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The power of how

I need your help

Quick! I need your help! I need to make 100,000 cookies by the end of the day.
What would you say?
“No, it can’t be done!” “I can’t fit the ingredients in my car.” “We don’t have enough room to make the cookie dough.” “I don’t have time to help today.” “We can only make 100 cookies an hour in our oven.”

“No” creates obstacles.

Immediately your mind decided that it’s not possible and then quickly came up with several reasons to justify this. Here’s the thing. Your mind will answer any question you ask it. “I don’t have time to complete project by the deadline because…” “We can’t possibly do that because…” “I don’t have time to go to the gym because…” “I can’t lose weight because…” “I can’t meet new people because…” If you immediately say “no, it can’t be done” (either consciously or subconsciously) then you will find reasons to support that. Saying “no” prompts your mind to create obstacles – and obstacles make it harder to do things.
Here’s the thing – there is always a way. It’s just a matter of resources – time, money and opportunity cost. If NASA can figure out how to get someone to the moon using a computer with less power than my watch then you can sure as heck figure out a way to do whatever is being asked. If you remove self-limiting beliefs and assumptions you will always find a way.

“Yes” creates obligations.

Should you immediately say “yes” to everything? Of course not – that would lead to making commitments you can’t or shouldn’t necessarily keep. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Finding a way may just be a matter of resources, but resources are finite and this may not be the best use of them. Yes you could use your time making cookies, but it would mean you can’t do something else. Yes creates obligations.
If you shouldn’t say “yes” or “no” immediately, then what your response be?

“How” creations options.

How! Your first response should be to ask “how?” How could we do it? Remember, your mind can justify or come up with a reason that supports whatever you ask it. If you ask “how” then you will come up with ways to do it. Saying how creates options.
In leadership coaching we call this a “powerful question.” Powerful questions are open ended. Powerful questions come without any assumption. Powerful questions are clear. Powerful questions lead to more conversation. Powerful questions find options.
How would we make 100,000 cookies? We could find 25 people to help us. We could rent a commercial kitchen. We could make no bake cookies. We could pay a local baker to make them for us. We would make the cookies the size of a penny. You see, there is always a way – it is simply a matter of resources (time, money and people.) Once you have some “how’s” then you can decide if it is worth the resources and say “yes” or “no.”
“How” isn’t a one and done though. Once you come up with one option, ask yourself what the other possibilities are. What would your preference be? What is the best solution? What compromises could you make? What is the cost of doing this? Should you do it? Is it the best use of resources?

A whole new world of possibilities.

Asking “how” opens a whole new world of possibilities. “I could complete project by the deadline if I…” “We could do if we…” “I could go to the gym if I…” “I could lose weight if I…” “I can meet new people if I…”
Get into the habit of asking “how”. Ask “how” before saying “yes” or “no” to a question. If you find yourself immediately jumping to “no” then take a step back and ask yourself “if I did do this, how could I do it.” Remember – No creates obstacles, how creates options and yes creates obligations.” Use the Power of How to open a whole new world of possibilities!


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