I want you to take a second and do some thinking. Is there anything out there that you want to do, a place you want to go, or a subject that you want to learn, but you’ve just never gotten around to it? It happens! But why haven’t you gotten to it “yet?”
I think many times we sabotage ourselves by the misuse of our words, and sometimes it’s our self-talk—that running dialog that continuously plays through our minds.
Let me give you an example.
I’ve always enjoyed writing. But I’ve been sporadic at best in producing anything of significance. As I discussed in the blogpost “Letters to My Sons,” I’ve enjoyed writing letters to my three sons to help guide them through life. I won’t be around forever, but my written words can be a lamp to their feet after I’m gone. I take this very seriously. I want to have an impact on my kids, my grand-kids, and my great-grand-kids. No doubt, there will be descendants that I will never meet. But long after I’m gone, I can still share with with my written words.
One way to do this is to consistently blog.
Up until April of 2011, I really didn’t know what a blog was. I didn’t subscribe to any and had no idea that there was a blog tool called “Wordpress.” I didn’t even know it existed, much less how to use it. I didn’t know how to post a blog… Or how to put pictures on a blog… Or what a keyword was… Or a tag… Or how to schedule posts… Or how to put a Facebook ‘Like’ Button on my blog… Or what Feedburner was… (I could go on here for paragraphs. It’s amazing what I’ve learned in a very short time.)
My thought was, “I don’t know how to do that.” So I did nothing.
Around the first week of April, I was in a city in Florida teaching leadership. It was a full-day seminar. One of the hours was devoted to teaching how to effectively set goals. I’ve created a process that is powerful, easy to use and understandable. I developed it for people who hire me as their coach. I’ve seen it change people’s lives in pretty dynamic ways.
Anyway, during the last 10 minutes of the hour, after they’d practiced in groups and had begun to understand the process, I had each of them write their own, personal goal. I gave them about five minutes to complete this.
During that time, I thought to myself, “I really want to start a blog.”
Everything inside of me wanted to do it, but everything inside of me was also saying, “Don’t tell them. If you tell them, you’ll have to do it.” (Don’t tell me you’ve never had those thoughts!!!)
At the end, I asked for two volunteers and had them read their goals out loud. They did, and the group was inspired!
Then I had a decision to make. Do I tell them my goal or not?
I told the group the goal I’d written down. The ending date; really the starting date of this blog, was June 1, 2011. Here’s what I read them:
“I have created a blog that I will update three times a week by June 1, 2011.”
Right after that, we took a ten-minute break. I had just told my goal to a big group of people. There was something that felt quite liberating—and something that felt quite daunting, at the same time.
And then the negative thoughts started pouring in. “What if I don’t do it? What if I’m no good at it? That’s a lot of posts—should I only do two a week?”
Several people walked up to me and asked what I would be writing about. I had no idea. But I’d committed–there was accountability. It felt scary, but at the same time it was energizing.
Towards the end of the break, I wrote this in my journal:
“I don’t know how to do a blog, YET! But I’m going to learn how to do this.”
The word “yet” opened the door.
(Side note—I have a friend named Matt Fagioli. Matt understands blogs–he “get’s” technology. One of the reasons you’re reading this post today, is because of the help he has patiently given me over the last several months. He’s been my coach in learning to do this. And it’s interesting—the more we do together, the more I understand. What was “impossible” for me several months ago has now become routine. By saying “yet,” I opened the possibility and Matt stepped in and helped fill the void. Thank you Matt for investing in me!)
Without the “yet” Matt would have never appeared because blogging would have remained outside the realm of possibility. We would never have talked about blogs and I would never have studied the books. By saying “yet” the door opened!
Now I have something that brings me joy, that’s fun to do, and that maybe will have an impact on people’s lives.
Here’s another example:
My wife Sandy and her family are “gamers.” She loves card games, board games–anything to do with games. We’ve got a closet full of them and believe me, they don’t collect dust. I didn’t grow up with that. I’ve never been that kind of a person. Yet!
Several years ago, we were enjoying an evening with four other couples. These are very special friends whose company we regularly enjoy.
This night, we were going to play a card game named “Rook.” If you know me, you also know that I’m not a very detail-oriented person. So they’re explaining the rules to me and I’m thinking, “I’ll never be able to figure this out. It’s too complicated.” I said that on the ‘inside.’ On the outside, I’m looking at them, acting like I’m hearing every word they’re saying and understanding it all.
But all I’m really hearing is “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…”
And then I decided to change my self-talk. “I don’t know how to play Rook, ‘Yet!’ I can learn this…”
That thought opened the door to learning a game that I now enjoy. As a matter of fact, I’m the best player in the group!!! (Okay, I just lied!!! Not “yet”, but it’s now in the realm of possibility, a long, long time from now! )
As I write this, I’m creating a webinar company. It’s launch date is August 23rd. It’s all about technology, leadership and life and helps people grow more competent in all three areas. Do I know how to teach this? Yes. Do I know how to do great webinars? Absolutely! Do I know how to build and grow this company? No. Not “yet!” But I’m learning more and more every day. And it will launch on the 23rd!
So you get the point. Instead of taking yourself out of the game by saying you don’t understand, add the word “yet” to the end of the sentence.
So here’s the question, “What’s your ‘yet?’”
I’m sure there’s something out there. I’d love to hear what it is!
You just haven’t shared it with me, “yet!”