The "Hell Yes!" Approach To Better, Bolder Decision Making

Over the past few years, I've worked with and interviewed hundreds of CEOs, authors, entrepreneurs, and creatives. One key factor that separates inspiring and successful leaders from those who are trying to make it is decisiveness. 

Last year, when I was working with Seth Godin to build The Domino Project, he constantly pushed our team to make more decisions. His theory was that it didn't always have to be the perfect or right decision so long as we took the risk and decided.

As part of Seth's publishing experiment, I began working with Derek Sivers to edit, publish, and market his book. Through this experience, I become intimately familiar with his "Hell Yeah" approach to decision making. It's stuck with me since and has proved to be a productive go-to framework for making things happen. 

Here's how it works: For every opportunity that comes your way—be it a new business initiative, event, partnership deal, or hiring decision—ask yourself, "Do I want to ______?"

Most often, you'll intuitively respond in one of three ways:

1) "HELL YES!!!!! Abso-freaking-lutely! No question! YESSSSSS." When this happens, you should do it. Right now.

2) "Yeah... This makes sense. I can see this working. Yes." When this happens, you should table it for now and revisit it later. Or never.

3) "Maybe. That could be cool. That might work." When this happens, you should walk the fuck away. Mediocre is not good enough.

The difference between the aspiring entrepreneur and the one who's building a forward-thinking multi-million dollar business lies in the ability to say "HELL YES" or "HELL NO." Quickly. There is no yes. There is no maybe. 

"Hell yes or NO." Those four words will change the trajectory of your work and life. 

[Image: Flickr user Doug McNeall]

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  • viVA La PA

    Decision making the smart way - uncomplicated, immediate, obvious answer to your question.  It  naturally flows into my planning for 'worst case scenarios strategy if I make this choice'.  Good post.

  • Eoin the Copywriter

    Hell Yes! Good post. I find that tackling all projects with a 'hell yes' attitude makes the crappy ones a bit better too.

  • Alexandra Sheach

    Yes, Yes, Yes!

    Those who can make fast, firm and confident decisions are, in my experience, also the ones able to formulate a smart back-up plan should it be needed!

  • Michael Martel

    It's all about commitment. Hell yes, gets you to a committed state where you will do what it takes to get it accomplished.  Without that commitment, it is only half hearted effort.

  • Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

    The Hell Yes rule has been incredibly useful to me in running my business and my life. So useful, in fact, that I wrote a book about it. 

    "Hell Yes: Two Little Words for a Simpler, Happier Life" available on Amazon at

  • Michael Stafford

    Couldn't agree more. The only thing worse than a wrong decision is not deciding full stop. You're just sitting in limbo. It's better to try and fail than to never try at all.

  • Rob Day

    Reminds me of my favorite quote to live by:

    "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." -Theodore Roosevelt