If you’re a leader who has to communicate in English or a foreign language,
DON’T believe your brain when it tells you this.
When it says: “It’s EITHER this OR this”.
Our brain works in black or white.
It rarely ventures into the land of shades of grey.
It will tell us:
- You need to know more sophisticated words in English OR “they” will judge you.
- You have to know ALL the answers, OR you’ll lose that client.
- You have to do this presentation perfectly OR your career will be ruined.
It’s always one or the other. Either perfection or failure.
I know. Because my brain uses the same methods as yours.
And it creates a ton of needless pressure.
Before I changed lifestyle in 2013, my brain gave me a LONG list of arguments:
- Kelly, you’re a CITY girl! You’re not made for the countryside!
- You do know that you’re going to have to forget the high heels and wear wellies EVEERRRY day??!
- How can you help build a house when you know NOTHING about DIY?
- You’ve always worked for someone else and now you want to be your OWN boss??
Yes, my brain was exaggerating, catastrophizing and generally, in a huge panic!
But the craziest thing is actually this: progress is so rarely about one right and one wrong option.
There are plenty of possible pathways.
It’s just that our brain’s filter doesn’t shine a light on them.
So we have to force it to do so.
By dropping the EITHER/OR and believing in “AND”.
I decided that I wanted to:
- Be a girl who loved the City AND the Countryside.
- Not be a DIY expert AND manage to help my husband build our house.
- Be my own boss AND use my previous corporate experience to help me.
- Wear heels AND wellies. (Just not at the same time ;).
Because the truth is this:
- You can make mistakes in English AND still transmit your message.
- You can search for your words AND still create the impact you wanted.
- You can feel nervous AND not make it mean that something is wrong with you or your English.
That’s a sustainable mindset for your learning journey.
Because it ignores the perfectionist cycle of unrealistic standards, self-judgement and worry, and focuses on what real progress is made of.
So keep reminding your brain when it starts to panic:
“Don’t forget the AND. “
Photo courtesy of: Kelly