Choices choices: Yes to one thing means no to something else

Yes and no go together like peas and carrots: Say yes to one thing and you say no to something else.

Yes to interval training means no to a leisurely stroll.

Yes to one business partner means no to others you were considering.

Yes to quick action means no to preliminary pause-and-reflect.

You can try to do it all, and mix it up — but eventually you’ll fill your plate. This is why, even if the direct impact of our choices seems insignificant, they always have a big impact in that we’re ruling out countless other options. Put differently, every little thing we do, moment to moment, has tangible (realized or unrealized) consequences.

Living inside of this reality could give you FOMO, overwhelm you, clarify your priorities or leave you wondrous and awestruck to think about.

In the words of Michael Bungay Stanier in the Coaching Habit:

A Yes is nothing without the No that gives it boundaries and form.

Play the yes/no game for self management: When you’re procrastinating or unfocused, notice what you are saying yes to, and what you’re saying NO to as a result. Of course, some of us like to laser focus on what we’re not doing, that we “should.” In that case, I invite you to reframe the gap as an opportunity to shift your energy and attention — away from what’s “wrong” to your heart-of-heart’s yes.

In other words, flip that FOMO or self-critique to your advantage. Because you won’t get anywhere, not pleasantly and usually not efficiently, if your go-to strategy is wistfully longing for unchosen options or beating yourself up.

When you’re lacking motivation or resisting doing something your best self is a yes to, notice the ways in which you’re not consciously choosing but opting for default actions/reactions instead.

Start listing or labeling your yes and no choices throughout the day, and increase your intentionality and awareness of patterns.

Your actions always say yes and no regardless. Say them on purpose. Recalibrate, rinse and repeat.

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