I can’t because...(insert excuse here)
I would but I….(insert self limiting belief here)
I am not able to because….(insert your rationalization)
It will not work because….(please list all the reasons that voice inside your head has given to convince you that your idea will not work)
Stop it, please stop it, and please do us all a favor and shut up!!!!! Not you the person, just that voice inside your head that keeps stopping you from living your best life and keeps you so busy with negative chatter you stay stuck! Why does that voice always do that? You can quiet that voice with a question.
Questions? Questions. Questions….they really are so powerful, what are just as powerful are our answers. Questions prompt us to respond, but how much of that is scripted? in other words shared exactly the same way all the time, as if on autopilot with no thought whatsoever. It is part of our programming, years of doing the same things, speaking to ourselves the same way, and others reinforcing those beliefs.
In graduate school we are taught questions to ask clients during the therapeutic process. The right questions prompt us to think deeply, force us to reflect, and once answered, especially once voiced out loud, our words, which are fueled by our thoughts and emotions have immense power. Power to cripple and power to create. So, we get to answer the questions with the understanding that there is a direct correlation between the words we choose and what we bring to fruition/manifest in our lives.
There is one question, that impacts me more than any other. I was asked the question some time ago during a time in my life when unbeknownst to me, I was living a life filled with self-limiting beliefs. I walked through life with thoughts that there were things I could not, should not, and would not be able to do because of a bunch of (fear based) reasons. My perceived inability to do something was linked to the belief that it was beyond my ability/control, and that other people would determine whether or not I would be successful.
I did not know then that we create our limits, others (parents, teachers, society) may have imposed limits on us but how long can we allow ourselves to have a cap, a ceiling, a limit, on our dreams? I see it now, I see it clearly and it supports me with supporting all of my amazing clients, friends and family with their self-talk and their self limiting beliefs.
I was presented with an opportunity at a time in my life when I had a lot on my plate. Family commitments, a career transition, a fitness journey, etc. At the time I truly believed I could not do it, it was unrealistic, and it would not be as important as everything else because it was more of an indulgent passion than a priority or what I felt I “should be doing,” so, I answered:
Reason/Excuse #1: “I can’t because I do not have enough time to prepare
Reason/Excuse #2: I am really not that good, it is just a hobby
Reason/Excuse #3: I am just not able to do it right now
The person presented me with the “one simple question” I will share in a moment and I felt invalidated, misunderstood and frustrated around why I was continuing to be asked to do something I clearly “could not” (not true) do.
And then I had to get very real with myself and ask the tough questions, “why do I keep pushing back?” “why am I defensive?” why am I struggling to answer this question?” “why am I not entertaining this concept, this idea that I can?” why won’t I allow myself to envision something different? (asking yourself those types of questions is crucial to self-awareness and self-actualization).
One question can create a whirlwind of thoughts and creativity, digging deeper and pushing limits. It inspires…
THAT ONE SIMPLE QUESTION THAT CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING IS:
BUT, WHAT IF YOU COULD?
It’s always interesting to me because the word “but” negates and so we know not to use the word “but” because it negates everything that came before it and with this question in particular, I am in love with the word BUT…why? because but is absolutely necessary for effect around saying, “let’s forget all of the reasons why you are claiming that you can not do this thing and talk about what it would look like if you could!” How freakin’ empowering!
Why? because when asked the question, it forces us out of the story we have been telling ourselves about our problem/situation and about who we are. It forces us to rewrite the script and create a version of our story where we get to have an empowering outcome, a more peaceful existence, a story of hope rather than a reiteration of all that is wrong in our lives.
Every time you tell yourself you can’t, every time you are bought into the fact that something is impossible either because other people have told you it is impossible or your negative self-talk has convinced you that it is impossible, stop, be intentional and ask yourself but, what if I could? what if it was possible? Give yourself permission to answer that question, to see yourself differently, to create an opportunity. Rewrite your story.
Get empowered by the answer and then go out and do it! Do the thing! Recognize the fear. Validate your feelings, ask yourself the question, and then decide to either make a decision based in fear or one based around belief in self and self-love. Remember this is not about being unrealistic or invalidating your circumstances. It is about challenging the beliefs you have about yourself, other people, and the world.
Fear will convince you that you can not
Fear will make you think you don’t care
Fear will tell you that it will not work
Fear will stifle your creativity
Fear will cheat you out of opportunities
Fear will steal your time
Fear will tell you that you are not good enough
Fear was created to protect you, thank it for bringing things to your attention and then put it on the shelf while you ask yourself…..
But, what if I could start that business I’ve been dreaming of ?
what if I could audition for my dream role?
what if I could commit to my partner?
what if I could start dating again after heartbreak?
what if I could pursue or figure out my passion?
what if I could go back to school?
what if I could tell her I love her?
what if I could come out to my family?
what if I could heal from the trauma I have experienced?
what if I could be happy?
what if I could forgive myself?
Ask yourself, what if I could?….
You can! You can! You can! It will take action and once you ask yourself what if I could? the next step is to Create a PLAN and then PUT IT IN ACTION. You may need the support of others, perhaps networking more often (try meetup.com), it may take gaining a new skill, or finding a therapist, it may take time, it may not happen overnight, and one thing that it will absolutely take to do this is courage!
Be courageous! If there is a goal that you have, if there is a dream that you aspire to, if there is a talent you would like to explore, if you would like to take your relationship to the next level, if there is a degree you would like to obtain, if there is a career change you have been considering making, if you would like to shoot your shot and just go for something…..before talking yourself out of it, before shutting the door that you never allowed to fully open, the next time you tell yourself you can’t, remember me asking you this one simple question….
BUT, WHAT IF YOU COULD?
Everything you need is everything you are. Wishing you love, light, clarity, and perseverance on your very amazing and necessary individual journey. Remember, you can!