“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
― The Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Just two weeks into the new year, I somehow already felt like I was behind, even though I had been running as fast as I could.
But maybe not so crazy. Perhaps you can relate.
I have some large goals for 2024 (if you watched the “Say ‘Yes, And!’ to Yourself” webinar you know a bit about this. And if you missed it you can still watch the replay).
To achieve these goals I created a list of things I wanted to get done each week. And I appear to have been, shall we say, ambitious about how much I thought I could get done. At least, that’s the nice term. Another might be “stupidly over-optimistic.”
Three issues immediately arose:
- I definitely overestimated what I could accomplish each day and week and always had incomplete items on my list. Evidently my superhero alter ego is not Cram48HoursInto24-Man
- I did not account for psychology. Specifically, I did not set myself up for success in terms of picking tasks that aligned with my personal work style (watch the webinar replay to learn more about this).
- Dings happened - There were a number of days where my schedule got thrown off because of some unforeseen issue. Like the first snow day in over 700 days at my kids’ school. Grrr…Back in my day we used to shovel our way to the school. With our bare hands. Sometimes with a bear's hands. That we had to catch and best in physical combat ourselves!
Each week I would look at my task list and think, “there is so much I didn't get done!” I began feeling like a failure; sad, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
This, in turn, made me want to give up. Which would obviously be a great way to make sure I didn’t achieve anything.
That was me saying “yes, but.”
- “Yes, but” I should be able to get myself to do these things.
- “Yes, but” I should be able to get it all done.
- “Yes, but” it's not my fault! If these ding moments hadn't happened I would be just fine.
- “Yes, but,” “yes, but,” “yes, but.”
Then I remembered what a speaker friend once told me: “we teach what we most need to learn.” This felt truer than ever!
And since I do teach this stuff, I knew exactly what to do to turn it around - follow my own advice about “analyzing and adjusting.” If you find the “yes, but” path the least bit relatable, I encourage you to join me in making the switch to a “Yes, And” mindset!
You can do this in three simple ways:
- Focus on Fewer - Instead of saying “yes, but here are all the things I should and could do,” say, “yes, and here are the few things I will do.” It is far better to get some important things done and to build positive energy and momentum, than to beat yourself up over all the things you're not doing.
- Look Backward - Instead of looking forward and saying, “yes, but look at all this I still have to do,” look backward and say, “yes, and look at all I have already accomplished.” Dan Sullivan, a coach and writer whom I greatly admire, calls this ”The Gap and the Gain.” Most people spend so long focused on the gap, the space between where they are and where they want to be, they get frustrated and overwhelmed. But when you focus on the gain, the space between where you were and where you are, you realize you are making progress and it builds up positive energy.
- Be Kind to Yourself - This is especially necessary when things go wrong. What's the old saying? “Man plans while God laughs.” You could have the best plan, but then you get a call from school that you need to pick your child up because they are sick. Or inclement weather knocks out your internet service. Or you get an urgent email and you suddenly realize there's a whole new series of tasks you need to do now. Ding Happens. Accept it, be kind to yourself, and move on. Instead of getting upset about what you were supposed to be doing, be proud of yourself for taking care of what you need to.
These are the three things I'm going to focus on as I move forward to keep me on track to achieve my 2024 goals.
If you find this helpful, let me know. If you don't find this helpful, please still let me know so I can create more relevant content to help you say “Yes, And” to yourself in 2024!