The Power of “Not Yet!”

Posted on by Excell Staff

Dave Shapiro Puget Sound Executive Coach
This winter, I am undergoing my usual:  I have a plan for improving my golf game.  It includes a certain number of lessons at an indoor golf range and practice sessions.  What I did not initially grasp is that it would require me to embrace the concept of “Not yet”. 
You see, as I completed my fifth year of playing golf, I thought that I was going to be working on nuance and refinement of my swing.  (you can skip the next paragraph if you don’t golf)
I walked in to the first lesson and heard myself declare, “ I am hitting my driver 200-225 yards.  I may as well put it away and just hit my 3 wood.  I hit a 3 wood  about as far and more accurately.”  My instructor asked, how far I wanted to hit my driver and I answered by saying that on longer courses my second shot was not a 7 iron but a wood, or at best a rescue club.  This means that my strategy of being on the green in two is significantly reduced.  My accuracy and the likelihood of parring the hole go down if it takes me three strokes to get to the green.  To hit with better golfers, I needed to hit the drive 250 yards. 
What my instructor offered was to get me to hit my tee shot farther by spring and as, or more, accurately then I was when I hit it a shorter distance. 
What I have had to confront is failure.  I confronted the possibility that I can’t hit a golf ball longer.  To avoid the frustration of failing, I have undertaken a mantra, “not yet”. 
How many times have you said (or heard others say), “I can’t do that”.  The truth of the statement is self-evident and self-defeating.  By exchanging the above words for “not yet”, I get to take failure off the table. 
In business this is often critical.  To succeed, we have to try things that we have never done and have no data to support our accomplishing.  We have staff/teams who get stuck by saying, “We can’t do that!” and a simple substitution is to exclaim, “not yet!”. 
If you can get your teams/key employees to embrace “not yet” you are half way home to achieving a goal.  Your mindset will shift.  You still have to take action, accomplish your goal.  What is removed is the hurdle of telling yourself, as you work toward that goal, that you are failing.  Try it and let me know how differently you feel? 
What mindsets do you create to increase your and your team’s odds for success in a project or new endeavor? 

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