Having had twenty-five conversations with the twenty-five powerful speakers who make up the faculty of the Great Work MBA, you can guess that I’ve been thinking hard about what lies at the heart of doing more Great Work—that work that has more impact and gives you more meaning.

I’m inspired by the business and community thinker Peter Block, who once described his work as “giving people responsibility for their freedom.”

In short: if this is your life (and it is), what are the choices you’re making so you can shape it to be the best possible life, a life with as much Great Work as is ideal for you?

And here is the double-barreled question that creates the focus, courage, and resilience you need to do more Great Work.

Step 1: What are you saying Yes to?

Not “what have I apparently said Yes to?” or “What am I resigned to?” but “What do I want, and what do I choose?”

Getting clear on what you want and making that choice is extraordinarily powerful and far harder than you might think.

Try this sequence:

  1. What do I want?
  2. Is that true?
  3. So what do I really want?

But knowing what you want, knowing what you want to say Yes to, is not enough.

Because you also have to answer this:

Step 2: What then is the strong No that will support that Yes?

Without clarity on what you need to say No to, that Yes is weak and vulnerable. It will be overwhelmed by old habits and the status quo.

Without becoming clear on the No, you’re just trying to pour more water (or maybe tequila) into an already full glass.

There’s no more space. You have to clear some stuff out to let some stuff in.

Give your Yes shape and boundaries and get clear on what you must say No to in order to fully claim the Yes you want.
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Don’t miss Michael’s  Great Work MBA, a free & virtual conference  featuring 25 extraordinary speakers sharing tactics and strategies to do more Great Work starting on November 10th.

Michael Bungay Stanier is the Senior Partner of Box of Crayons and author of Do More Great Work. He’s also the curator of the Great Work MBA, a free & virtual conference featuring 25 extraordinary speakers sharing tactics and strategies to do more Great Work  that starts on November 10th.

*Image courtesy of Leo Reynolds.