces stress and prevents illness.
There’s another benefit. You never know when a kind act will benefit you in unexpected ways. Many advisors have told some of their best referrals came from clients they served without compensation, because they didn’t meet their minimum requirements.
You may be on top of the world today, but tomorrow could bring a reversal of fortune. If it does, you’ll be grateful for all the goodwill you created by saying “yes” when others learned to say “no.”