You may be thinking, “Oh no! This sounds complex.” However, this is not going to be a deep philosophical debate. I learned this exercise while I was attending my coaching program at Georgetown University. Take out a piece of paper. In the left column, write By Saying Yes To… In the right column, write I am Saying No to…
Here are some samples from me and from one of my clients:
By Saying Yes to…. I am Saying No to…
Coaching Philip’s Basketball Team Free time on Tue, Thur, and Sat
Dinners with the rest of family
Missing an opportunity to connect with Philip
Leaving X Company Stability
Dead end job at X company
My frustrating boss
I love to do this activity with people I coach as it helps them go beyond just the pros and cons list. We rarely consider the opportunity costs of our Yeses. Instead, we just tend to say, “Yes” and then one of several things occurs: we break commitments, we miss deadlines, we become overwhelmed, we resent that we said yes to the person, etc. I think this exercise helps leaders start to clarify what they really want to be working on and what are their top priorities.
I was coaching a CEO recently who was overwhelmed and who could not remember when she last had fun. When I asked her to do this exercise, I began to see that she kept stacking more and more on her plate. This helped her understand that she needed to be more intentional in what she said yes to and what the consequences of her Yeses were.
This exercise helps people become more mindful. Mindfulness is a buzz work right now and so let me provide a definition for you:
Mindfulness = Awareness + Intention
Scott Eblin shared this formula in his outstanding book, Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative. Thus, we first have to become aware of our challenges and then take intentional actions.
I am curious about:
· What intentions do you have?
· How do you honor them?
Scott gives lots of ideas and I highly recommend the book. If you want to learn about how to use this content in your workplace or life, please reach out to me.
Thanks and create a great day!