An All Or Nothing World

  We don’t live in an all or nothing world, even though many of our choices are black or white. We do that often and we’re not even aware that we’re doing it.



We don’t live in an all or nothing world, even though many of our choices are black or white.

We do that often and we’re not even aware that we’re doing it.

That came to light for me this morning when I was waffling between diving into a piece of work I had scheduled in or diving into the website. I admit it. I’m a TED addict and because of that I had eliminated it out of my day as I would get lost in the videos and thoughts they inspired and forget about the rest of my work. Not a great thing. So, like many do who are looking at being effective, I cut it out.

This morning I gave myself a ‘what for ‘ when (being a coach here) I had a discussion with myself, silently of course asking “What did I have to gain by cutting out TED?” Time? Yes. More focus on my work? Definitely.


But what was I missing?

Amazing stories. Innovative ideas, information I would have never known otherwise. So I made a conscious decision not to live in an all or nothing world and instead, perhaps limit the amount of time I spend per day getting lost (and found ) in TED.

I see leaders live a black and white day every day. They call it prioritisation. They choose the top three, four or five things to get done in a day and everything else goes by the wayside. They pat themselves on the backs when they can actually accomplish more than two and their days aren’t taken over by other stuff. What are they missing?

Yesterday I posed a question to my network of professionals. It went something like “Is there a cost to increased productivity? What might we be missing when it comes to learning curve, collaboration, less research or is there anything else that comes to mind for you in answering this question? Sometimes we strive to do things better, smarter, faster but what might we miss along the way?”

In this ever faster, fast paced world it’s increasingly harder for organizational leaders to take the time they want to grow personally and grow rising stars because of the demands on their time, feeling the need to be more productive especially during a period of a depressed economy.


While becoming ‘more productive’ from an organizational perspective, in the midst of all this, they’re killing their people. They feel they have to be better, faster, smarter, deeper, more intuitive, less intuitive (follow orders) until they go on auto pilot, lose a great deal of their innovative spirit and creativity but meet all the criteria of effectiveness measurements.

A black and white or all or nothing world…..before they know it, the day is over and they pause until they do the same scrambling tomorrow. What do we lose along the way in an all or nothing world? We lose impact, personal learning, the ability to grow people from an emotionally intelligent perspective.

We lose the experience and richness of life.

—Donna Karlin, Founder and President, A Better Perspective


About the author

Donna Karlin CEC, Diplomate IABMCP and founder and principal of A Better Perspective® & The School of Shadow Coaching, has pioneered the specialized practice of Shadow Coaching® with global political, government, business and senior organizational leaders in the public and private sectors. Donna capitalizes on almost 30 years of experience in coaching, consulting and training to help clients and their organizations evolve into their level of excellence.