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The Power of “I Can’t”
There isn’t a phrase I like less than…“I can’t”. And when it comes to careers, professionals use this expression far too often.
I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. It’s a defeatist statement…and a mentality backed by excuses that reinforce the lack of belief in one’s own ability and power. Granted, not everything has a “sky’s the limit” tagline. But many times, “I can’t” is often driven by flawed factors including (1) lack of accurate market information; (2) lack of knowledge or confidence regarding how to achieve a desired goal; (3) as a pretext for other desires; and (4) Fear: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the effort, fear of being happy etc. Regardless of which driver is at play, a declaration of “I can’t” can be sabotaging – and compromise a career as well as chip away at self-esteem.
So the next time the expression comes to mind or voice, determine what’s behind it before throwing in the towel – and ask yourself the following questions:
Thoughtfully assessing the questions above helps create a framework to see an “I can’t” situation more clearly – and can pave the way for a more positive mindset and outcome. The insights can also unearth other motives or desires that may be the source of the negativity. And can highlight possible solutions/alternative approaches to tackle a seemingly unconquerable predicament…All benefits that can empower professionals to problem-solve rather than concede quickly to the why nots.
But perhaps more important, this exercise demonstrates that a person’s professional state of affairs are largely the products of his/her own choices. And “I can’t” is often more about “I choose not to” than it is about anything else. This realization may provide relief and strength to some…and discomfort to others. But it’s a reality that can be of great benefit if accepted and utilized in a positive way. So exorcize this statement from your verbal repertoire and replace it with something more empowering. And you’ll notice the impact. You can do it!
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