“Even if it's a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means that you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference in your life, and likely in others' lives as well.”Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO
There is a concept in improv acting where you say “yes, and…”to everything the person you are interacting with says or does. You're not necessarily saying “yes,” but agreeing to move in the direction of the interaction. If the other person says something like, “Wow, you're not really that smart.” You might say, “Not really, probably bad genetics, but at least I'm pretty.”
You just go with it. You keep the flow and the rhythm of the conversation going.
It is a hard skill to master but one that I think we all should learn, especially when it comes to personal development.
Too often, we get caught up in our own ego and stuck in own way of thinking of things. In the past, if someone said something I disagreed with, instead of asking for more information or looking at it a different way, I would usually resist against what they were saying.
If it was feedback about something I was doing, then I would really resist.
This hurt my personal and professional development.
For me, it's insecurity. Like many people, I don't want to be wrong. I think it's also a defense mechanism, and allows me to have an excuse to resist change.
I see this a lot in the fitness industry.
When introduced to some new information or a new way of possibly doing things, there is always a crowd of naysayers and resistors.
I remember when semi-private training was first becoming popular, I would say, “That's great but my clients will never go for it.”
That's ridiculous! I hadn't even looked into how it would be done. I made assumptions that it was like large group training and the two are totally different. I didn't want to do the hard work involved in the change.
I hadn't even asked my clients yet. The answer to every unasked question is always NO!
It happens with a lot of fitness certifications and courses as well. Some trainers will complain that the people behind the course and certification are just in it for the money or that you don't need another certification or even that the concepts in this new certification or course don't work.
They say this without even researching what is in the course or even attending.
Why not say “yes, and…” to find out more about it or attend the course instead of resisting it?
Communicate with the people behind the course and find out more. Do some research, ask around in your network and talk to people who have attended or taken the course.
The worst that can happen is you learn a few things.
I'm not saying you need to say yes to everything that comes your way.
That would be insane and too often, we get caught up doing too many things. I'm certainly guilty of that. You have to make sure the new things you say yes to are the right fit for you.
I love the saying “For everything you say yes to, you're saying no to something else.” Saying yes to new project might mean saying no to family time.
Stay focused on the things that are most important to you. It's something I struggle with and currently need to work on myself.
Also, I don't expect you to say yes to every coach or guru or new course that comes along. I just want to remind you to do your due diligence and be open-minded.
The Power of Yes
I had a morning routine that I loved. It really set me up for the day but I really wasn't getting as much done as I could have. I got up at 5:00, took a cold shower and walked to work listening to a book.
I arrived at work at 5:30.
5:30: read from a Gratitude List that I have about everything in my life I'm grateful for
5:35: 10 minute brisk walk on the treadmill, listening to a book
5:45: 10 minutes stretching and reading passages from The Daily Stoic and 365 Tao
5:55: Make coffee
6:00: read for 30 minutes
6:30: Workday startup (answer emails, go over my Big 3 tasks and my schedule, StrengthCoach.com social media and tasks)
7-8:30: Undistracted “Deep Work”
It thought it worked well but sometimes (too often) by the time I'd get to the Deep Work part, I would drift. The problem is that the work being done at that time is the most important, so if I'm drifting, my most important work is not getting done.
Enter Craig Ballantyne.
Getting up much earlier was a product of reading Craig's book, The Perfect Day Formula. It changed my life. I get so much more done when no one is around in the morning. It's the best time for me to get things done, what Craig calls “Magic Time.”
Except I didn't agree with everything Craig was writing about. He says we should work on our most importing tasks first thing after we wake up. Literally, right away. He gets up at 4am and starts writing.
I don't like that. That can't work for me, I'm not ready for that so early, and I need to ease into it. I want to get moving, set things up, and get the blood flowing and the caffeine going. I want to knock off a few things on my to-do list.
Sound familiar? Michael Hyatt would say those are limiting beliefs that I need to turn into “liberating truths.”
When I looked at my productivity; I wasn't getting my most important things done.
