Abandon “Sure” — Find Your “100% Yes”

Editor’s Note: This is a repost of a LinkedIn post by Adam Lupu, Andela’s new VP of Learning. Formerly the Head of R&D at Udemy and the Curriculum Director at Udacity, Lupu will help Andela scale its talent development program. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the team!

Adam with some Andela developers & staff at The Dojo, Andela’s Nairobi HQ.

So many of us say “yes,” when we really mean “sure.”

Do you want fries with that? “Sure.” You want to grab coffee and catch up sometime? “Sure.” Netflix and chill? “Sure.”

I even see many people saying “sure” to some of the biggest decisions in life. New job? “Sure.” Get married? “Sure.” Have kids? “Sure.”

Is this what any of us are here to do? Simply say “sure?”

What’s the alternative to “sure?” There are several… “Absolutely YES!” “100% YES.” “YES with all my heart, yes, yes, yes.”

When’s the last time you were that kind of “yes” to something? What would it look like if that’s the only “yes” you ever used? What would it look like to abandon “sure” in favor of either saying “no” or exclaiming “100% YES!”

Right now, I’m writing this on a plane. I’m on a one-way to JFK, moving to New York for the first time. I’m flying away from many friends and close family, as well as beautiful spaces, places, and a crazy, charming vibe in San Francisco. I’m landing in a city full of frenetic hustle that I’ve never really gotten used to, but I’m completely, utterly, and totally 100% yes to this.


Because last year, a dear friend and an incredible business/life coach of mine helped me articulate my reason for being on this planet: I’m here to accelerate the distribution of human expertise. Now, I’ve found a place where my life’s purpose and a company’s mission are aligned.

I’m moving to New York because of a startup called Andela and because of its big dreams to distribute opportunity across Africa while changing the way technology expertise is delivered around the world.

The world is tiny. I should know, I started my career as an astrophysicist and an earth science teacher. I’ve calculated the age of the universe, and I’ve dug up a fossil to determine how long ago it surrendered itself to the curiosity of its ancestors. In the grand scheme, the world is small, and we are only around for a few moments of cosmic time.

So when Jeremy Johnson, CEO of Andela, asked me to spend some of my brief time on this tiny planet helping him impact its future, I seriously considered whether this was the most valuable use of my few moments. I didn’t want to just give him a “sure.” Turns out, I didn’t have to.

My answer, the only answer: “Abso-frickin-lutely, 100%, no-doubt, YES!”

Andela is making an impact. In the last two years, Jeremy, Christina, Iyinoluwa, Ian, Nad, Brice, and hundreds of others have been making Andela a place to learn, a place to grow, and a place to be excellent at technical work like software development. They are finding top talent in regions of Africa that typically don’t get a lot of tech attention. They are changing what’s possible for collaborative, distributed, software teams. They are accelerating the distribution of opportunity for Africa’s best and brightest, and they are taking the headache out of finding and growing great technology teams in the US and Europe. In short, Andela is matching great people to great work all over the world.

I’ve spent the last two years learning from some wonderful people in startups like Udacity, Udemy, and Learners Guild. Now I’m getting the opportunity to make daily learning part of the beating heart of a globally impactful company. I am helping to build Andela’s expertise distribution engine, and I couldn’t be happier.

This is my 100% yes.

What’s yours?