I got this email the other day from one of our Career Change Bootcamp students.

Arguably my favorite part of your coaching and team is the “and” thinking. I’ve been raving to my family about it because it’s changed my life. Thank you!

Maybe too much information but I decided to get a tattoo on my foot that just says “and.”  It’s how I live my life now.


Allison has truly learned how to have her cake and eat it too!

What is this life changing, tattoo inducing, cake eating and success causing secret?

“And” thinking

 Let me give you an introduction to the difference between a “Yes, And” life and “Either/Or” life

Here’s an example of quotes from conversations that my team and I have (literally) every day!

“I would love to get paid more than what I make now but I’m willing to accept less for the right job”

“I think i need help translating my skills to something I could do that would work remotely”

“I’m willing to take less responsibility, I’ve got kids that I want to spend time with”

Do you see what’s happening here? Some of it is actually really difficult to spot.

Before each of these people have ever taken a step forward they’ve already settled. In fact the psychology behind this is fascinating. They actually don’t realize they’ve settled before they ever get going. This doesn’t just happen with one type of person. I’ve heard these statements from $35,000 entry level analysts to the $400,000 Executives (women and men in both categories)

No bueno!

Each of these people have decided that it’s unlikely they will be able to have more than one of these areas that are important to them, So they rule it out as a real possibility.

Now before you say, that can’t happen to me be aware that each of these people are incredibly capable and many are high performers and high achievers, but they have decided that they have to choose one area OR the other that is important to them. We call this “Either/Or Thinking”

The hidden psychology and rationalization

Where’s the interesting part? They’ve decided this because of reasons that seem perfectly reasonable (but aren’t when you further evaluate them)

Why they say they are willing to take less money: “Many roles I think I might be interested in don’t pay very well

Ok, but just because the average is lower than what you want doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of people making a significantly higher amount. After all how many jobs do you need? You just need one well made match, not all the jobs in that category. We’ve found this to be true for most occupations

Why they say they want less responsibility: “Higher responsibility and pay has to equal more time

Often this one is said by people with kids who feel forced to choose between family and career. Just because the people that you’ve seen work their tails off and give up their relationships and marriages are in positions of more responsibility doesn’t mean everyone does it this way. We’ve found that the bigger reason this happens is that most people are unpracticed at drawing boundaries in their work life (and personal life). Or they are surrounded by a culture that supports working yourself to death as the answer for everything. Plus several studies (and our personal experience) is that when you’re in a higher level position with more responsibility you’re actually more in control of your time, not less.

Why they say they want help translating their skills to something else: “I don’t want to go back to school so i’m limited to what I can do”

if you really want to be a Doctor or Lawyer, yes you should probably plan on going back to school or moving to a country that has a lot less regulations 😉 otherwise what we find is that your degree matters a lot less to employers than what you would think (Washington Post cites only 27% of people are actually using their degree) and just because it says “masters degree” preferred that doesn’t mean the person getting hired actually has a Masters Degree.

Each of these limitations came about by unintentionally practicing “Either/Or thinking”

Now while I don’t believe that you can #HaveItAll (nobody, no matter how wealthy, or what position, gets to have “it all”) But I see countless evidence that you can have the things that are most important to you. Even if there are more than one of them.

Here’s a couple examples from some of our Career Change Bootcamp students who’ve decided to pursue a “Yes, And” life and career

Laura Morrison – Found flexibility AND a substantial pay increase (when she was already paid very well)

Tanya Malcolm-Revell – Got a company that fit her values AND the ability to do Yoga in the middle of the day

Louise McNee – Earned a role that was meaningful for her AND paid well AND allowed her room to grow (and even encouraged it)

Actually to be quite honest each of those people when we started working with them didn’t totally believe that having all of those things in one role were possible. But they definitely do now!

Ok here’s the real secret to why “And Thinking” works.

Have you noticed that whatever you spend lots of time and energy and effort pursuing, you generally get it eventually! A job, training for a half marathon, finding your car keys…

So if you’re only pursuing a career that offers more flexiblity, you’ll probably find it.

But you’re selling yourself short before you even begin.

Because if you go searching for an opportunity that pays well AND is fulfilling AND has more flexibility, you’ll also likely find it!

Ironically both paths usually take about same amount of work, but the “And” path yields a different result.

The only difference is “And Thinking”

We teach our students like Laura, Tanya and Louise to incorporate “And Thinking” into every aspect of their life. We call this living a “Yes, And” life.

Regardless of whether you ever get a Tattoo of the word “and”, I want to show you that you don’t have to settle (intentionally or accidentally) and that those elements of your life and work that are most important to you can be a reality. Even if you don’t yet see how it’s possible to have both!

Tomorrow morning I’ll also be sharing with you one of the ways we teach our students to stop settling and begin living a “Yes, And” life!

Look out at your email box tomorrow morning! It’ll be there!

Until then!


To living a “Yes, And” life!