Last week, I listened to The Perfect Day Formula once more.
There he was again, telling me I need to skip my walk, stretching, coffee and reading until I do my most important things first. Craig said to follow what Brian Tracy advises and “Eat that frog” as soon as you get up.
What's wrong with this guy? He doesn't even know me that well, why is he telling me to do something that won't work for me? (More limiting beliefs)
I caught myself and decided to say “yes, and…” to what Craig was telling me. I have to give it a shot, just go with it and see where it takes me.
I have been waking up earlier (4-4:30), and I still take a cold shower and walk to work to get there around 5:00.
Except instead of that whole routine I outlined earlier, I just read the Gratitude List, shut the door to my office and get to work on my most important task: editing the interviews for my upcoming book on Success in the Fitness Industry. I want to get this book done and into the hands of fitness professionals as soon as I can and it's a lot of work.
Wow. Why did I resist this? Why didn't I just try it?
When I left the work on the book for later in the day, I just didn't get it done.
I can't tell you the progress I have made on the book since I moved the deep work to first thing. It's incredible.
After I finish that first block of deep, undistracted work, I am on fire. It's like I had 2 coffees!
It reminded me of something Alwyn Cosgrove told me about semi-private training a long time ago: “I didn't say it was easier, I said it was better.”
Getting right into my most important work for the first 60-90 minutes in the morning is not easy. I want to check my email. I want to go on social media. I want to get to the easy things on my to-do list and knock a few off. I want to read.
But those things won't help me move my life forward and help me achieve the big goals I am attacking.
Getting up even earlier, keeping the phone in the other room and bearing down on the work that is most important to move me forward is not easy, but it's clearly better.
I wish I had said “yes, and…” to this sooner.
Saying Yes to Coaching
Getting coaching was another thing that I resisted in the past. I have access to some of the best minds in the business, and I don't have a gym anymore so why would I need a coach?
There are plenty of books, webinars and online courses. I can do it myself. (here we go again…)
But I found myself drifting and I needed some direction, some feedback and most of all, accountability.
Last year, I started working in Michael Hyatt's“Best Year Ever” program last year and it got me on track and it's been incredible. I got a chance to really see the value of coaching and accountability.
Recently, I interviewed Craig for my book and I had him on a podcast. He is having a few his Perfect Life Workshops in New York this week, so he called me to see if I was interested in attending.
A lot of the resistant voices in my head were there again.
Do I need another coach? I have my own way of doing things. It's not for me…
I really thought about it and I decided to just do it, say “yes, and…” and go all in.
For “homework”, Craig had me answer a bunch of questions about my life, my goals, my business, etc.
I sent it to him and he sent me some feedback the next day. He gave me some “harsh truths” about my current situation. He told me things that I would normally be resistant to. He said a few things that, in the past, I would have pushed back against.
I'm not approaching it that way though. I'm going to say yes to the things he is helping me with, even though some of the things will be hard to do.
Even though some of the things I might not agree with.
Even though some of the things might not make sense right away.
I'm still going to ask questions and make sure Craig has all of the facts so he can make an informed decision, but I am going in with a much more open mind then I would have in the past.
I asked him for his help, why would I not try to do what he's telling me?
Do yourself a favor and start reframing your mindset to say “yes, and…”
It's not always easy, but I can guarantee it will be better.
Do you feel like your drifting? Like you haven't reached your potential?
Let me help you. I have started my own coaching program, where we work to help you find Clarity about what's important to you and what you want your life to look like.
We make an Action Plan of next steps for the 12 Weeks.
Then we get on the phone every week.
I provide the missing link between that clarity and your success: Accountability.
If you feel like your drifting a little and haven't achieved the things you feel like you should have, shoot me an email and we can discuss how I can help you. StrengthCoachPodcast at gmail.com
Hyatt, Michael S. (2018). Your Best Year Ever: A Five Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books
Ballantyne, Craig (2015). The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day And Control Your Life, Early to Rise Publishing