Monday, June 30, 2014

Turn "Yeah, but" On Its Head

Ever have one of those "Yeah, but" conversations? Your friend has lost her job. Being the supportive friend that you are, you say:

             "Hey, you’ve got tons of skills. All you need to do is revamp your resume, and you’ll be hired in no time."
            "Yeah, but the economy sucks. It’s gonna take forever!"
            "No it won’t - you’ve got personality and smarts on top of skills."
            "Yeah, but what if that’s not enough? You hear stories all the time of qualified people who beat the pavement for years and years."
            "Those are just urban legends. People like you, with all you’ve got going for you, you’ll find an even better job in no time."
            "Yeah, but what if I don’t? How am I gonna pay the rent?!"
            "Well, I’ll help. And so will the rest of your friends, you’ll be OK. It’s just a transition time."
            "Yeah, but . . ."
It’s a conversation with no end. Your friend has now driven herself even deeper into her depression/fear/anxiety hole, and you’re increasingly frustrated, since all your good will and good ideas are met with "Yeah, but."

You may or may not eventually get through your friend’s "Yeah, buts"--but one thing is for sure; you can get through your own "Yeah, buts" with a slight change in focus.

Oh, you thought this was going to be about your friend? Sorry. That was just an easier way to ease you into remembering all the times you’ve allowed the "Yeah, buts" to destroy your confidence, dreams, hopes and desires.

Because that is precisely what negative "Yeah, buts" do.

You have a dream of having your own business. Maybe on the Internet. Your internal dialogue goes something like this:
            "I’d love to create a fantastic app/clothing/game - my own business."
            "Yeah, but, who are you to do something like that? People way smarter than you are failing at that one every day."
            "I know, but maybe I could. I mean, Steve Jobs started in a garage."
(Huge peals of laughter from the committee in your head.)
            "Yeah, uh-huh, you are soooo like Steve Jobs."

So turn the tables on the negative "Yeah, buts"!
            "I’d love to create a fantastic app/clothing/game--my own business."
            "Yeah, but, who are you to do something like that? People way smarter than you are failing at that one every day."
            "Yeah, lots of people fail, but lots of people succeed too. I could be one of those."
            "Yeah, but, you hardly have the smarts to do that."
            "Yeah, maybe there are other people smarter, but smarts aren’t everything. I’ve got perseverance and passion in spades! I really want this and that counts for at least as much as smarts."

Get the drift? Instead of killing your hopes and dreams with negative "Yeah, buts" nurture and support them with positive "Yeah, buts."

If certain people had let the negative "Yeah, buts" run their lives, man would never have made it to the moon, nor Steve Jobs out of his garage. Why should you?

Monday, June 2, 2014

What I Learned From Yucky Fish

We’re great at giving our very best in the hard moments, the crises. We pull out all the stops to save a loved one’s life, rescue a child from a burning building, salvage our marriages on the brink of divorce. We are truly, then, the shining example of what a human being is capable of.

But what about in the more mundane moments? The day to day. How often are we giving our very best at those times?

I was at dinner with my sister and brother-in-law recently - their treat. The conversation was pleasant, the restaurant very nice, yet most of my focus was on the dry, unappetizing fish entree I was politely eating.

It wasn’t until later that evening, as I was driving home, that I realized I hadn’t given my best to the evening. I hadn’t even given a quarter of my best to the evening! Instead, I’d given far too much of my attention to the three square inches of poorly prepared, overcooked halibut on my plate.

What a waste! I’m not saying I should have fallen in love with yucky fish. I am saying that there was so much more to that evening, and had I been giving my very best, I would have shined on my dislike of the fish dish (it’s not like I’m starving, nor that it was my last meal), chalked it up to “not gonna order that again” and turned my focus and attention to all that was there to enjoy and appreciate; my sister and brother-in-law, the pleasure of being together, the nice restaurant atmosphere, etc.

When we give of our very best, we appreciate. We love. We care. We value what matters, versus indulging the piddling little complaints that eke away our happiness.

Don’t wait for life-threatening events to hit before you rise to your very best. Give of your very best, as often as you can, throughout your day; at work, with your family, your friends, your hobbies, with yourself.

The more we give of our very best, moment to moment, the richer, happier and better our lives become. And then yucky fish hardly matters at all. . .