The leader of an organization was preparing for a long overdue two-week vacation. He had spent a month preparing for his absence by setting up systems and training his second-in-command to step up while he was gone.
But still, his protégé was nervous.
She proposed several hypothetical scenarios, wondering how she should respond. The leader calmly explained the processes he set up to handle each situation. “Don’t worry, you’ve got this,” he reassured her. “But, if you find yourself in a spot where you don’t know what to do, let me show you something I rely on in situations like that.”
He led her into his office, and grabbed a Magic 8-Ball from his desk. “If you’re stuck, just state your issue in the form of a yes or no question, shake this, and do whatever it says.”
She looked at him with a puzzled expression on her face.
“By the way,” he said, “If it says to ask again later, just give it a little time before trying again.”
The young employee wondered aloud, “But what if it says to do something that’s completely stupid?”
“Oh, that’s the thing,” replied the boss. “You have total veto power. If it suggests something you know won’t work, you’re free to do the opposite thing.”
“And if you think about it,” he concluded, “isn’t that a sign that you knew what to do all along?”
This little story was inspired by a man named Jeff, who recently hired me to speak to his association. Sometimes we have to make a decision and sit with it before acting, pretending it’s the final call. Pay attention to how you feel. Are you excited? Relieved? Confident that it makes sense? Or do you secretly wish the other decision had been made?
More times than not, what’s holding us back is not our lack of ability, but our overabundance of doubt.
You are more powerful than you realize.
Sometimes we just need a little shake to remind us of how capable we really are.