Dear Leader,

This KEY explores the most powerful word in the dictionary. Which word is it? Which is the most powerful word in the world? Write down your answer before you read on. Don’t cheat!

What if you knew that this one word can change lives? That your life and the lives of the people around you would be changed with practicing and using this word? What if you knew this one word could make you happier, healthier and richer and that it could transform your relationships? Read on to discover the most powerful word in the world. We’ll be glad to hear your comments. Please forward the Key to friends, family and associates.


Aviv Shahar

Also, read about:

What is a Coaching Conversation?

Innovation Requires Your “Whole-Brain”

How Do You Find A Destiny – FDR And John Paul The Second

The Ten Commandments ala Will Smith

How Will You Astound Yourself?

The Most Powerful Word In The World

Here we go. “What are the five most important words for you?” is a question I like asking people. It tells me something about their mindset.

Often people tell me the words that are high on their values and/or goals lists. Words that represent what they aspire for. Their answers (and perhaps yours, too) include these words: Health, Love, Wisdom, Purpose, Peace, Success, Meaning, Inspiration, Confidence, Respect, Intimacy, Trust, Happiness, Leadership, Faith, Humor, God. Each of these words holds a mystery we experience but never fully and completely resolve.

For most people the word that triggers the strongest response is their own name. What’s my proof? You walk down a busy mall and someone shouts out your name in the middle of the crowd, you turn around. The use of your name causes such a response that it is almost impossible to resist. The only other word that gets a stronger reaction in a crowded mall is “fire”. Your name triggers a personal response. “Fire” triggers a reptilian reflex and evokes fear and awe.

This Key is about another word, another mystery. Which then is the most powerful word in the world?

It is a three letter word that carries great meaning and power. That word is YES. Here are some of the potential meanings of what the word YES can communicate:

  • Yes, I agree.
  • Yes, you are right.
  • Yes, that is a great idea.
  • Yes, you can do it!
  • Yes, I understand, and am now with you fully and completely.
  • Yes, we have the permission and power, capability and strength – we can do this!
  • Yes, thank you for including me.
  • Yes! We are winning.
  • Yes. Thank you for challenging me.
  • Yes, I love you.

And more. The word YES means agreement and connection. YES brings transference of my power and presence to you. YES passes on your power and presence to the other person – your friend, your partner, your child, your loved one, your team, your employees. YES opens the door to collaboration, to co-creation. It gives permission and enables us to move forward together. YES makes us greater together than the sum of our parts. YES is not an addition; it is a multiplication. Learning to engage on the basis of YES multiplies our knowledge and experience, intelligence and capabilities.

The Blind Spot
If “yes” has such magical powers, why are so many people so afraid of saying “yes”, such that “no” is their first response? What is the Blind Spot? Consider these false beliefs:

  1. Saying YES implies lack of strength
  2. YES makes you vulnerable
  3. YES weakens your position
  4. YES means surrender
  5. YES will subject you to the other person or group
  6. You won’t be respected when you say YES
  7. YES compromises your integrity
  8. YES implies you don’t think for yourself
  9. YES means you are not your own person

Making Relationships Work

In a Harvard Business Review conversation, Psychologist John M Gottman the executive director of the Relationship Research Institute was asked: “What’s your biggest discovery?” Gottman replied: “It sounds simple, but in fact you could capture all of my research findings with the metaphor of a saltshaker. Instead of filling it with salt, fill it with all the ways you can say yes, and that’s what a good relationship is. “Yes,” you say, “that is a good idea.” “Yes, that’s a great point, I never thought of that.” “Yes, let’s do that if you think it’s important.” You sprinkle yeses throughout your interactions – that’s what a good relationships is.” Gottman worked with 3,000 couples over 35 years and the data supports his discoveries. “Successful couples, he notes, look for ways to accentuate the positive. They try to say “Yes” as often as possible. That doesn’t mean good relationships have no room for conflict. On the contrary, individuals in thriving relationships embrace conflict over personality differences as a way to work them through.”

People say “no” out of habit. They resist “yes” because they mistakenly equate “no” with independence; with being one’s own person; with being in control. But they deprive themselves of the one thing more powerful than NO, which is YES. As Richard Branson says: “Life is a helluva lot more fun when you say yes rather than no.”
Take Action
Here are some simple steps you can take to embrace and unleash the power of YES:

  1. Find today five things you can say YES to full-heartedly. Make this a practice for 10 days. After identifying five yeses for 10 days you will have etched that mindset into your reactions.
  2. Practice turning a NO into a YES. The practice is to catch the habitual NO just before it comes out and to turn it into a YES. Say “Yes, and” and then complete the sentence differently. By doing this regularly, you change your mindset, your energy state and your brain chemistry.
  3. Give yourself a big YES. Make it a ritual: when you complete a task, when you succeed and accomplish something, say out loud: “YES” or “YES, I/we have done it.”
  4. Find the YES inside the NO. When someone does or says something you strongly disagree with, identify two good things in this idea/action that you can say yes to. You may disagree with the concept but agree with the intention or the quality of commitment. You may disagree with something that was said but ready to support the initiative, the care and the courage in standing up. You may disagree with an action but be supportive of the risk-taking spirit and the innovative thinking.

    This is not about making things nicer than they are. This is about a discipline of mind that engages in positive and constructive affirmation. You may say to someone: “This was obviously a flop but first we gave it our best, and second we learned how not to do it and I say a big YES to these two things.” Or you may say: “Yes, you have put great effort and thorough analysis into this and you are going against the mold. I disagree with your conclusion and will not approve this decision but I appreciate your free thinking and passion. Your energy is what made this a great exercise.”

  5. Often tell your son and daughter the most powerful sentence in the world, “Yes, you can do it!” Tell it to your partner, to your team, to your friends. Say “Yes, you can do it!” and “Yes, you can do anything!”

Now it’s your turn. Be your own leader. Turn the key. Activate and discover the power of YES.

© Aviv Shahar