My whiteboard is a wasteland.
It's where good ideas go to die. It is where cheerful and exciting and brightly-colored possibilities languish until they are finally erased to make room for the new and equally exciting thoughts that come next. Maybe 50% of what goes up on the board ever makes it into some form of reality (and I am generously guessing, I don't keep stats on this part of the process). The rest are erased from the world, never to be considered again.
My drafts folder is a dumpster.
It's the most neatly-organized dumpster in history, but a dumpster nonetheless. It is where just-started and fully-conceptualized and nearly-done-but-not-quite projects assemble in little rows. All waiting for one more stroke of genius, one more piece of critical information, one more full day of uninterrupted time (that is never coming). Or better yet, one new project owner to take the ball and run it down the field, now that I have taken a seat on the bench.
I used to feel bad about this.
I'm a finisher. My pride comes from bringing something fully into existence. There are no high-fives for bright ideas or half-done efforts. Not in my book.
And I used to think I was doing something wrong.
No is the almighty tool. No is proof that you have priorities. And my work comes from an engineering flow diagram of Yes! What is my problem?
It turns out: Nothing.
It's true that No is important. But it is more important when you start saying No . Do you shut down new ideas before they're even formed? Do you only put them on the board if you can see a clear path to accomplishment? Do you hold off starting until you know you'll be able to finish? Are you playing it safe? Are you avoiding a challenge? Are you holding yourself back from your true potential?
No creates the space you need to accomplish the things you need to accomplish. True. Saying No too soon, however, could prevent you from making the right call about what you need to accomplish in the first place. It closes you off to creativity. It prevents you from making new connections. And it keeps you exactly where you are. Is that where you want to be?
So say yes. Say Yes! And keep saying yes until you are sure it's a no... And then erase the board or organize the file or pass it off to the next person willing to say Yes! and move forward on your priorities with your head held high.
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