When I used to be an avid climber, I would push myself to try really hard routes, and would inevitably get to a place where I would say, “I can’t finish. Bring me down.”
In those moments, I was unsure if I truly couldn’t finish the route because it was physically too challenging, or if psychologically, I couldn’t finish the route because I didn’t want to keep going.
That is the difficulty with the phrase “I can’t”. We often throw it around without thinking of the true meaning.
From my perspective, when you “can’t” do something, it means you are physically unable to do it. I can’t jump 5 feet in the air. I can’t fly. I can’t swim underwater for 10 minutes without oxygen.
Too often, though, we say “I can’t” when we really mean “I won’t.”
“I can’t quit my job,” really means “I won’t quit my job.”
“I can’t ask for a raise,” really means “I won’t ask for a raise.”
“I can’t leave my husband,” really means “I won’t leave my husband.”
“I can’t say no,” really means “I won’t say no.”
You could physically do all these things, but you are choosing not to. When we think in terms of “I won’t” instead of “I can’t” it gets us out of the role of victim or martyr and puts us back in the driver’s seat. It becomes a choice rather than an imposition.
Now, I understand that many times you believe that you can’t do something. Quitting a job is one example that I come across quite often with people or clients. Quitting an unfulfilling job has a host of consequences that go with it, especially if you don’t have another job to go to. It completely shifts your financial situation, which will feel like something you “can’t” do. I get it.
So instead of thinking of not be able to quit your job, think of it in terms of “I won’t” and then start thinking of what you can do. You can start sending out your resume. You can set boundaries with your current boss, so you aren’t working such long hours. You can stop going to meetings with toxic co-workers. Etc.,.
When we shift out of “I can’t” and think in terms of what we can do, we shift the power back to ourselves.
Maybe you feel like you can’t ask for a raise, so what can you do?
Maybe you feel like you can’t leave your husband, so what can you do?
Maybe you feel like you can’t say no, so what can you do
Maybe you feel like you can’t find time to exercise, so what can you do?
Don't let the "cant's" bully you around. Instead be powered by the "cans."
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.