It’s not unusual to discover that people who are not using the full extent of their talent have a big BUT. Okay—bad joke, but it’s true. How many times have you expressed a deeply personal hope (I’d love to create a better “mousetrap,” I’d love to spend more time with my family, I’d love to have a closer relationship with my colleagues) and immediately negate that hope with all the reasons that you can’t do it.
- “I really want to suggest a new idea for improving communications around the office, BUT I’m sure my boss wouldn’t like it.”
- “I want to spend more time with my family, BUT I can’t if I’m going to have a shot at making Partner.”
- “I would love to go out with my team after work, BUT I don’t drink and they always go to a bar.”
Do those big BUTs sound familiar? Can you see how a big but may be blocking any possibility of you realizing your hopes? Many of our concerns may seem logical on the surface. However, they often signify subterranean limiting assumptions and beliefs we hold that we may not even be aware we possess.
It’s good to remember that concerns are the brain’s way of protecting us. Therefore, it can be very important to attend to those thoughts—AND there are two simple changes that can support you in addressing your concerns AND realizing your hopes:
- Get your big BUT out of the way and replace it with the word “AND.” Now instead of negating your hope, you are expressing both the hope and the concern with somewhat equal weight.
- Look for and examine the “absolute” words in your statement:
- I’m sure my boss wouldn’t like it.
- I can’t if I’m going to have a shot at making Partner.
- I don’t drink and they always go to a bar.
Are you really SURE? Is it really true that you CAN’T? Is it possible that you could enroll your colleagues in going to another kind of gathering place?
When you get your BUT out of the way, you may not immediately find solutions for every one of your concerns. What you will do is return to a place of possibility. Eliminating the interference that is preventing you from accessing and expressing your full talent creates an “everyone wins” situation for you, your organization, and the people in your workplace, family, and community.
Do you have a big BUT? If so, explore what happens when you get it out of the way.