From “I Can’t” to “I Have”

How often do you hear people say “I can’t do (fill in the blank)?” How many times have you said I can’t? I hear it at least once a day at work. Only it’s “We can’t do that?”  All too often we focus on the negative and not on the right question.  You should retrain yourself to ask “How can I do …?” Personally I believe “I can’t” can be two of the most dangerous words in combination with each other. Those two words are a big factor in people being unable to accomplish many things they want to do in life. They are an excuse.

If you find yourself saying, “I can’t,” stop for a moment and change that to “How can I/we …”  This simple change in thinking can make a huge difference.  In many cases, “I can’t” really means “I won’t,” or “I don’t want to.” Think about how often you say that you can’t do something. The moment these two words used together slip out, it gives us an excuse to stop problem solving.  Now, if you say instead “how can I do …”, well then, a whole new world of possibilities open up and you can then start looking for creative solutions.

How many times is it just a minor obstacle standing in your way, something small that using “I can’t” provides the excuse to not try to overcome? Often, with just a little bit of effort, you can get around these small obstacles, and accomplish tasks you thought impossible. Take a look at what you think is standing in your way, think of ways around it, and “I can’t” can become “I can.”

Now that you are starting to think “I can” and you begin to see the positive outcomes of this mindset, you need to move to the next level. (Did I just hear you say “I can’t?”) Certainly, it is better to think that you can do something than thinking that you can’t; right?. Oh no, curve ball … however, “I can” can also be risky. How so you ask? After all I just told you that thinking you can do something is a good thing.

So, now you know you can, the question becomes, why aren’t you? “I can” is a good step in the right direction, but at this point there is just the belief that you can accomplish something. But belief without action is nothing. Once you determine you can, you need to put action behind it and do it, which leads us to the next phase … “I will.”

“I can” + action = awesome!

This step is where you take a hard look at what you want to accomplish, and start thinking about how to do it. Write out your goals, and the steps needed to achieve the goals. Spend an adequate amount of time planning what you need to do to accomplish your goals, but not too much.  Too much becomes what I call “analysis paralysis” (no I didn’t coin the phrase but I like it).  Do not spend too much time planning. It is easy to get caught up in the trap of over planning, and over thinking. At some point you need to simply start doing. You need to start taking action on your plans. “I can” + action = awesome!

Now, you’ve taken action and have reached the “I am” stage. You have overcome the fear and inaction of “I can’t.” You have moved beyond simply believing “I can”. You have made your plans in the “I will” stage. Look at your steps to reach your goals and get going! Just take it one step at a time and move closer and closer to your goals. Baby steps are great! Along your journey you may find other obstacles pop up. Remember, step back and ask “how can I …” Don’t let it stop you; figure out a way around them. Keep moving forward and soon you’ll find yourself at “I have.”

YES! “I have” is accomplishment. You’ve overcome your fear, believed that you could do it, planned it out, and taken action. Sweet! Now you are seeing the results of your efforts. You’ve reached your goals. Doesn’t that feel awesome?

Think of some areas of your life where you can apply this and go from “I can’t” to “I have.”