I’ve struggled a bit with enthusiasm this week. I think it’s just one of those weeks that sometimes arises in the middle of a semester, when you’ve gone on for awhile and look ahead and see still a ways to go; it’s one of those plateaus of learning that we read about recently.
That said, I kept moving ahead. This week’s material seemed to focus on getting started, finding that initial energy to say, “yes!” It was coincidentally timed for me because I had several opportunities at work this week to accept work that I might otherwise have turned down or redirected. Thanks, Class! Now I’ve got several new projects at work.
But that’s kind of the point. Opportunities don’t arise if you turn everything down or plan everything to death. You’ve got to step up when the chance arises and then do your best. We read the Acton Guide, A Message to Garcia, and that was the lesson that stuck out to me. I appreciated the approach the guide taught for turning “Yes, I will do it,” into productive action, and I started applying it with some success at work.
In Aspects of Building Trust, Guy Kawasaki said something similar (though it wasn’t the core point of the talk):
Defaulting to yes means that when you meet people, you are always thinking, “How can I help that person?” which is very different than when you meet people, you’re always thinking, “How can that person help me?” Default to yes. If you want to be a great networker and a great schmoozer, always be thinking when you’re meeting people, “How can I help the person?”
— Guy Kawasaki
The point, I think, is to buck that little element of fear and self-protection (and maybe even selfishness) that kicks in when somebody asks something of me. That little element of fear keeps me from success and opportunity. Instead, I need to default to yes, have some faith in others and myself, and then dive in and go to work.