“Can’t” Really Means “Can”

Owning your own business has its freedoms as well as its challenges. As a business owner, you can plan your day and do all of the activities that you absolutely love, like taking that client that you connect with out to lunch, or writing that newsletter or blog, etc.  However, these freedoms of business ownership can also hold us back from realizing true success if we are not setting our intentions on the things that absolutely drive business, such as relationship building, which may require follow up phone calls, emails and networking. You may not like these activities, but they are necessary to growing your business, however there is always a reason why you don’t do them. So why don’t you do them?Direction

Think for a moment, what is that one thing that you don’t like to do in your business that if you were engaged in would help you address and solve issues and ultimately help you to attract more business? What is the one thing that is a MUST do that you manage to find an excuse not to do?  You probably said, one of the reasons you always put off the task you least like is because you are telling yourself that you “can’t”. How many times in our lives have we talked ourselves out of something that we really wanted to achieve because we told ourselves that we “can’t” do the things needed to drive to the success, and so we missed out on the opportunity? It just slipped through our fingers, gone with the wind simply because we carry the burden of “can’t” with us.

Each of us has enormous potential to manifest what we want in our businesses and in our lives. Our own mis-belief in ourselves and in our ability is what holds us back from achieving our definition of success. Therefore, we don’t make the call; attend the meeting or networking event, etc., and miss key opportunities. We have all done some amazing things in our lives, which is probably why we started our own business in the first place. Think back to when you were a child, your first time tying your shoe, riding a bike, going away to summer camp or college, playing a sport that you loved, or taking a part in the school play. How did you get over the limitation of “I can’t”?  You probably never thought that you couldn’t in the first place; you just did it because you were fearless!   You wanted “it” so badly that your internal message was “can” and the word “can’t” never even entered your mind.

There are four things in coaching that are attributed to limited success, they are called G.A.I.L.s;  Gremlins, Assumptions, Interpretations and Limiting Beliefs.

Gremlins are the negative “self-talk” that people put themselves through in an emotionally charged situation. Often, the words used to describe the circumstances in life or a particular situation is negative; “I’m not enough”, “ they won’t accept me”, “I have nothing interesting to say, so no one will talk to me”, “I can’t”. These phrases are generally linked to a person’s thought process that they are in fact not enough. Think about it, how many times you have engaged in an “internal” conversation with yourself and the words you used to describe your situation or how you were feeling were negative? Those words are typically tied to your emotional state at the time.  Here is where you take that negative talk and turn it positive. Therefore, the phrase “they won’t accept me” can be turned to “I am bound to meet someone in the room that I can connect with.”

Assumptions are about history; in other words, you base your decision on a past event and defeat yourself because you assume that the same situation will happen again. Not always true and how do you know unless you try? If something happened in the past, why must it happen again? Treat the experiences as lessons learned and change your approach.

Interpretations are about how we look at a situation in our lives and in the lives of others, and we perceive things to be a certain way and therefore they become our reality. What can help here is to engage yourself in asking questions like, “how can I see this another way”, “what might be the completely opposite point of view that I could consider?” In other words, instead of the negative “self-talk”, see it from a more positive perspective. Okay, so you attended an event, you were talking to someone, and they had a blank stare on their face and walked away. The negative self-talk would say, “what the heck is his problem”, or “he thinks he’s too good to talk to me.”  The positive self-talk would say, “maybe he is distracted”, or “maybe he didn’t understand my 30 second elevator pitch.”

Limiting Beliefs are beliefs that are engrained in us over time. We learn our belief systems as very little children and we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs.  We may think and feel things like, “Life isn’t fair to people like me”, “I’m just not strong enough or smart enough to figure this out.”  Anything you say to yourself to justify why it isn’t working out for you is a limiting belief.

It’s all about the gift of our “decisions in whether or not we embrace the G.A.I.L.s.  Deciding if we “can” or “can’t” is a fundamental thought process, which begins early on in life; probably long before our first childhood memories.  Often, a “can’t do” attitude derives from emotion, past experiences, our interpretations and limiting beliefs, which others may have planted within us like seeds. Mastering your mindset is the key! You can do the same with that unsavory task that you absolutely hate. You can learn to master it by turning off the “can’t do” switch and turning on the “can do” switch. So now, you are asking, well how?

Identify what it is that tells you that you “can’t do” and make sure that it is real and write it down. Then write the reason next to it why you “can” do it. For example, “I can’t make cold calls” is really a “can” because; you have a telephone, contact information at your disposal and a voice. You simply need a script and you’re on your way to making the calls. However, if you said, “ I can’t make cold calls because I will be rejected”, now you have identified the “fear” of why you say that you can’t make the calls. Your fear of “rejection” is in the way. At this point, you could go deeper to understand what “rejection” means to you but that’s another article. However, fear is really about confidence. At this point, it’s about the decision to get over the fear and the way in which you do that is by taking charge of it.

Write down the fear and then next to it, write why you think that you “can’t” and give the fear a name if that appeals to you (e.g., unable Annie). Now, write all of the reasons why you “can” (“I’m smart”, “I have a people personality”,” my voice is soothing and easy to listen to”, “people trust and believe in my product or service”, etc.). What you will find is that your positive list of attributes, your “cans” is greater than the negatives you’ve written; focus on the positive. Now, take the first step to overcoming the fear, and then the next step and the next until you have developed confidence. Set small goals each day to achieve and master what’s holding you back until you have developed confidence. For example, if you decided to call a specific number of business decision-makers each day, you might determine that you will call five a day starting at 10am on Tuesday. The next week, you may increase that number to 10 or 15 per day. The point here is to make the initial and subsequent goals attainable. The benefit in this is that you are setting and attaining goals and developing confidence in the interim. If you are rejected, it’s all right, not every business or decision-maker is going to want or need your services.  The bottom-line is that you are active in overcoming the fear and taking charge of building your business. You made the calls, developed some confidence and maybe even got some prospects or clients in doing so.

Create a safe space to operate in; most obstacles are self-imposed. Your limiting decisions hide out in the areas where you’re producing results that you don’t want. So, set the tone for success.For instance, you don’t like going to networking events because you don’t like the discomfort of striking up conversations with strangers. Okay so you don’t like talking to strangers and maybe you don’t like it because you don’t know what to say, or you let that limiting belief get in the way. Choose one person in the room in which you think you can connect and begin the conversation by talking about the weather, giving them a compliment or talking about how much you like the event. Its sounds cliché but it works.

Remind yourself of all the opportunities that you’ve experienced when you turned on the “can do” switch and never even looked at the “can’t do” switch. Who knows, you may achieve something that you may have only dreamt would be possible!


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