Turning “Yes, But” into “Yes, and” equals empowerment.

Imagine this situation: A person you trust makes a suggestion.  Maybe a potential solution to a problem.  How you can make a change to your diet.  Or some information on a new treatment.  You consider it a moment… it seems logical… and certainly not out of the question… Well?


“Yes, but…”  Sound familiar?


I often work with my clients on creating goals that they, in turn, commit to.  These goals are often very simple, like getting together with a friend, taking a walk, making a change to their diet, or giving themselves encouragement rather than criticism.  Basically, little goals that can help when making positive changes in their lives.


And then when we talk about how to get started, or what gets in the way, or about what they might try next.  We brainstorm.  I toss out a suggestion.  Or they do.  They hesitate… And then, their next sentence often begins with “yes, but…”


“Yes, but” seems to be one of the most commonly used phrases in the English language.  How about with you?  Feel like you have every reason to do something positive for yourself?  Yet then when you get a gentle push to take the next step, you respond with… “Yes, but…” followed by all the reasons why you actually can’t?


Think about something.  “Yes, but” is often followed by the word, “can’t,” or “doesn’t,” or “won’t.”  Human beings are hard-wired to stay the same and to avoid change.  Old habits are hard to break.  “Yes, but…”


However, “yes, but…” leaves you stuck in one place.  And disempowered.


I am not suggesting that you deny how you are feeling, or pretend that getting motivated is easy.  It’s not.  I would like to do is to suggest some ways to begin to understand your “yes, but” and how it gets in your way.


I have started asking my clients to replace the “yes, but” with “yes, and.”  While “yes, but” closes the door to possibilities, “Yes, and” opens the door to action.  Here are some examples:


“Yes, and…I am afraid that I might fail.”


“Yes, and… I’m not sure how to get started.”


“Yes, and… I’m too tired… sad… scared… anxious… to do things differently.”


“Yes, and… I need to break the job down into smaller steps.”


“Yes, and… I didn’t know it would be this hard.”


“Yes, and… I need a little more time.”


“Yes, and… I am going to need more support if I am going to make this happen.”


Do you see the difference?  When you think about barriers to change in terms of “Yes, and” you also open the door to identifying how you might be getting in your own way.  And then you can then start working on what to do.  In other words, you move from being stuck to getting started.  “Yes, and” is affirming a positive intention, and a refusal to take no for an answer.


So, the next time you feel that “yes, but” about to stop you in your tracks, try replacing it with “yes, and.”  In a way, you are making friends with your “yes, but” by taking the time to learn why that “but” is there and what you can do to overcome it.  In the process, you’re easing up on yourself, accepting your fears, lack of readiness, need for support, lack of preparation, need for more guidance, or whatever else stands between you and your progress toward your goal.


Here’s another way to look at that “Yes, but” that keeps you stuck.  When you tell yourself “yes, but” you are saying the solution is outside of yourself.  That’s like saying that once all the TV sets in the world disappear, you’ll stop isolating yourself in front of the TV all day, or once other people stay off the sidewalks, you’ll be more comfortable going for a walk, or when pizza is finally outlawed, you’ll be able to stop eating it so much.


See the pattern here?  “Yes, but” is disempowering.  It leaves you a victim of circumstances outside of your own control.  “Yes, and” empowers you to look at what YOU can do to begin to incorporate change into your life.


“Yes, and” doesn’t solve your problem.  What it does do is open you up to solutions while you challenge yourself to focus your energy not on the roadblocks but on the opportunities.


You might even follow the “Yes, and” with “so what?”   Decide not to take no for an answer.


(This article was initially posted on AllianceHealth.com, http://www.diabeticconnect.com/discussions/9961-turning-yes-but-to-yes-and