What if the word “can’t” wasn’t in your vocabulary? Are you the type of person that when they hear this word this…oh yes I can! If so, consider yourself fortunate, as this is one of the words which derails dreams and keeps people from doing extraordinary things in their life. How do I know? Well, I’m one of the types of people who hit the “ignore” button when I hear this word.
Sure, there are reasons why when someone is told they “can’t” do something they automatically default to feeling dejected, but what if you didn’t hear this word, and instead heard “yes”, you can do that? Of course, there are things which would be absurd to tell someone they cannot do something, so I am qualifying this concept to apply to rationale actions and activities.
Think about the last time you heard someone tell you that you couldn’t do what you wanted to do, or needed their permission to do. How did it make you feel? Did you immediately give up and think there was no path forward? Or, did you immediately start thinking about what your Plan B, C, D, etc. would be? For those of you in the sales profession, you are much more accustomed to being able to hear the words no, and not always accept it as the final decision. You are trained to come back with other methods to hear the word “yes”, or essentially you can.
Since salespeople are trained to convince others their solution or pitch is the best option, can non-sales people learn how to take a page out of the salespersons playbook to hear “yes” or you can more often? Of course, you can! However, the question is do you really want to? Or, are you comfortable with more of the same, and not pushing into unchartered territory to really go after what you want?
I have often talked about how people in general are resistant to change. In fact, we are biologically programmed to be more conservative and risk adverse naturally to protect ourselves physically. However, this can also apply to mentally shielding ourselves from taking risk when we hear we can’t do something.
If someone granted you permission to live your life and operate in a professional environment sans the word “can’t”, what would be the first thing you do? Would you go back to your boss or team and have a different conversation from the last one which shut down your idea or request to do something? What would the impact of hearing “yes” you “can” do for you?
We know how impactful words can be. Especially harsh words. However, what if more of the words we heard expressed when we were pursuing something resulted in hearing exactly what we wanted to hear? Can you imagine being able to handle this? Are you smiling? You should be, because your professional scenario could be entirely different than it is now if “can’t” wasn’t a word your heard or had to react to.
So, what can you do to hear “can” or “yes” more often? Here are some suggestions to put to the test:
- Always have at a minimum a secondary plan in place, and assume your Plan A might not be accepted. Even if you think your Plan A is the best plan in the world, others might not see it that way.
- Consider whether what you are proposing is only self-serving, or whether you have thought about whether you are actually solving a problem or challenge or providing a better solution if there is an existing one.
- Do you really want to hear yes, or are you expecting to hear “no”, or “you can’t” do that? Often, we go into requesting what we want with a weak proposition, or one that is confusing and not verbally expressed in a way which could be misinterpreted negatively and would make it difficult to say yes to. Always be crystal clear.
- Practice your pitch or request if it is something you have to obtain the go ahead from another person or a group. Actors always rehearse before they perform in front of an audience, so you should too. Essentially you are putting on a performance, and you want it to get rave reviews.
- Are you conditioned not to go after what you want because you have heard “no” or “you can’t” so often? Make a list of the times you have heard no or your can’t. Categorize the responses into how much of an impact hearing a negative statement impacted your current professional or personal situation. Use a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest level of negative impact.
- Take a glance at how many 5’s you have heard. Be honest. Not all of the “no’s” or “cant’s” are going to be worthy of a 5 rating. However, some will be.
- Based on each of your categories or requests to hear a “yes”, did you give up after one attempt? Or, did you try two or three more times to receive a different answer? Consider J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. She is the perfect example of someone pursuing her plan until she received the response she was looking for. Do you have what it takes to be that persistent? It’s possible in some instances it’s going to take this type of tenacity to get the results you are after.
Circling back to my original concept of living in a world where “can’t” isn’t part of our vocabulary, can you now imagine based on having some suggestions that you might consider giving this mindset a try? I hope you do, as it can seriously be a game changer for the direction your career and life are headed.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.
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