Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mission Impossible

As part of an exercise I've been doing for a coaching plan, I wrote an impossible list. If it's not particularly clear by the title, it's a list of everything that seems impossible for me to accomplish (that I'd want to accomplish in the first place). I didn't understand the point of the exercise at first. Writing a list of all the things you can't do when you're feeling pretty bad about yourself doesn't particularly sound like a good idea.

As I tried to create my list, being the honest person that I am and taking the word impossible at its true definition, I found I was having a tough time creating my list at all. Sure, there were things on there that I didn't feel confident that I'd accomplish. There were items that seemed highly unlikely. Then there were those items that I thought, "I really just don't have enough faith in my ability to do this". Now mind you, I kept all of these items on there because they'd come to mind, and because at the moment that they popped in my head, they seemed impossible.  When I really studied the list, though, I had to admit, most of them weren't actually impossible. Impossible would be a goal that for whatever reason required me to be six feet tall, because I'm 34 years old and presumably never going to grow past my current height of five feet. Luckily none of my goals have a height requirement, so I'm safe there. With this as a contrast, I realized that we often use the word and mindset of impossible a little too carelessly and willingly.   

I'm not sure if this reverse psychology was what the exercise intended. Perhaps it was truly to weed out the unrealistic goals and standards we focus on in order to put more energy and effort into those that we can accomplish. My guess is, though, that this is exactly why the creator of this plan had in mind. It was a pretty good reminder of all of the little lies I tell myself about the things I can't do and the abilities I don't have. This certainly doesn't mean that I will accomplish all of the goals and dreams I have. What it means is, I have been giving myself less credit than I should.  I've been using absolute words like never and always (as in "I'll always be bad at xyz), when I could use slightly gentler, more pliable, more flexible words.

I suppose that in the end, very little is impossible. At least very little that we want to accomplish in the day to day of our lives. It might be weighty or difficult or take learning a new skill or tweaking things in our life. It might even mean big sacrifices or changes or adjustments in attitude. Those, though, are more manageable than impossible, because it puts the control and the power back in our hands. Which exactly where we need it to be to make things happen.

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