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“I can’t ____ because ____.”
Much of my work as a coach and teacher involves questioning this thought—not only in others, but in myself. And what a huge stinking cow patty it is (to put it mildly).
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “cow patty,” I’m not referring to a hamburger. (See also: cow pie, cow chip, cow dung, steaming pile of manure.)
Getting back to the topic at hand.
“I can’t…” is just a ridiculous thought. Others are available and much more useful. At least that’s what my own coach says when I’ve stepped into said patty.
As I’ve been going through the transitioning process myself, starting a new business and having to do and learn things that make me horribly uncomfortable, it’s one of the thoughts that gets me fired up when I hear it from others.
Not at them, but for them. It’s like we approach middle age and just go, “Well…I guess this is it, Dorothy. This is all I can do.”
Is that really true? Is it all you can do? No one in your situation has ever been able to do whatever it is that you want to do? No one out of over seven billion people currently on the planet, let alone all those who have come before us?
If you’re able to read this, you have access to every single resource you would need to find a way to accomplish whatever your statement entails.
You have access to Google, which can find an answer to any question. You have access to YouTube, which has over 300 hours of content uploaded every minute.
You have access to online public libraries and forums from all over the world. Heck, you have access to actual human beings from all over the world.
You have access to coaches and therapists online and don’t even have to leave your computer or phone to make an appointment or have a session.
Try this statement on instead the next time your inner Debbie Downer tries to keep you safely in your comfort zone.
“I can’t ____ because no one has ever done it before.”
>> “I can’t improve my life because no one has ever done it before.”
>> “I can’t find a loving partner because no one has ever done it before.”
>> “I can’t get in shape because no one has ever done it before.”
>> “I can’t get out of debt because no one has ever done it before.”
>> “I can’t leave this soul-crushing job because no one has ever done it before.”
>> “I can’t learn how to be a better (parent, spouse, friend, boss, employee, human) because no one has ever done it before.”
Ouch. Do you see what I mean now?
We all trick ourselves into believing these little lies of “I can’t.” And they are lies. If you don’t believe that, take your “can’t” statement to Google or YouTube and someone will prove to you that you can.
And be on the lookout for the sinister sister statement of “I can’t,” which is, “That’s easy for you to say because…”
Please, don’t waste any more time proclaiming that you can’t. Imagine the little six-year-old you, with stars in your eyes and all of your big hopes and dreams out there in the great beyond known as adulthood.
Now see adult you, crushing those hopes and dreams for little you because it’s hard, you’re scared, and you don’t want to risk failure. Oh, the humanity! Think of the children, for heaven’s sake.
Just for now, humor me and try on the thought, “I could learn to ____ because the information is available.”
Or, “I can figure out how to ____ because other people have done it (or can help me).”
Or even, “Today I will ____ (insert baby step here) to get started.”
Now…pull up your big-kid pants, clip on some suspenders so they don’t fall right back down into the “I can’t” patty, and get started already.
Life isn’t going to wait endlessly for you to snap out of your reverie and hold out a white-gloved hand to pull you up. But I will. And all of those other people in your life who see you in all of your unpolished brilliance will, too.
Don’t waste any more time listening to the naysayers who are holding you back. They are still blind to their own stories of “I can’t.”