The Power of "YET"

In all the times that I have found myself in a rut, directionless, or confused, there has been one word, beyond all, that has offered hope. It is the word “yet”.

As we approach the end of a year it is a time to reflect on all that has happened, on all we have achieved or, perhaps, on all we have had to endure and survive. The Holiday Season is wonderful in many ways but it can also be a struggle for many. Not all lives are picture perfect. Let’s face it, most are definitely not. So, as we move through December and contemplate all that has been and look forward to 2019, I want to share with you the power of one word that has been the greatest gift I have ever given myself.

I started out my year with lots of shiny hopes and dreams, some of which found their way into structured goals. Some of those goals were achieved and some were not - for a variety of reasons. I love Christmas, but it inevitably brings thoughts of the resolution of the year and the settling of accounts, an analysis of what was achieved and what wasn’t and why. Some of those examinations are uncomfortable and not even the twinkling lights of the Christmas trees and decorations can distract from the fact that another year has passed, another twelve months, and I still have not arrived at the desired, illusive future version of myself.

It’s a time when thoughts and feelings of not being enough can definitely surface - and I am certain that no amount of online or in-person retail therapy will banish the discomfort. That was a hard learnt lesson - but hey, I have some fabulous shoes to show for it! The most powerful word in times like these is “yet”. I have not arrived at this desired future yet.

Not feeling good enough is intimately entangled with what we know as “Impostor Syndrome” that feeling of unworthiness and that we’re going to be found out as not being capable enough, expert enough, good enough for whatever role we have assumed. Former first lady, Michelle Obama, recently opened up on this topic while on tour to promote her bestselling biography, Becoming.

It doesn’t go away, that feeling that you shouldn’t take me seriously. What do I know? I share that with you because we all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is.
— Michelle Obama

When self-doubt surfaces that little word “yet” is a powerful response that allows you to reframe. So if, like me, you find December to be somewhat a month of reckoning, where you can be a little harsh with yourself when it comes to your progress, practice affixing the word “yet” to any unachieved hope, dream or goal.

  • I haven’t left this soul-destroying unfulfilling job - YET

  • I didn’t lose that stone I promised myself I would - YET

  • I didn’t take that trip to see the Northern Lights/Serengeti - YET

  • I haven’t found love - YET

  • I didn’t achieve that goal I set myself - YET

HOPE is immensely powerful. When you decide to use this simple tactic you inject hope into every situation and outcome which didn’t work out quite as you wished. Instead of opening the door to a downward spiral of negative thought you block that path with hope.

Every single one of us suffers from self-doubt at some time or other, even Michelle Obama is intimately familiar with those feelings of not being good enough.

The question I ask myself - “am I good enough?”- that haunts us, because the messages that are sent from the time we are little is: Maybe you are not. Don’t reach too high. Don’t talk too loud.
— Michelle Obama

When we allow ourselves the space for “YET” we give ourselves the gift of hope and show ourselves the self-respect we deserve. As long as you breathe there is time. If you believe you have failed you are correct. However, If you believe that you merely have not yet achieved, you are also correct.

Choose wisely. When you adopt the latter perspective you give yourself the opportunity to pursue other paths to achieving your goal. If you slam the door on your goal by wrapping it in negativity and fatalism, you cut yourself off from the creative avenues of inquiry that would propel you forward.

I speak often about self-compassion and self-love and how truly transformational they are. Adopting this little tactic of using “yet” is an easy but highly impactful way to practice self-love and self-compassion.

The Holidays, though joyous, can be stressful, so it’s a really important time of the year to be gentle and loving towards yourself.

And when self-doubt raises its head, as it inevitably will, and dares to tell you that you are not enough, maybe this little quote from Michelle Obama again will help you to to gain some perspective.

Here is the secret. I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of, I have worked at non-profits, I have been at foundations, I have worked in corporations, served on corporate boards, I have been at G-Summits, I have sat in at the UN; they are NOT that smart!
— Michelle Obama

It can be a way out sometimes to believe that everyone else must be smarter, more connected, more something than you are and that that is the reason they can, be, do, or have what you desire but lack. But what if that were not true at all. What then?

Why, that would mean that all that you desire to be, do, and have is all within your capability and reach. How exciting is that?! You just haven’t achieved it YET!

Happy Holidays!

In the next post I’ll help you get clear on your goals and show you how to create a killer plan for 2019 and beyond!