What do we do at a green light? Right…we go. Red light? Stop. Yellow light? Go faster! Well…maybe we shouldn’t but that’s what Jeff Bridges’ character observantly comments in the 1984 sci-fi classic Starman.

In business, as in life, we have our green lights, yellow lights, and red lights. Green and red lights are easy. It’s the yellow lights that give us cause for concern. Do slow down and stop or do we speed up to get through it?

There’s no one right answer because it depends on your situation but you can become aware of your default response. For our purposes here, a yellow light is anything that you’re unsure about. It isn’t clear if you should go for it or if it would be better to stop and wait.

Of course we never know the right answer until it’s all said and done. But in that moment of decision, we have an opportunity to grow.  We can check to see if our hesitation is because it’s not the right move analytically or it’s not the right move intuitively or perhaps the third option of fear.

If it isn’t right analytically, you should stop.  If something doesn’t feel right, then again it may not be right. Our intuition is our unconscious mind’s way of telling us something we’re not fully aware of consciously so we want to pay attention to that voice inside too.  However, if its fear…hit the gas and go for it.

So when it’s green, go for it. If it’s red, stop.  If it’s yellow, check to see if it makes sense and if it does, pretend you’re the Starman…and accelerate!

“An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight. . . The truly wise person is colorblind.”

–  Albert Schweitzer

John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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