What if you can have both?
I had a fabulous conversation this morning with a woman I coach that got me thinking about the power that Either/Or thinking holds over many of us. Without even realizing it, we box ourselves into pairs of alternatives that feel mutually exclusive and then we bounce between them trying to decide which one is the better option.
- Either I can make a contribution or I can make a living.
- Either I can be productive or I can be fun.
- Either I can be a good mom or I can be a good employee.
- Either I can be powerful or I can be feminine.
When we’re not careful, we just pick a side and settle.
But there is an alternative.
Let’s call it Both/And thinking. With this as our mindset, we can start to open up the possibility that we don’t have to choose. In fact, it would be a mistake to choose because when you’re facing one of these dichotomies, it’s usually because in your heart, you truly want both. What if having both is actually possible but your Either/Or thinking is keeping you from seeing it?
- I can both make a contribution and make a living.
- I can both be productive and have fun.
- I can be both a good mom and a good employee.
- I can be both powerful and feminine.
Can you see how Both/And thinking opens up new possibilities?
As you practice this, you’ll begin to see ways in which the various pieces of your wholehearted self can harmoniously overlap. New, creative options will reveal themselves.
But it’s not like you can just wave your magic wand and make one appear!
Instead, when you’re feeling stuck, the question to ask is, “What would have to be true?”
- What would have to be true for me to make a living AND make a contribution?
- What would have to be true for me to be productive AND make time for fun?
- What would have to be true for me to feel like a good employee AND a good mom?
- What would have to be true for me to be both powerful AND feminine?
Let’s not be limited by Either/Or thinking.
What’s the Both/And alternative?
And what would have to be true?
It’s time to start asking…
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