Choose your One Ball and Know Your No.
Take your pick. Do you know what your One Ball is? How do you choose which ball to pick up? When there are so many possibilities it can be stressful just to make one choice. We may even choose to just keep juggling rather than determining the ball that is the best fit for us and getting the most out of our engagement with the one ball.
Choice paradox. Performance means anything worthy of your attention. The challenge is to determine which ball is most worthy of your attention. Barry Schwartz wrote an insightful book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less on the paradox of choice alerting us to the stress of trying to make the right choice. There may not be a perfect “ball” to pick up but there are some guidelines to follow to help you engage with the one ball:
Ball paralysis. Rather than suffer from ball paralysis just pick up the ball that seems best at the time. Engage with the ball and monitor your focus, energy, and performance. You could follow Marcus Buckingham’s suggestions to find your strengths: determine what activities you look most forward to, watch for activities that you feel fully engaged in while you are working with them, and watch for activities that you have positive reflections about.
Mastery trumps competency. Strive towards mastery rather than merely being competent. Many organizations encourage “ball juggling” by having managers and leaders responsible for so many competencies that they cannot even remember them without referring to the 150 pages manager’s competency guidebook outlining the 287 managerial competencies at 5 different levels. This reminds me of the old statement: he got on his horse and rode off in all directions at once.
Know no. Learn the power of a positive no. Know that you must say no to say yes to something else. William Ury wrote about the Power of the Positive No. Here is the lead paragraph from his site:
No is perhaps the most important and certainly the most powerful word in the language. Every day we find ourselves in situations where we need to say No – to people at work, at home, and in our communities – because No is the word we must use to protect ourselves and to stand up for everything and everyone that matters to us.
3 tips. Ury created a tip sheet that is available at his website that outlines the 3 steps for a positive no:
- uncover your deeper yes,
- deliver a respectful no,
- negotiate to a healthy yes.
Click here for the pithy one page PDF from Ury’s website.
The choice is yours. Go ahead make a choice. You are not glued to your choice for life and you can make additional choices too. Just don’t choose to engage with more than one ball at a time.
And that’s the way the ball bounces.