Often, we mistake possibility for competence. We think something is not possible when in fact we just do not know how to do it.
Everything you have ever learnt and mastered started with not knowing how to do it, from learning to walk, riding a bicycle, driving a car. I remember how daunting it was on my first driving lesson, mirror, signal manoeuvre as well as having to master clutch control. Impossible, I thought!
We set ourselves up for failure; we mistake competence and knowledge for failure when all it is, is lack of knowledge, lack of know-how. I come across this all the time when coaching, mainly a client, has not achieved the outcome they wanted. I tell them “you don’t know what you don’t know. Yet”. If you don’t know how to do it, how could you possibly achieve it?
Everything is simple when you know how to do it. I wish I knew that years ago, instead of beating myself up and telling myself I was useless.
What story have you told yourself about trying to achieve something?
You have not yet reached the limit of what you are capable of. The only way you can prove you are capable of achieving a goal is when you achieve it. Until then, you don’t know, so it is better to believe you can. It is just as realistic to believe you can as to believe you cannot.
You can never prove you cannot achieve a goal because you cannot prove a negative. You can only say that you have not achieved it YET.
History is littered with impossible feats that became possible. Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mount Everest in 1953, Orville and Wilbur Wright with their first successful self propelled propeller-driven biplane in 1903 and NASA landing on the moon in 1969 all had their doubters that it was possible.
Once it was thought impossible for any human being to run a mile in less than four minutes, then Roger Bannister did it at Oxford on 6th May 1954. After that, a strange thing happened – more and more athletes started running a mile in under four minutes, and dozens had done it, two years on. This ‘impossible’ achievement changed a worldwide belief in what is possible.
Our lives are on hold at the moment, and we don’t know what normal will be. What I do know just like Roger Banister and all our other courageous pioneers was that impossible does not stay impossible forever.
What is important to you right now? What do you have the courage to do, and how are you going to make it possible?
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