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"YES" or "NO" That is the Question

Each day we are presented with an infinite number of requests and choices. The choice that is best for you is based on what you are passionate about...

Lessons from the Start-Up Lab

One day in July 2013 I said YES.

I had just met Ari Horie, founder of the Women’s Start-Up Lab. She invited me to participate in a brainstorming session to determine what might be possible if leadership development for female technology founders was included in a start-up accelerator. I had a free day, and, as a leadership coach, I too wanted to see what was possible.

I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but that single YES led me on a year-long adventure of curiosity, discovery, connection, and collaboration.

Choosing YES or NO is not a black and white decision.

Women are often encouraged to answer yes. There is a social norm towards agreement; to fitting in. It is often an automatic YES or NO, based on feelings in the moment or wanting to achieve an ideal defined by someone else.

I used to make YES or NO decisions based on what I thought others wanted me to say, the specific job I wanted to have, or the right company I should join.

Reset your filters to discern opportunities

Define a framework that supports you in what you are passionate about and where you want to go. This framework can function as an organizing principle or commitment to your own declared intentions.

As a leadership mentor at the Women’s Startup Lab, I gained a renewed commitment to my passions and broader perspective.
I am grateful for the many opportunities that are presented to me, but I realize that in order to achieve my goals, I need to filter them through a very specific lens. I now use three words to help me decide how to answer YES or NO to opportunities:

  1. Global
  2. Community
  3. Leadership

These three words provide me with a lot of freedom. For instance, I could choose to take on a position in an import/export company. I could work for a global technology company. I could lead groups centered in an area of the world I am connected to. It makes deciding between a YES or a NO very easy.

My role isn't the end game.

Instead, it is about me experiencing a life in which my passions are aligned with what I do.

I continue to support the Women's Start-up Lab and coach individual start-up founders. In addition, I am the program director for the Global Fellows program at Santa Clara University. I am grateful for the YES I declared a year ago and for the clarity I now have in making passionate choices.

How will you respond when someone asks you a YES or NO question? Which answer will most support you in what you care about, where you want to go in the world, to utilize your gifts and talents?

For more information:

Business, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership

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