How Can I Create New Possibilities?

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow. ~Edward Sandford Martin

Do you have particular You Tube videos you like to watch over and over like I do? I pick humorous or inspirational favorites to watch on days when my energy is flagging and I need an emotional or spiritual lift.

I recently noticed a new link on a favorite video. When I clicked on the link, I became intrigued by a challenge posed there. The challenge is to notice when you say to yourself “I Can’t!”, and instead ask yourself “How Can I?”

I love that!

In these challenging times, it can be especially easy to fall into the trap of “I Can’t!” thinking when so many people are facing job losses, bankruptcies, home foreclosures, and speculation in the media about other potentially bad news looming on the horizon.

Here are a few examples of “I can’t” thinking I’ve been hearing lately…

  • I can’t find a good job in this economy
  • I can’t afford to change careers
  • I can’t put one more thing on my plate!
  • I can’t start (or expand) a business now
  • I can’t pursue my passion or purpose – I can’t even pay my mortgage!

I’ve found that asking “Why not?” isn’t generally very helpful either. That question tends to put the focus on defending positions with reasons and excuses. Focusing on reasons and excuses keeps people stuck and shuts down possibility.

One way to avoid the trap of “I Can’t!” thinking to create a Fresh Start is to intentionally turn “I Can’t!” into “How Can I?” questions.

  • How can I find a good job in this economy?
  • How can I afford to change careers?
  • How can I make room on my plate for what matters?
  • How can I start (or expand) my business now?
  • How can I start to pursue my passion and purpose right now – AND pay my mortgage?

Our brains are amazing! When we ask a question, the brain immediately goes to work on finding an answer. The trick is to train yourself to ask questions that are worthy of your brain’s incredible powers of creativity and broad scope of capability.

A friend of mine calls the brain our “onboard biological computer”. Its job, other than keeping our bodies functioning, is to solve problems. If you don’t give it worthwhile problems to solve, then it tends to make up problems and the problems it invents might end up creating mischief in your life. Just like improperly trained kids (and dogs), it takes a bit of discipline, practice, and focus to avoid the trap of “I Can’t!” thinking to stay on track about what matters.

Since it’s Thanksgiving, you have likely read and heard all kinds of things about gratitude. If you are facing particularly challenging circumstances, you may be thinking “I can’t feel grateful about my current situation.” What do you think might be different if you instead asked, “How can I feel grateful about my current situation?”

Asking this question gives you an opportunity to avoid falling into the trap of “I Can’t!” thinking and instead draw upon your internal genius and creativity to find an answer. Wouldn’t it be a Fresh Start  to feel grateful for having the courage to even ask that question of yourself?

Don’t force an answer if one isn’t immediately forthcoming. Take your attention off the question and focus on something else. Allow your subconscious brain to continue working on the problem. Your job is to pay attention to whatever ideas you get or whatever impulses for action that pop up.

Take the question of “How Can I?” with you throughout your Thanksgiving holiday. Ask it whenever a challenging situation comes up and you want to say “I can’t deal with this!” Before you know it, you may find that you experience a greater sense of power, peace, freedom and joy – and yes, even gratitude.

You’ll love the video!


Ready to escape the trap of “I Can’t” thinking? Call Coach Sue for a complimentary “Get Acquainted” coaching session or email