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Don't Say Maybe

Written by Rene Boer on July 14, 2011

Implementers EOS Clarity

Answer “Yes” or answer “no”. But, don’t say “maybe”. “Maybe” is noncommittal and it rarely buys you time.

When you continually say “maybe” you’re putting yourself into that group of “cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat” as described by Teddy Roosevelt. I’m not suggesting that every question can or should be answered with a “yes” or “no” but, how often have you known in your gut that your answer should have been a “yes” or “no”. Instead you found yourself saying “maybe”? You hoped that by saying “maybe” you wouldn’t disappoint anyone; the problem would solve itself or that the person waiting for an answer would just go away. But, it didn’t happen and all those “maybes” started piling up. They slowed you down.

When you answer “yes” or “no” you create clarity. You’re either committing to do something or not to do something. A “maybe” creates uncertainty. Think of it as good parenting. Years ago, when we lived in California, our 16 year old daughter told us that all her friends were going to Lake Tahoe for the weekend and that she wanted to join them. The answer … “No” created clarity, as in “no way, no how are you going to Lake Tahoe for the weekend”. A “maybe” would have resulted in uncertainty and the false hope that we might have relented and said “yes”. If it’s “no” just say it and get it over with. If it’s “yes” just say it and get moving!

Think of your own list of issues or things that you have to get done. How long have they been on your list? How many are on the list because you’ve been saying “maybe”? So, decide! You’ll create clarity and there will be fewer people lined up outside your door, on hold, or sending you follow-up emails.

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