The Deadly Danger of Maybe

You don’t like to say no, so you say maybe. But saying maybe is more harmful than saying no.

You can’t execute on  maybe.

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You say maybe because you falsely believe it’s helpful. In reality, you need to be liked.

“Maybe” is unhelpful commitment:

  1. If I can.
  2. I’ll do my best.
  3. I’d like to, but I’m not sure…
  4. If I don’t show up, move forward without me.

What can teammates do with your maybe? Only one thing, wait! You can’t plan and move forward on a maybe.

You say maybe because you want to feel included and important without encumbering yourself.

“Maybe” is more selfish than no.

“Maybe” is harmful:

Every time you say maybe, you paralyze others. Should we find someone to do the job, or will you? Will you feel offended if you show up and someone else has filled your role?

Every time you say maybe, you limit yourself. Meaningful activities require commitment, focus, and energy.


“Maybe” distracts and drains energy like an unscratched itch.

Yes or no is simpler than maybe.

Keeping all your options open results in confusion and stagnation. 

Getting to yes or no:

  1. Execute on compassion. What is the compassionate thing to do?
  2. Inconvenience yourself in order to do things that matter. The world isn’t changed from your couch.
  3. Connect with your purpose.
  4. Spend most of your time leveraging your talent.
  5. Follow your energy. Engage in meaningful activities that give you energy and make a difference for others..
  6. If you’re tempted to say maybe, just say no. If you need some time, tell others you’ll let them know at the end of the day, for example.
  7. Engage in yes-activities; don’t dally with maybe.

How has “maybe” hindered you or your organization?

How might leaders get past “maybe?”