Decision-making is easy at a red or green light, but what about the yellow light? An aha moment from a coaching client.
One of my roles as a creativity and innovation coach is to help innovators and entrepreneurs hone their leadership skills. Sharon*— a university professor and social innovation entrepreneur—asked me for coaching on achieving her goals for a large visionary project. Since she is highly motivated and productive, most of our coaching conversations were about stepping up to the challenges of leadership, exploring the deeper truth of a situation, and decision-making; so she could move forward. She shared this insight with me following a breakthrough coaching session:
One of the most poignant learnings I have gained through our coaching sessions is to gauge where to put my focus and energy? Where are the green lights and where are the red lights? Sometimes I have been hovering in the yellow light zone, hesitating to call something for what it was: a red light. Stopping, putting an expiry date on activities and business relationships that are going nowhere–helps me to put energy into positive initiatives. Knowing that a green light is bright green really helps me to put more focus there. Thanks so much for helping me find clarity!
I love Sharon’s traffic-light metaphor for decision-making. It’s easy to know what to do at a red or green light, but what about the yellow light? Do you take a gamble and proceed? If you are investing time and energy on a project you hope to get funded, at what point do you stop giving away expertise to forward your cause? And how do you stop, without ruining an important relationship? As we explored options and strategies, a message from BC Lottery about gambling popped into my mind:
Know your limit and play within it.
When I shared this, Sharon burst out laughing and had a flash of insight that triggered her yellow light analogy. She chose to let go of a project dear to her heart and move on. Interestingly, once she let go, she received funding a few weeks later.
For more about gauging where you put your energy and focus, read “Are you too Busy to Innovate?“
Creative Leadership Coaching
If your job is to move business forward, and you need help finding clarity or in harnessing your focus and energy, I may be able to help.
*Not her real name