Jim Carrey stars as No Man Carl. Carl lives his life in a constant state of NO. No matter what it is in his life, his answer is no. That is until a conference changes his life and he becomes a Yes Man.
The movie makes it humorous. It makes us laugh. Yes Man should also make us think about what we say no and yes to.
That’s what Yes Man does. It takes us on a trip of constant no’s to constant yes’s to somewhere in the middle.
I loved the main message behind Yes Man. I didn’t love everything in the movie.
That’s okay. We can still learn and grow from things we don’t agree with or like.
Today, we’re going to look at the leadership lessons in Yes Man. I hope you’re ready, man!
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Yes Man
1. Don’t be a jerk:
Norman (Rhys Darby) was Carl’s supervisor at the bank they both worked at. One day Norman went to Carl and asked if he remembered the promotion they had talked about.
This could have excited Carl. Then Norman dropped the bomb.
The promotion was no longer his. The promotion was going to Demko.
It’s a jerk move to toy with your employees. To string them along and make them think they have something good going… Only to rip it out from underneath them.
Make sure you’re not a jerk when you’re talking to your team. They will notice it, and they will respond in kind.
2. Nick (John Michael Higgins):
The word yes has changed my life.
Nick and Carl knew each other. They hadn’t seen each other for some time.
When they finally ran into each other again, Nick had a life transformation. He was living the life. He had climbed Kilamanjaro, killed a cow with a bazooka, and more.
His previously drab life had become exciting. All because of the word, yes.
Words can change our lives. We can live in a constant state of no.
- No, I won’t try something new
- No, I won’t give Bill a raise
- No, I won’t go to the party
- No, I won’t entertain that business idea
Let’s flip the switch on the word no. Let’s learn to say yes to more.
Carl, live your life. You won’t regret it.
Nick realized he wasn’t living life. He had been held back.
He saw the same thing in Carl. Carl turned down every opportunity. It was his way of life. It wasn’t a quality way of life.
What do you need to do to begin living your life? What do you need to do to begin leading well?
For Nick and Carl, it was a single word. For you, it may be different.
Find out how to live your life and lead well. Then start doing it.
4. Your missed commitments hurt:
Carl had told Pete (Bradley Cooper) he would be at the engagement party. You can guess what happened.
Carl, once again, missed out on a commitment and something to do. He missed the engagement party.
This hurt Pete. Pete was expecting Carl to be there; he was his best friend.
Your commitments matter. When you say you’re going to do something or be somewhere, do it or be there.
People expect you to live by your word. It’s how they know whether or not they can trust you.
5. Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp):
When you say yes to things, you embrace the possible.
Terrence Bundley was a Tony Robbins like personality. He put on a big show and changed the lives of people who began to live by his teaching.
His main teaching was to say YES to everything.
Yes became the open door to the possible. It helped people see yes is good. Yes makes things happen.
Are you willing to embrace the possible? Begin changing your outlook on life and how you answer requests.
Possible is just around the corner.
6. Saying yes makes those you care about happy:
Carl was always turning down invites. He finally accepted an invite to Norm’s Harry Potter costume party. The look on Norm’s face was ecstasy.
Hearing yes from his friend told him he was important. It meant that he mattered.
Your yes means other people matter too. It helps them to know you care and are willing to be there for them.
Say yes to your friends’ requests when it makes sense. Help your team see they’re important by saying yes to their requests.
7. Allison (Zooey Deschanel):
I know my band isn’t mainstream but I love doing it.
Allison was a woman Carl met after he ran out of gas the night of the Yes Conference. She was riding a Vespa scooter and was refueling at the local gas station.
She noticed he was filling a gas can. This led to her giving him a ride back to his car.
In addition to being kind, she was also a musician. She played in a funky band.
The band wasn’t popular and only drew in a handful of people. Still, she continued to play because she enjoyed it.
We’re often told we need to do productive things. Anything else is a waste of time.
I’ve grown so weary of hearing this.
We can do things that bring us great joy or pleasure. We can do things that are just for fun.
Find a hobby you love doing. Dive into it. Have fun!
8. Try new things:
Carl’s saying yes led him to approve really, really strange loans. These loans were small. They were to people you wouldn’t expect to get a loan.
Do you know what happened? People began to pay back the loans. The bank he worked at saw a huge payback rate.
The bank manager, Wes (Rocky Carroll), called for a meeting with Carl. Wes told Carl he wanted to open up the bank to more small loan opportunities because it had become extremely profitable.
What opportunities are you missing because you’re unwilling to try something new? You’re missing out on a lot.
Look for the strange opportunities in your business. See how you can integrate these opportunities into a profitable venture.
9. You don’t have to say yes to everything:
Carl believed he had to say yes to everything. He held the belief the universe would conspire against him if he didn’t.
After meeting with Terrence again, he learned the truth. You don’t have to say yes to everything. You only have to be open to saying yes.
This changed Carl’s life once more. He could pick and choose what to say yes to.
I know early on I mentioned the value in saying yes to everything. There’s value there.
You also have to be wise. You don’t have to become a complete yes man.
I want to encourage you to say yes more. But say yes to the good things.
10. Beware of the power difference:
Lee (Aaron Takahashi) was a male nurse. He felt less masculine because of this.
He decided to do something about it. He purchased a Ducati motorcycle.
Carl asked Lee if he could borrow the Ducati. He had riding experience after all… He did have experience riding the Vespa.
Lee told him this was a different beast. The Ducati had power. The Ducati and the Vespa were not the same.
As you move up the organizational ranks, you will realize there are different levels of power.
You may think you have everything handled because you were able to handle a beginning level leadership position. You move up to the next level and the position is completely different.
Each leadership position you hold will have different levels of power. Make sure you’re learning how to handle the power as you rise through the ranks.
The old Carl didn’t think he was enough for anybody. I thought if I said yes to things, and got involved with people, then sooner or later they’d find out I’m not enough. I didn’t think I had anything to share. But now I know that what I have to share is pretty huge, and I want to share it with you.
Carl struggled to say yes because he didn’t think much of himself. He thought he wasn’t important and no one cared.
He was wrong. His life was valuable. There was a point to his life. He mattered to people.
We all have a bit of the old Carl in us. We believe we’re not enough. We believe we don’t have anything to offer.
You’re wrong. You’re dead wrong.
You have much to offer this world. You only have to discover what it is that you have to offer.
Seek it out. You can pray, you can try new things, you can ask the people around you.
You will discover you have value to give. Give it. You are enough.
If you want to revisit Yes Man, you can purchase the Blu Ray on Amazon.