If you want to reclaim the power in your life, then you must be willing to choose the words that will help you do so. Yes is the first word, but it’s the selection and use of the second word, that’s telling. Is your approach to life, “yes but”, or “yes and”? Yes but is how we create the objections and obstacles to keep us from trying, being or having the lives we want. Yes and, is how we come up with work-arounds to achieving our inner desires.

Think of it this way. If I asked you for one thing you’d like to try, and you said – running a 5 k. Is your next thought – but or and? But is the biggest and best excuse factory for not beginning. Excuses like – I don’t know how to train, I don’t know what shoes to buy, I don’t want to do it alone, I’m too old, my knees are bad and a dozen or more other reasons why you can’t.

Yes and goes like this. I’d like to run a 5 k– and I could ask at the local sports store if they know of any running clubs. And I could ask on social media, see if anyone I know or that someone else knows, how to start. And I could go to the library or look for a documentary.

Yes but, closes us down. It shuts down our imagination and our problem solving. Yes and, opens doors.

The power of “yes and” is the willingness to embrace uncertainty to the outcome

Recently I met a woman who told me about her journey of trying out digital photography. She began several years before her retirement, because she wanted to have something to potentially fill in that time. She started knowing nothing about it.

As she began to explore what could be done, she found out about digital compilations. Almost like a collage of tiny photographic elements put together to form a larger picture. Over her six -year journey, not only has she learned this technique, but she’s also become part of a select and global group of other photographers using this method.

There is no course, no school. It’s been a journey of connection and self teaching. Trial and error. Asking for help, reaching out, finding her community.

One of her most recent works has been selected for our local city art gallery to be shown for a year. The local university has also approached her about  teaching this technique.

She shared her achievements with me proudly.

This was her journey of taking an idea and seeing where it would lead her.

She is a mother and a wife and as she was approaching retirement, knew she wanted to pursue something within photography. She did it with gusto and has seen this blossom into an activity that gives her great satisfaction.

From her interest she has gained a passion and a new creative career. I don’t believe that was her intention starting out, but it is where she has arrived. She began with a Yes, and approach.

Yes but is a power killer and idea killer

If you want to kill your ideas, but is the answer. You create a run of thoughts that might go like this– “but I don’t know anything about photography, but I don’t have the right camera, but I live far away from a city, but what will my family say, but what if I buy a lot of stuff and then don’t like it?”

Yes but is the avenue of trying to have all the answers, have complete certainty and then talk ourselves out of it. Yes but is our default position, our comfort zone. If you’ve ever done endless research on something, or taken course after course, but never started, you are living in the “yes, but” zone. It’s important to call ourselves out on this and try on the alternative, “yes and”.

Yes and starts with – I wonder, and then, how do I find out.

Both begin in our minds and what we tell ourselves.

Reclaiming power by following through on our decisions

woman power

You’ve said yes – and. Then what? Action. When I became aware of my posture and how it didn’t reflect my internal state, I decided to head back to the gym. I knew that for both my current and future  well being –  I needed to get serious. Make a commitment.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been working with a trainer I hired to help me learn how to get my body in shape. To get strong, flexible and straight. This as part of my effort to create a strong body mind connection. Working with him is a testament to how I’ve developed the “yes, and” muscle.

Yesterday, he asked me if I would be willing to consider learning boxing. This is not an “exercise” I would have imagined on my own. However, I’m trying to build my upper body, strengthen my core. I thought – why not? Next week, he will show me how to tape my hands and we’ll begin.

I’m fortunate, because the initial decisions I made with “yes and” meant that once I realized I’d get further with a trainer, then a lot of my decision making is done. I don’t have to try and figure this out on my own. I am making use of his knowledge and expertise.

I am approaching it without expectation. I don’t know the moves, I don’t know how it will feel physically or mentally, so I am going to simply experience it.

Choosing your words and the permission to be beginners

The thing about trying on new ideas, especially with a sense of play, is that we give ourselves permission to be beginners. Whether this is a physical or mental endeavour. Want to go back to school? Worried you’re too old or not smart enough or it’s too hard? What if you just decided to have fun with it? Who knows who you might meet? What book you might read that will change how you think about the world or about yourself? Sure, put in the work, because to get better, that’s what we do. Then, remember to bring the fun into it.

Wherever you are in your life, whatever the circumstances you find yourself, check in and see which two words dominate your thoughts. Are you in the “yes,and” camp, or the “yes, but” camp? Choosing yes and, is an important part of your self leadership arsenal. You’re choosing what and how you show up and you’re building your resilience by adding to your stories of competence. Every time you follow through on “yes and” you’re reclaiming your power.

Not every effort will be successful, but every effort will be important, because you’ve allowed yourself the satisfaction of trying. If it doesn’t work out, then you will take that knowledge and apply it to your next adventure and be that much further ahead.

Why remain bound to old stories when you can Start Transforming Obstacles Into Opportunities For Personal and Professional Success, Today. 

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