Celebrate the Little Yes
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” (Luke 16:10 NLT)
For 19 years, I made a living selling forklifts and pallet rack. When I started, I was newly married, 26 years old with 2 years of outside sales experience and no idea what I was doing. For months they paid me to sit in an office, study manuals and learn all the specifications of the different types of forklifts we sold. About once a week, one of the owners would drag me and 2 other trainees into our conference room to teach us about the different types of pallet rack. On our best days in training, one of the senior sales guys would grab us and take us to see a customer’s application. The time with the sales guy, seeing what we were studying in action, made a world of difference in our grasp of the industry.
Finally, the day came when we were assigned our territories and cut loose to chase deals in the field. For all my training and previous experience as a sales guy, I confess I was terrified to go see customers. There was so much information, so many ways I could make a mistake. For the first year or so, I had knots in my stomach every time I made a cold call. When I finally began to sell products, I rarely gave myself much credit for closing a small deal. Aspiring to be like the more tenured guys in our office, I was seeking “big deals”. One of those senior guys became a close friend of mine. Eventually, he became my boss. His greatest trait as my sales manager was how he celebrated my deals, no matter how small or large. He was genuinely more excited about each deal than I was. The owner of our company told him years before, “Every time a new customer gives you an order, it is a company saying yes to you…so, celebrate the yes!” My friend took us out for an ice cream cone, every time we made a sale to a new customer, regardless the size of the deal. And you know, learning to celebrate the little yes made us much better salesmen.
As a parent, mentor, teacher or coach – the same thing applies. It’s tempting to forget the process it took us to be where are today and expect finished results from those we’re leading. We can’t forget all the little choices we made to get where we are, and how patient The LORD was with us.
We need to rejoice in every little step. Every step someone takes toward CHRIST is a yes to JESUS. Celebrate every yes! It works. My friend Brian Hannas coached Everman High to a 3A state championship in basketball. When Brian arrived, his team wasn’t even close to competing at that level. He put in a new system, which called for his players to play with discipline. His players were frustrated, but Brian and his coaches kept reinforcing the new way. He routinely told his coaches; “every time we catch one of our guys doing something right, we’re gonna praise the heck out of ‘em.” They would stop practice and make a huge deal out of little things the players did right.
Staggering, life-changing faith is the sum of a bunch of little yesses. Who looks up to you? Who are you leading? Who in your office, home or on the field needs you to stop chasing the big dream for a minute, so you can celebrate a little yes in their life? Imagine the impact if you stop, take them out for an ice cream cone and tell them how proud you are of what they did, no matter how small the step. There’s really nothing bigger than that!