The Myth of “I Can’t”

Just two characters differentiate between ‘Can’ and ‘Can’t’, however, their impact is unbelievable.

Six years ago ‘We Can’ was the mantra I used with my students to motivate them to do their best in a Community and Service project I was leading and in which they were serving a group of Visually Impaired children. The two words worked like magic and not only my pupils reached their goals, they exceeded them. My main victory as a leader was embedding in my students a belief in their abilities and especially in such a young age; the teenage. What I failed to noticed back them was the many ‘I can’t’ I was repeating to myself and which formed a lens through which I saw myself.

Along my journey to become a Coach I learned how people grow up with limiting beliefs and how these beliefs affect them and control their lives. I discovered that ‘I can’t’ was a limiting belief. Reflecting on my life I noticed how I used to tell myself that I can’t write a novel, which I was capable of doing. And how I used to tell myself I can’t ride a motorcycle which I’m doing.

The Awareness

Analysing what happened in both situations I noticed how awareness was the beginning of change. With the novel I became aware that if I die without trying to write a novel I would feel regretful on my deathbed. I became aware that I have a desired outcome and that it’s very important for me to try to pursue it to avoid the pain of regret.

With the motorcycle the situation was different. I became aware of my fear. I was scared to ride a motorcycle. And I framed myself from my childhood that I possessed very poor coordination between my mind and my body. This was another limiting belief. I resisted for months to give it a try while my partner was very excited about me sharing with him this new hobby. I became aware of his wish and how important it was for him and I became motivated to change my mind frame for our relationship.

The Confrontation

My second observation was that admitting how I felt enabled me to turn the ‘I Can’t’ into ‘I Can’. I no longer denied my feelings and thoughts. I confronted them and shared them with the ones I trusted. I talked about them out loud and explored them and their references.

The Assistance 

My next step was asking for help. To write my novel I subscribed in Writing classes and asked for the support of numerous people every time I faced a challenge. Yet with the motorcycle it was different. I enrolled in a course and learned how to ride. However, I had fears. I was scared. These negative feelings were a gift as they alarmed me that there was something in my subconscious that I had to deal with. I expressed my fears to my partner and we developed a strategy to deal with my negative feelings. Unconsciously he coached me and enabled me to develop trust and confidence in my physical abilities and gradually my fear evaporated.

How many ‘I Can’t’ have you been telling yourself? And what were their impact on your self-confidence and your relationships? Give yourself permission to erase only two characters from this limiting belief and experience your life from a total new dimension.

If you still believe that you can’t, you can always ask for help!

“Thank you for giving me the chance to do something others my age don’t do. Thank you for teaching me that I’m not alone in this world. Thank you for showing me that a simple action can make a huge difference. Thank you for making me look at people differently and for appreciating the simple actions of others. Thank you for trusting my capabilities and for making me believe that I can actually change the world.” Hoda Labib, my student, 2013.