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The Joy of Saying YES!!

Jean and her car

Come on, you know you want to do something. In my coaching practice, I see highly accomplished professionals from across a variety of industries—people who are capable of getting things done—stymied when it comes to doing something for themselves. Does that sound familiar to you? Why is it that you don’t follow Nike’s advice and just do it?

Just today, I saw a client who exemplifies one such reason many people face. Linda is a hugely successful entrepreneur in the financial services industry. She’s managed billions of dollars in assets for her clients. Yet, when it came to doing some homework to help advance her own personal and professional goals, she found herself resisting—until she caught herself in the act. At first, she saw this exercise as just another stress-inducing task that was taking her away from tackling her epic to-do list. But when she stopped to think about it, she said to herself, “Hey, this is for ME!” When she realized addressing her own well-being was deserving of topping the list, she was able to attack the project with genuine enthusiasm.

Still others don’t believe they deserve the object of their desire. Once again, it requires the effort to notice when you are saying no to yourself and to pay attention to why you are doing so. You can’t make any changes until you are aware of what you are doing. Once you see how your own thoughts or behaviors are standing in your way, you can make a different choice. One tendency I’ve observed is that many people feel like they have to eat their metaphorical vegetables before they have their dessert. My friend Jean was able to say “yes!” and fulfill a lifelong dream. Now she can be seen zipping around town and even speeding around a racetrack in her new sports car. She’s having a blast!

Finally, one of the thorniest issues people face is that they simply don’t know what they want. They may know they want to make a change, but don’t have a good way to evaluate the options in front of them. Sometimes, the considerations to be taken into account are so multi-faceted, it is hard to get a grip on which are most important and ultimately, what is the best choice. This was such a frequent problem for my coaching clients that I developed a tool to help organize their thoughts. It provides an objective way to assess some decidedly subjective considerations. If you are dealing with the need to make a decision factoring in considerations of both head and heart, take a look at my most recent HBR article, which presents this scorecard and a full description of how to employ it.

Now what are you waiting for? Just say YES!