If you don’t believe that some future goal is actually achievable or likely to happen, would you still put your heart into it and go after it? I am sure your answer is NO!
People only really wholeheartedly pursue the aspirations that they believe are achievable and doable.
I was trying to convince a client that he can achieve the promotion he wanted to VP in the short time frame he wanted, but he was very skeptical about his odds for success as he could not see any apparent openings for a VP role in the foreseeable future. He kept telling me “There is no way!” This was his outlook and mindset about his chances to succeed. Needless to say, he remained discouraged and he took no action to look or explore any further.
But then, something happened that changed his mind. The company announced a major reorganization and in the shuffle a couple of new leadership roles became available. They were not published as VP roles, however, their scope suggested that they could become so.
The competition for these new roles was fierce. However, these openings shifted my client’s mindset away from “There is no way!”. He saw a new possibility and his mindset shifted to “But, of course!” As his outlook shifted so did his spirit, energy, and behaviors.
He got up the next day dusted off his resume and started sending out emails and setting up meetings to make his request to be considered for the new role known. He ended up getting one of the new leadership roles, with a promise that over the following three months he would be promoted to VP.
There is a lesson in my client’s example for all of us!
We all know that in the last 5-10 years the rate of change has been the fastest ever. There are so many examples in business and society of realities that were considered impossible for a long time, or not considered or imagined at all, that have actually happened. Take the end of Apartheid, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as the advances in flight, the Apple empire, September 11th, and the most recent financial collapse to mention just a few.
In 1895 Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society said:
“Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.”
In 1943 Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM said:
“There is a world market for about five computers.”
And Ken Olsen, President of Digital Equipment Corp said:
“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer at their home.”
And to top it all, in 1899 Charles H. Duel, Director of the U.S. Patent Office said:
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
We really do not know what is possible in the future, including for us personally.
Whenever you want to achieve something and your mindset about it is “There is no way!” all you have to do is shift your mindset to “But, of course!” and your outlook and behaviors will automatically shift too.
At times, that could be easier said than done. Here are three practical tips for how to proactively shift your mindset and belief in this way:
- Don’t confuse facts with beliefs and feelings. When we feel that something is beyond our reach and we feel “it’s never going to happen for us” that is NOT a fact, it’s a belief or feeling. When people describe to me why they will have difficulty to achieve their goals they often say things like: “It is going to be hard” or “It is going to take a long time“. First of all, the actual premise of describing the future as if it is a fact is flawed. There are no facts about the future as it hasn’t happened yet. The more you have awareness and can tell the difference between your beliefs and the facts, you will be able to have more powerful and open thoughts about what could be possible for you.
- Start questioning your own and other’s assumptions and truths. We don’t question our own thoughts and assumptions, as well as other people’s statements enough. If we think that something is not doable, we rarely challenge our own thought with “Why not?”, “Who said it isn’t possible?“. We take our own limiting thoughts as well as people’s limiting statements as truth and fact, even when they are NOT. In fact, it’s worse, we start collecting evidence that it isn’t possible. But, once you shift your thought process, you will start collecting evidence that what you want is in fact possible.
- Ask for help from the right people. If you want to achieve something that you have never achieved before and you have doubts about your ability to do so, find someone who has achieved that goal and ask them for help, support, guidance, and coaching. Trust me, your paradigm will shift very quickly as they enlighten you with new ways of thinking and viewing your desired outcome and all the obstacles that you think are in your way.
It takes courage to stay awake and aware, not fall into false and limiting assumptions and think independently. It’s easier to conform to common thinking about what is possible and not possible. It’s easier to replicate other people’s benchmarks and use these as your benchmark.
But it is much more exciting, stimulating and empowering to push your thinking beyond the norm and be a pioneer in imagining, staking, pursuing and fulfilling your own life vision and aspirations.