“The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the buts you use today” ~Les Brown
How Successful People Think (Part 1): The Secret Reframe that Creates Results in Life
Nothing kills great ideas, limits possibilities or destroys creativity like a big, fat excuse. There are a thousand different ways to make excuses for what is happening or not happening in our lives.
A powerful way to become aware of when your excuses may be blocking opportunities is to listen to your language.
Don’t zap a great idea with a, “Yes, but….” You might as well say “No.”
It’s not just about semantics. “Yes, but” literally puts the brakes on our brain’s ability to think– crushing our sense of hope and ability to innovate. In a group or team the impact of this can be devastating.
I am working with an entrepreneur who has had the windfall of some land in Hawaii. He has a dream of starting a retreat center. “Yes, it’s a great idea,” he tells me, “but we don’t have the money to get started or any investors to fund a start-up.”
While this clearly is true, how could he shift his thinking from this dead-end?
A quick and simple way that you can turn around this “But” thinking is to reframe it. When you start to think “But….” And all the reasons and excuses that something may not happen for you simply replace “But…” with “And….”
“Yes, it’s a great idea, and, we could start small. Guests could camp out on the site, we could create simple and low-cost tent-like buildings for group activities, guests could help build the center in exchange for their tuition…” All of sudden, it feels like there are lots of ways that my client can get started while he is raising the capital he needs.
And is powerful. And unites opposites, opens up opportunity, creates possibilities that weren’t evident before. Couple and with yes, and you have a winning combination.
This type of “And…” thinking opens up possibility into our lives and also promotes a growth mindset. According to research done by Carol Dweck at Stanford University the most talented and successful people as well as companies have developed this type of growth mindset; one that believes that talent and success is not fixed but can be developed through focus and dedication. In other words, you don’t give into excuses about “the way things are” but instead find creative ways to achieve successful results. You can read more about the growth mindset in this interview in The Harvard Business Review.
To put this success mindset and language to work, start to replace “But…..” with “Yes, and….”
Yes, and opens up possibility. For example…..
Yes, I wake up many mornings with ideas for new inventions, but I’m an accountant. I can’t quit my job.
Yes, I have lots of ideas for inventions, and as an accountant I’ve handled my money well and next month I’m going to take some time off to build a prototype of my most promising idea.
Can you think of a “But….” That is running in your life? How can you transform that excuse into a positive “Yes, and….” Statement? Share your statement with us below.
And stay tuned for my next blog where I will continue this conversation on successful thinking and explore how it can invite more cooperation and encourage creativity in life and at work.
Wishing you great success and brilliant results today!
Dr. Lynn K. Jones
P.S. Use this image to remind you to get rid of your “buts”!
Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Board Certified Coach and an Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach based in Santa Barbara, California and a sought after coach and consultant for organizations and individuals across the US. Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values using a process of Appreciative Inquiry. She coaches individuals on achieving their reflected best selves. A MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment and Leadership to social work students at the University of Southern California.