Moving your ‘but’ can make a difference …
Did you know that you can change your world by simply moving your but? I know this from my own experience and it can be life changing, for you and those around you. You probably heard it as a child. You would have heard it at school too. I did. It’s not helpful or positive when motivating or encouraging yourself, or your family, and it’s certainly not helpful when you’re delivering that performance review to your team at work.
The effect of this word is huge (gosh every time I use these 'big' 'huge' 'great' words now, I think of Donald Trump!!) This tiny little word has the ability to shift the emphasis of a sentence to what came after it, rather than before it. And often, the information that came before this word was the best stuff, the words that you wanted me to remember, the things that you were most proud of about me, the things you wanted to praise me for. And, because of this word, I only heard the words and stuff that you didn’t like about me - the stuff that came after ‘it’. The Collins dictionary defines 'but' as ‘contrary to expectation’ or ‘in contrast’.
Yes – move your but. We all have a store of them – they live in the ‘but bank’ and are easily accessible. Some of us have lots of but’s and others only have a few. Some of us have ‘yes buts’. Teachers and parents usually have a huge supply and bosses and managers usually have a great stock of them too. You’ve heard them in all areas of your life. “Yes, you can borrow the car, but you have to blah blah blah first.” All I heard was do more stuff. “You’ve done a great job on this work, but I 'd like you to add blah blah blah”. All I heard was more work, after all the time I invested doing this for you! Grrr! “Yes she’s good at her job but blah blah blah”. All I heard was that I wasn’t good enough. The good stuff didn’t actually register.
If you want to engage people (and yourself), motivate those around you (and yourself), enrich people’s lives (or your own), or simply affect them in a positive way and inspire them (or yourself) on to greater things, then move your but! In fact, you might like to shift it right on out into the garbage. When I hear myself using the ‘but’ word, even to myself, I’ll stop and substitute it with one of two things. Either a full stop, or the word ‘and’ or your third options is to simply leave it out. Let’s try those sentences above for a second time …
“Yes, you can borrow the car. I'd like to you to blah blah blah first.”
“You’ve done a great job on this work. Next time, I'd like you to add add blah blah blah”.
“Yes she’s good at her job. I’d really like her to do more blah blah blah”.
It’s subtle. It’s effective. Remember, you won’t catch yourself every time, well not yet, and when you do, you’ll understand that moving your but can make a significant difference in how you can change your world.