Can You or Can’t You? The evidence is in and the choice is up to you.

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Usain Bolt was the talk of the London Olympics and with his world record and number of gold medals he is a deserved sporting hero.

Usain Bolt (right) and Yohan Blake on the podium London 2012

Usain Bolt (right) and Yohan Blake on the podium London 2012

While I appreciated his win, I observed something which I found very interesting. Yohan Blake, the silver medallist also of Jamaica, ran a world record time as well.

This is not unusual. In the 1992 Olympics Kieren Perkins, of Australia, smashed the world record for the 1500m freestyle swimming event. Glen Housman, also of Australia, won silver and would have the world record if Kieren Perkins was not in the event.

I find it interesting almost every time a country produces a superstar in a particular sport one or more champions in the same sport or event appear from the same country.

This outcome is easily observed in almost every field of human endeavour. When there is an outstanding singer in a musical production average performers will step up and become great. In business, when there is one person producing outstanding results those around them tend to perform better as well.

Is there a limit?

When I coach business and sales people I rarely ask ‘can they’ as most people I work with know how to sell and build a business in the same way most of us know how to run and swim. The question is not about the ability it is about their motivation. The question I ask is ‘will they?’

These are the things I listen for;

    • I can’t bring myself to ask for the order
    • I can’t see us doing the job in the timeframe
    • My sales target is too high – it’s impossible
    • The economy is bad
    • There is not enough opportunity

As a child we are taught not to see limits. We try new things every day to the joy of our parents and relatives. There is nothing we can not achieve. But for some reason this period of belief comes to an early end and we are taught about limits.

Imagine what could happen if you freed yourself of all the imaginary limits you impose on yourself by using the word ‘can’t’. This is what happens in countries where a superstar emerges. The word ‘can’t’ is replaced with evidence it can be done. In business people working with high achievers see evidence high achievement is possible. Once you are freed of the imaginary limits nothing is impossible.

Replace Can’t

The word can’t is an interesting word as it is made up of the words ‘can’ and ‘not’, so it actually means you are capable of ‘not doing’ whatever you think you can’t do. When someone says ‘I can’t’ what they are saying is ‘I choose not to.’

Here are some alternatives to can’t;

    • “What would happen if I were to ask for the order?”
    • “What would we need to do to get this done in time?”
    • “What could I do to make this sales target work for me?” Or “What sales target could I achieve?”
    • “What could I do to help people take advantage of a poor economy?”

Henry Ford is quoted as saying “Whether you think you can or can’t – you are right.”

Today’s question and Actions

This week I want you to do two things;

  1. when you are faced with a challenging situation, or you are just feeling down, consider the words you are using. Try inserting words like “Just suppose” and “what could I do” or “What would happen if”.
  2. look for a champion you can relate to. Someone who is already achieving, roughly, what you want to achieve. They do not have to be a global superstar, just someone you can aspire to be like and learn more about them.

You may be surprised how quickly your outlook  and results change.

Have a great week

Greg

About Greg

Business and sales leader, as well as author, who brings to life the science of human behaviour and motivation. Where influencing others decisions and their behaviour is critical to success I bring new and innovative tools to make this happen.
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