In my last post, Do you need a new identity?, I referred to the ‘saying yes/saying no’ technique. Since then, I’ve had a few people ask me to elaborate on that.
It’s a technique I use extensively in my own work and life and one I’ve introduced to most of my coaching clients. It’s this one simple question:
If I say yes to this, what do I need to say no to?
(Please note that I said the question is simple: that doesn’t guarantee a simple answer!)
Every time a new opportunity – a new project, a course, a work offer, a relocation, an invitation – comes across your path, you use this technique to help you weigh it up and decide how it fits into your priorities.
Here’s an example:
Your boss would like you to become part of a cross-company working group that isn’t directly related to your role.
You find out more about what it involves. You’d really like to do it and feel it would usefully raise your profile and you feel you could make a useful contribution. The group meets in another city once every six weeks for a full day meeting and there’s some follow-up work between sessions. Your workload is pretty heavy at the moment and you can’t add this extra activity without it having an impact on your other projects.
If you say yes to joining the working group, what do you need to say no to?
As you look over your current priority list, you see that you’d have to say no to chairing another project group within your division. What would that mean? It could mean that your deputy has the opportunity to step into your shoes, thus raising his own profile and giving him a chance for some professional development. It could mean that another department within the group could take over chairing it, bringing a fresh perspective to the group. Either of these options could lead you to decide to say yes to this opportunity.
On the other hand, it could mean that you lose your influence over a group which has a significant impact on the work of you and your team. In that case, you may decide that you have to explain to your boss why you are regretfully declining the invitation.
Asking yourself ‘if I say yes to this, what do I need to say no to?’ will help you evaluate new opportunities and see how they fit into your current activities whilst avoiding overloading yourself.
Today’s pebble for you to consider:
if you say yes to (insert opportunity/invitation/challenge of your choice here), what do you need to say no to?
What do you think?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
If you’d like to take action and create positive change in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?