Last week I wrote about the danger of over-using the word “Yes”, especially in terms of spending your precious time doing what you love, are brilliant at, and can be properly paid for – your Joyful Genius.
Well, there’s another word that can be almost as dangerous for business owners: “Maybe”
The trouble with “Maybe” is that it’s not a decision, it’s an indecision – all it does is put everything on hold. And worse than that, it clutters up your attention with uncertainty – “Should I?”, “Shouldn’t I?”, “What if?” … “Maybe”.
Maybe is usually an indicator that your priorities aren’t as clear as they could be. You can’t think of a particular reason why you should take up an opportunity, but good old FOMO (fear of missing out) kicks in – in the absence of a clear reason you shouldn’t, you don’t want to close off the possibility that maybe you’ve missed something.
And here’s the thing: FOMO is driven by a scarcity mindset. It’s as if by making a decision to turn down this opportunity, there will never again be another one as good. Even though you know, deep down, that this one isn’t going to be good – not for you. Crazy, isn’t it?
So how do you avoid Maybes? Simply know what your criteria are for the opportunities that you will accept. And if this one doesn’t fit them – say ‘No’. It really is that simple.
Sure, there will be times when an opportunity comes up, and you just don’t have all the information you need to determine whether it’s for you or not. But even then, “Maybe” is a dangerous response. Because Maybes have a nasty habit of dragging on. So instead, make a decision about what further information you need, and set yourself a deadline for getting it. And then make a final decision. And stick to it.
Once a decision is made, you can clear out all the questions and uncertainties that distract your attention and take up your mind’s processing power, and get back to that wonderful clarity that comes with knowing exactly what you do well and what criteria the right opportunities for you need to satisfy.
What “Maybe”s do you have cluttering up your head-space right now? And when will you make a decision, and clear them?