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Embrace “And” in an “Or” World

As I reflect on my life, there is a long list of things to be grateful for. Near the top of that list is being thankful for the courage to challenge “or” thinking, while seeking the power of “and.”

There is tremendous power in “AND.”

Most of us have been conditioned to make trade-offs. I can have work-life balance OR financial success. Meaning OR money.

But both? We don’t even consider it an option because we are trapped in the world of “or.” Unfortunately, this “or” thinking is now so firmly entrenched in our culture that it’s showing up in all aspects of American life (win or lose, good or bad, liberal or conservative).

It’s Time for Change

A group called Business Roundtable (181 CEO’s of America’s largest brands representing 30% of market capitalization) stated officially that a company needs a purpose beyond just profit.

They said business should DO GOOD. That business should care about people. Rich, successful corporate CEOs had a purposeful awakening. Hmm.

Although their statement could be considered benign as they are just words without policy change at this point, the words do matter.

These CEO’s have determined business should seek meaning AND money.

Embrace “AND”

The realization recently reached by the Business Roundtable is something Share On Purpose has been striving for since its creation. We don’t have to be limited by “or.” If the way we view and think about life doesn’t create the results we want, then it’s time to think differently. It’s time to embrace “AND.”

“Or” thinking is a trap. It’s not the way our lives were meant to be lived, so we certainly should not settle for it. So, why do we automatically assume there are limitations and that we must make trade-offs?

We have conditioned our minds to do so, and it’s a giant misconception. It’s not real. Although it’s true there are limits, those limits are NOT meant to restrict our desires, but rather to guide us towards the path to more.

We do not have to make trade-offs with an “OR” mindset. To reach for more, and truly embrace the “AND” that is waiting for us, rather than assuming there are limits, we must simply embrace that we can have everything we want, as long as we prioritize. It’s not about giving anything up, but instead reaching for all that we want, while understanding that we have to get there a different way.

To embrace this different way, we must relinquish the power that “or” thinking has on our subconscious mind while learning how to choose “and” thoughts. It sounds easier than it is. Like it or not, we are trapped by the limits of “or.”

It’s a habitual endless charade.

It does not have to be like that, and I know first-hand.

When I finally challenged “or” thinking and stepped into “and,” I was driven by the quest to be my authentic self. I wanted to do purposeful work. Having reaped the financial rewards of entrepreneurship, I was now hungry for meaning.

The Share On Purpose portfolio of companies was born out of that shift.

“And” thinking is rocket fuel – a power so intense it requires a LOT of adjustment. Most of my failures during this journey were because I didn’t understand the power of “and,” nor how to harness the energy it generates.

It’s kind of like driving a 4-cylinder car your whole life and all of sudden you buy a 12-cylinder Ferrari, which is way more power than you’re used to.

The truth is – the power of “and” requires some getting used to. Old ways of being, the ones trapped in “or” thinking, take time to undo.

So, how can you gradually step into the power of “and”?

1) Start small. Find one thing you’d really like to do, on a small scale, leveraging the power of “and”. Try something simple. Think of it like a lab experiment and put yourself in the Petri dish.

Make a list of combinations. Examples such as:

– Spend time with family AND rest

– Eat healthy AND enjoy the food

– Work out AND have fun

– Have a career I love AND pays well

Try to list 4-5 possible “and” combinations; small scale items that you’d find pleasure in testing.

2) Focus on desire. Which “and” combo would be the MOST enjoyable? Desire fuels motivation. Choose one you really want to experience and commit to testing it in the next week. Don’t wait. Try it now before “or” clutches you back into its grasp.

3) Begin with the end in mind and get clear on what you want to create. Take time to define the vision of “and” for this small experiment. What would it look like if you could have both of the items on your “and” list?

One of the reasons we stay trapped in “or” is because we don’t really know what we want. Being clear on what we want is the key to creating more. Define what your “and” looks like in clear terms. Be crystal clear.

4) Decide. The second reason we don’t make the transformation (besides not being clear) is that we don’t make a decision to change what we are doing. Make the choice to test it and start now.

5) Focus on perception rather than perfection. Don’t try to make the experience perfect. Just take a step towards what you want and observe your perceptions along the way. How do you view what happens? After all, it’s a Petri dish experiment and observation is key.

Things to look for:

– Do you judge yourself?

– Was it easy? What was hard?

– What is your self-talk?

– Do you allow others to talk you out of what you really want?

– Where does self-sabotage kick in? Why did you let it?

6) Evaluate, adjust and repeat.  Small “and” steps will ensure that you retrain your mind without the added pressure of intense risk.

Creating an “and” filled life is the reason why Share On Purpose exists.

Find an employer that allows you to create the career you want. Check out our available positions here.