I received a call from a friend the other day seeking some guidance. He’s newly unemployed and we were discussing his options. He said, “I’ve never really been in this position before… not sure if I should start something on my own or if I should go back and take up a new job?” In the midst of the conversation, my mind froze! There it was! The infamous grammatical conjunction that stops us in our proverbial tracks almost every time we use it. Can you guess which word I’m referring to? It’s the word, “OR”. Don’t get me wrong… the word ‘or’ can be critical at times when faced with the difficult decision of choosing between the lesser of two evils. For example, would you like to be audited by the IRS or spend a week with your mother-in-law? Depending on your circumstances… the IRS may not seem so bad!
Getting back on track… the problem that I have with the word ‘or’ is that when we use it, for the most part, we unknowingly put ourselves in a corner forcing us to decide between possibly two great things. For example, would you like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini? I don’t know about you, but my gut reaction to that question is, I want both! To apply this context to my friend’s statement, what’s wrong with both options? Why can’t you have a business (maybe on the side) and have a job to potentially reap the benefits of both?
Allow me to introduce you to the very conjunction that makes both options possible – it’s the word “AND”. By substituting ‘or’ with ‘and’, we open up new possibilities that were previously limited only by our choice of words and not our abilities. Think about it? How many times have you put yourself in a corner when using the word ‘or’? Now, think about how many of those same opportunities could have seized by using the word ‘and’? Put on your entrepreneur hat for a second and answer this question, “Do you want to sell to Customer A or to Customer B?” Obviously, you want to sell to both, right?
Don’t waste your time by getting caught up in the technicalities of execution (e.g. how am I going to have a business on the side and work full time?). That’s a secondary issue. The point is to start changing the way you think by changing the way to think. What? That’s right – the only way you are going to change the way you think is when you actually change the way you think!! So, the next time you are faced with a ‘or’ decision, take a step back, and ask yourself if ‘and’ can be substituted into this equation and make an intentional decision to open up to new possibilities.
To close out this post, I’d like to leave you with this quote… “At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are AND you know what you want. –Lao Tzu”
And, for those of you familiar with “Conjunction Junction”, this one’s for you! [Video]