For some people, the first time they’re approached with a new idea or question, their reflex response is, “No.” Immediately, they put up a wall that halts progress toward innovation or needed change. If that feels familiar, try this…

When confronted with something new, give yourself permission to delay acting reflexively. Give the cortisol in your brain a chance to lessen its grip. Rarely is there a need to respond at that very moment. It’s okay to take the time to think through the request before blurting out “No, we can’t do that.” Time and space allow you to calmly consider the option and its consequences, and ponder ways to make the new idea work.

When you’re ready, instead of saying, “No,” try saying, “Yes, we could do that if…” This will reshape the conversation and lay out conditions that make movement possible. It also empowers people around you to contribute their ideas without fear.


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