Making good things happen at work

The phrase, “Just say no,” was worth a try for drug prevention, but doesn’t work as a philosophy to follow when it comes to living a good life and succeeding in business. And although in today’s busy and hectic world it actually seems much easier to say no, when we do, we miss out on incredible opportunities.“Begin with Yes” is more than the name of my recently released book and this new column. It is a strategy that can be applied in the workplace to set things in motion, open new doors and provide for powerful change.A long time ago, I made a decision to discover and pursue those wonderful opportunities and live my life with a “Begin with Yes” attitude. I’ve always been an optimistic guy, but had never fully understood the power of optimism nor been able to translate it into actions that moved me through difficult times or opened doors that would allow me to achieve my many dreams. In fact, when “Begin with Yes” really began to click for me, it was during a professional and personal dry spell. I was moving toward some difficult and significant personal life changes and was also in a long-term job that had once been exciting and fun, but was now a “holding place” where I was underperforming and underappreciated.It dawned on me that some significant changes were needed, and eventually I realized that if things were going to shift, I was the one that needed to do the shifting. This insight led to a few very deliberate shifts in my perspective and attitude, which dramatically and positively changed my personal and professional life in ways I never imagined possible. I have seen these same kinds of positive shifts happen time and again for all kinds of people.Beginning a journeyOne of my favorite “Begin with Yes” stories is about my friend, Broadway composer Mark Schoenfeld. At 57, he was virtually homeless with no show business experience or connections, and not a dime in his bank account. All he had was a boom box with some beautiful songs he had written and a remarkable story that he believed was destined to be a Broadway musical. I’ll admit that at first I thought Mark’s belief that he’d get this show to Broadway was incredibly naïve or worse. But guess what? He proved me and everyone else wrong when “Brooklyn the Musical” opened on Broadway.Want to know how he made that happen? He kept looking for “yes” opportunities. Mark lived, slept and breathed his passion and stayed with it until he convinced many others to not only believe in his story, but to invest financially and artistically in a dream that just had to come true. Mark’s story is dramatic, but I know “Begin with Yes” works for all kinds of people in all kinds of situations – new college graduates or those recently laid off looking for work or wanting to change directions, CEOs hoping to improve morale at their workplace and entrepreneurs who have a great idea and don’t know what to do with it.My point is that “Begin with Yes” will work for everyone, but most importantly, it will work for you.If you’ve ever learned to play a musical instrument, you have a sense for what’s ahead. Most of us couldn’t sit down and play Beethoven’s 5th without instruction, practice and written music. It’s like that with life. “Begin with Yes” is a journey that will help you learn how to play your life, like a concert pianist plays a beautiful musical piece.I look forward to sharing the stories of how the “Begin with Yes” approach has helped other people and businesses and to providing practical ways to incorporate “Begin with Yes” in your own life and career. Paul Boynton, president and chief executive of Moore Center Services, Manchester, also is a personal coach, corporate consultant, motivational speaker, host of the television show “Begin with Yes” and author of the book by the same name. He can be reached at