What to do when you can't.


I was talking with a friend the other day and we were discussing various challenges in our lives. About one particular project he was working on he concluded, "It's just never going to be what I want it to be."

Have you ever felt that way? In a relationship or a job or a task or project? It's definitely not the way we wanted it so we concluded that it will never be the way we want it.

About an hour later it struck me. I said to my friend, "You mentioned earlier that your project will never be what you want it to be..."

He knew where I was going before I even finished. He's brilliant like that.

So he finished my thought, "Yeah, I think what I meant was that I don't know how to make it what I want it to be."

Exactly.

How many times do I turn the phrase "I don't know how" into "I can't"?

"I can't" is so much easier. It's so final. It absolves us of all responsibility. After all-- if you can't do it why should you be expected to?

"I don't know how" on the other hand hints at possibility. "I don't know how" means that you can ask someone else. It means you might be able to learn. It means there could be brighter days.

For my friend, surely there were people he could ask who are wiser than he or have done what he wants to accomplish. Surely there's a solution to his problem. Surely there are solutions to my problems, too.

So what are the "I cant's" or "It won'ts" in your life? What if we re-examined those "cant's" and started asking "What if I could but I just don't know how yet?" What could that do for our jobs, family, or community?

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