Facing a Challenge: 5 Steps to Turn Can’t into Can

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Often when we are facing a challenge, we evaluate our abilities and size up the problem to see if we are a match for the task at hand. The funny thing about humans, is we usually start with noticing what we are NOT equipped to do. We go through our catalog of weaknesses before looking at our strengths. Often when we do this, we automatically set ourselves up to opt out. We think ‘I can’t’ instead of ‘I can’. We go around listing all the things we are incapable of. And guess what? You get to play it safe. And small.

What would life look like if you went around giving yourself reasons for why you CAN instead of CAN’T?

You see, we give ourselves reasons for everything but consider that all reasons are made up. Sometimes there are valid circumstances, but often we can come up with an excuse for anything, right? So if you are going to make up a reason, make one that will empower you. Instead of saying ‘I can’t go to Paris in June because I don’t have the money’ you could say ‘I can go to Paris in June because I am resourceful and I can find extra jobs to pick up in the next couple of months to afford it’. Instead of looking at all the reasons you CAN’T do something, start with painting a picture of what you CAN. Just create, have fun- this is where you may surprise yourself to know that the ‘impossible’ is possible!

Everyone has strengths and it is important to pull from these strengths when facing a challenge. When we come from the mindset of only looking at the negatives, we limit ourselves and speak to our smallness rather than our bigness.

So take a challenge in your life right now. Look at something you are stuck in or a goal in which you feel blocked at achieving and follow these steps.

Don’t even BOTHER looking at what you can’t do. It is the can’ts that have you stuck.

  1. Write down your strengths as a person- things you feel confident at doing.
  2. Look at how these strengths can be used to tackle the challenge.
  3. Look at the challenge with wonder and curiosity. Create. Say ‘what if I did this’, connecting your strengths.
  4. Write out 5 ‘I can’ statements. Even if they are small actions, there is always something you CAN do about the challenge.
  5. Take those 5 actions and see where they take you. Then re-evaluate by repeating the ‘I CAN’ exercise.

Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by trying to figure out a long term plan and having everything put together before we take action. This only creates anxiety and brings us quickly into the ‘I can’t’ mindset. This is why I recommend starting to address a challenge from a positive mindset shift, focusing only on your next 5 steps as opposed to your next 50.

Yes, you can. (Thanks Obama).

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