Turning a "Maybe Yes" Into a "Hell No!"

Feb 02, 2020

Once a leader asked me to serve on a volunteer committee, and my immediate response was “Hell No!” I was already overcommitted with work and family and knew with absolute certainty that I couldn’t handle anything else on my plate. The leader laughed and said, “Well, I’d rather have a ‘hell no’ than a ‘maybe yes’.”

This week I’d like for you to look out for parts of your life where you are a ‘maybe yes.’ These may be obligations that grew out of scope-creep in your job; a volunteer position you said yes to out of guilt; a project that you thought would be no big deal but is now sucking up your time an energy.

A ‘Maybe yes’ dilutes your energy, time and leadership brand. Time spent in these areas typically yields mediocre outcomes while sacrificing focus you could be dedicating to activities that are truly important to you.

As you go through your week, pay attention to the meetings, tasks, and other obligations that are taking your time and energy. If you find a lot of them in the murky zone when it comes to purpose, clarity and commitment, take a step back and consider why this ‘maybe yes’ is in your life:

– you assumed too much responsibility when it wasn’t really necessary (couldn’t say no or poor boundaries)

– you thought just because you could do it that you should do it (the achiever’s trap)

– your strategy is murky (great strategy means you’re just as clear about what you are not doing as what you are doing)

– you’re still doing something out of habit even through the initial objective is complete or no longer relevant

– you’re ambivalent about a so-called commitment in your life, and it’s showing up in a half-hearted attitude and effort

As as leader, you need to be ALL IN, bringing a “Hell Yes!” to the things that are meaningful and strategic in your life and the lives of those you serve. One of the fastest ways to clear room for a “Hell Yes!” is to turn a “Maybe Yes” into a “Hell No!” 

No big decisions or changes this week; just notice how you’re spending your time and the attitude you’re bringing to those endeavors. A “Balcony Break” reflection is coming on Thursday to help you capture your thoughts and figure out how to put your insights into action.

On the journey – Anne

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