Little Word BIG Impact

When you learn something new, when you stretch yourself outside of your normal operating system why would you expect to know everything?  The point of it being new is just that…it’s new to you.

When Nancy and I worked together recently about her talking on a new role and putting herself forward, one of her BIG blocks was “But I don’t know how to do X, Y or Z.”  The fact she was being encouraged to put herself forward was lost on her, as was the evidence of ALL that she did know.  All her experience, wisdom, skillset and knowledge.

It’s easy (and sometimes kind of convenient) to forget all that we do know for the safety and comfort of staying where we are.

What I’ve found in my own stretches into different skills I need to develop is the magic word “Yet”.  

  • I don’t know how to do that yet
  • It’s not clear to me yet
  • I’ve not done that yet
  • I haven’t learned that yet
  • It’s difficult and yet...

You get the gist.  Yet.  It implies possibility, it gives you (and crucially your listener/reader) the sense that you’re up for the challenge, that it’s something you’ll handle, it’s something you can and will learn.  It shows you have a “growth mindset”.  Now more than ever, being open, being flexible, being creative about what you can/can’t do “yet” separates you from those who just say “No, too hard”…

If you want to find out more about the power of Yet, take a look at the work of Carole Dweck.  

Nancy went for the role.  She hadn’t influenced as Legal Counsel at the level required before (yet) and – as she got to grips with the role – she told me recently that she’d saved the organisation nearly £9,000,000 in her first year by consistently, insistently and influentially negotiating the repayment of a ‘bad debt’ which was going to be written off.  She hadn’t done that ‘yet’ when she first started.  She has now.

So let’s ask you!

  • What haven’t you done ‘yet’ which you know you want to?
  • How could it be easier if you used the word ‘yet’?
  • Who needs to know you’re up for a challenge and a stretch?
  • When will you put it into action?

I hadn’t ever played the drums live before I did (in my early 50s) for the first time.  I told myself the same thing “I haven’t done that yet but I’m going to“.  I loved it.  I got lost and played wrong fills at one point, shook my head in frustration and everyone thought I was so into it I was shaking my head and hair in true rock-drummer style!  I hadn’t done it yet, at the time.  I have now.  Over to you…

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