Lesson To Young Brokers: Say Yes

Scott Rosen is the leader of our gang. He is my cousin by marriage, brother by choice, the chairman of our tailgate, and one of my heroes because of who he is, what he has accomplished, and how he lives life.

Professionally, Scott is the Chief Operating Officer and President of Equinox Fitness Clubs, the world’s leading luxury gym. He joined Equinox in 2003 as the CFO and was quickly promoted by COO in 2005. He has led the company in a time of unmatched expansion and growth and has done so by being true to who he is. He works hard, leads by example, has fun, and is amazingly charitable. His team loves him and they love working with him.

Several years ago, Equinox was approached with an idea for a fundraiser to benefit Memorial Sloan Kettering. The idea was that people would come together and “spin” to raise money for research for rare cancers.

Scott said yes. That idea was Cycle for Survival.

Since then, Cycle for Survival has raised over $160m dollars to fight rare cancers with 100% of the money going to Memorial Sloan Kettering. Two years ago, Scott received an award from MSK when they passed the $100m mark. The only reason that I knew about it was because I saw the picture on MSK’s LinkedIn page. Scott didn’t want any fanfare. However, when I asked him about it, he said receiving the award was the single biggest highlight of his professional career and one of the proudest days of his life.

When we were watching the Super Bowl together last week, we were talking about Cycle for Survival and the impact it’s had. At one point, Scott looked at me, very seriously, and said…

“Can you imagine if I had said no?”

We both stood there and let the thought sink in for a second. Forget about the impact that Cycle for Survival has had to the Equinox brand, how many thousands of people have been through the clubs for the events, and the massive goodwill its created since inception. Think about the impact $160m has made for patients with rare cancers and their families and think about what will happen in the future as the event continues to grow each year.

This all happened because there was an idea, a vision, and a plan, and the right person, at the right time, said yes.

I am not saying that we should all say yes to every idea that we are presented with or that we should expect everyone to say yes to our ideas. What I am saying is that with an open mind, and in some cases like this, a big heart, amazing things can happen. Nothing great is ever accomplished by staying inside your comfort zone.

The next time someone asks you a question and your immediate reaction is to say no, consider the possibilities of what might happen if you say yes. It could be something big.