Here is what a big but looks like…
- I would accomplish that BUT…
- I really want to BUT…
- I was going to BUT…
Buts are another way of saying, “I have identified a barrier or roadblock on the pathway to achieving my goal and I don’t know how to overcome it or I don’t think I can overcome it.”
Buts are a very interesting phenomenon. Left unexamined, they have lots of power. Buts can stop an otherwise successful person in their tracks. It’s as if whatever comes after the “but” is reality rather than a reason. In other words, no more thinking is required of you because you have discovered the reason why you can’t have what you want.
Here are common examples we hear all the time:
- I want to increase our membership BUT people are too busy to volunteer these days.
- I want us to have new equipment BUT we can’t afford it.
- I want to delegate BUT if I want it done right I have to do it myself.
Do these sound familiar? When you begin to deconstruct the “but” it becomes clear that whatever follows it is a declaration not the truth. It’s whatever you decided was a reason you were not willing to overcome. Using “but” is a way to avoid responsibility for getting whatever you want; it is a valid excuse that lets you off the hook for going for it and then dealing with the possibility of failing.
Did you ever wonder why you look at roadblocks, barriers and BUTs as the end of the line? When did the discomfort of actually going for what you want become less desirable than the pain of giving up and having a good reason?
Years ago Lisa had a coach who said, “You either have the results or the reasons why not. Which would you rather have?”
Kicking Your BUT
When you are truly committed to something, you won’t let anything stand in your way. So if you are being stopped by “buts” you have to ask yourself, “I am truly committed to this thing I say I want?”
If the answer is yes, then replace the “but” with an “and,” (e.g., I want to exercise and I don’t have time). This let’s you see the two things do not have a causal relationship. All that needs to happen is some figuring out. Let’s face it, if the Wright brothers could figure out how to fly despite the constraints of gravity, you can figure out your dilemma once you let go of the but!