Nothing zaps a great idea faster than “Yes, but...” You might as well say “No”. In fact, “Yes, but..” may be the number one phrase for killing personal hope, putting great ideas on ice and threatening innovation in organizations.
Take Joan, for example. Joan is a senior manager in the real estate division of a large financial services company when she learns of an open position in the company’s prestigious new-product research team.
Joan is excited to apply for the position—initially, then during a conversation with a friend, she says, “Yeah, I’d be great for that team, but you have to know someone to get named.” After the call, she finds herself increasingly discouraged. Will she get the position? At this rate, she won’t even apply. Some examples of “yes, but…” are:
1) Yes, I wake up many mornings with ideas for new inventions, but I’m an accountant. I can’t quit my job.
2) Yes, I’d love to telecommute, but my boss doesn’t trust anyone and would never go for it.
3) Yeah, I’d love to live here, but you have to be rich to buy a house in this market.
The word “and “is powerful. “And” unites opposites, opens up opportunity, and creates possibilities that weren’t evident before. Couple “and” with “yes”, and you have a winning combination. Here’s why:
1) “Yes, and…” opens up possibility. Yes, I have lots of ideas for inventions, and as an accountant I’ve handled my money well.
2) “Yes, and…” invites cooperation. Yes, I’d love to work from home, and I’ll develop a proposal showing him the benefits of telecommuting and suggest that we try it for a month.
3) “Yes, and…” encourages creativity. Yeah, I want to live here, and the market is challenging. So I’m seeking unconventional opportunities as I improve my finances.
Try it on. Every time you hear yourself say, “Yes, but,” change it to “yes, and.” In that moment, you’re breaking the habit of closed thinking. The more you do it, the more open your thinking will become. As with any habit, it takes time to break. And it’s worth it.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Wallette V. McCall is an author, speaker, and life coach for women in life transition. Wallette publishes the “Breakthrough to Change” monthly Ezine on how to thrive in the midst of change at: www.AnotherLevelCoaching.com