REthink: Turning Your “Can’ts” Into “Cans”
I got sick of my own limitations.
That’s pretty much it.
I became tired of my own mental obstacles and excuses.
Too many red stop signs began to pop up in my head. Every day. Or maybe I just am at a point where I can see them now.
These stop signs make me put on the brakes. They stop me in my tracks. They cause me to sit at the stop sign and do nothing.
I finally became fed up with these stop signs. The worst form of limitations is that which we put on ourselves!
The truth is: we actually CAN control what we let stop us. They’re actually in operation because we let them.
Our mental obstacles are not only very much within our control, they are changeable. Thank heavens.
The reason our mental obstacles are malleable is because they’re derived from our own beliefs about ourselves and our beliefs can change! If we replace our negative beliefs with the truth about ourselves, our obstacles will disappear and we can step into possibility.
Our own mental constructs control our day-to-day lives. If our brain tells us we cannot do something, we tend to live with that experience. If I believe I can; I can. If I believe I can’t; I can’t.
For all of us who have been stuck with stop signs, the very good news is that we can change our brains, create new pathways, new modes of living, and new experiences. It’s actually pretty remarkable.
Lately I’ve been examining myself when I DON’T do something. I’m a “why?” person and I want to know WHY I am not doing something.
(You may recall a message I shared with you called “REconsider: Resistance As a Providential Pause Button.” This revelation helped me specifically to understand why I sometimes put something off…because it is not actually TIME yet for that thing and my inner man knows something my outer man does not yet know. If that sounds helpful, check it out!)
But this time, I’m not talking about something that I’m resisting. I’m talking about stuff I don’t do that I totally could do. So, why am I not doing it?
Here are some of my mental obstacles:
- Because I never have before
- Because I don’t know how
- Because I’m the only one who thinks it’s a good idea
- Because someone else is “in charge” of it and so I’ve ceded my responsibility for it
- Because I “awfulize” it and imagine that it will take forever, be really hard, etc,. so I never do it
Can you relate??
Are there things you don’t do, or feel you can’t do, or fear doing?
Join the club….the club of everyone in the world! I’m pretty sure EVERYONE struggles with “CAN’TS.”
That’s why we need to rethink our limitations and upgrade our experience of ourselves.
We need to upgrade our belief system, which begins with upgrading our belief in ourselves!
We are all agreeing with things about ourselves. We have deeply-embedded thoughts about:
- Who we ARE, who we AREN’T
- What we CAN’T do and what we CAN do
- What our value is or isn’t
If you’re like most of us, you have room to agree with truer and better things about yourself and your worth and capabilities. You have room to RETHINK your own thoughts and create new ones.
I’m in a season of reframing my own agreements about myself and turning my CAN’Ts into CANs…will you join me?
This is my birthday month and I’m investing in upgrading my beliefs about myself. The more healing and understanding I have received, the more I’ve realized that the greatest work we do is on the inside.
I was ready for some deeper, more subtle internal reorganization. I was ready to deal with anything that was blocking my destined life and future.
And so I decided to start uprooting those stop signs.
Here is my ridiculously simple 2-step process to disrupt my own limitations:
- I take notice of which specific things stop me up and
- I do them anyway, preferably immediately
I literally stop what I am doing as soon as I can after the familiar stop sign comes up and I take a new proactive response that proves that limitation WRONG.
Here are some examples of slaying these stop signs and my insights along the way:
1. DREADING THE BIG TEST. I wasn’t scheduling a big test my kids have to take as homeschool students; it just kept getting shoved down my hot TO DO list and I would dread it every time I looked at it.
- I was DELAYING the process because I had never gone through it before.
- Two weeks ago, I just sat down at my computer, did some online research to educate myself and located a list of proctors. (I had taken the process this far before, but I never executed.) I reviewed the list and highlighted some choices. (I had even made this step before, too, but now that list had become outdated.)
- I took that list with me the next day to make a call while I was on the road. I spoke with a wonderful group called Basic Skills and talked with someone about the testing process. For me, talking through something with another human is ever-so-much more empowering than coldly reading about something online. I got a few recommendations from them about proctors. It took another person to unlock this process for me. We too-often underestimate the power of community in facing new tasks.
- I called one of the proctors the next day and scheduled the test for only one week out. Honestly, the moment I booked the exams all the anxiety went away. I learned a lesson: if you just knock the first pin down, the rest will usually follow! In fact, it was choosing the ball, lining up my shot and rolling the ball down the alley that was stopping me all along! It was a multi-step process, along with the newness, that stopped me. Now I know that once the initial legwork is out of the way, everything else follows.
- My children soared on their exams and this giant obstacle dissolved in front of me!! Tackling your fears is like jumping off the high dive at the local pool – terrifying only the first time! I had been “awfulizing” this step in our homeschool journey, and it was all a mirage!
2. DISEMPOWERED SHOPPER. I constantly need to order stuff online but I have waited for my husband to order it because he had the Amazon Prime account. I would bug him endlessly and felt stuck because I had to go through a “middleman” to get what was needed. I didn’t want to start my own account because it seemed ridiculous – and poor stewardship- to have two accounts.
- One day while friends were around, we were talking about it, and I handed my phone to him and asked him to add his password to my phone. He gladly and quickly did it.
- Why hadn’t I tried this before? Because I was stuck thinking in some mental ruts that went like this: he had the account, he is our family’s “procurement department,” so it’s better to consolidate that duty and go through one person. When you continuously beat your forehead on the same brick wall, it’s time to upgrade your thinking. Think about the problem in a new way.
- I empowered myself. I made my first order right away and didn’t tell anyone. When the first box came (a personal care item) I just smiled while he opened the box. He looked at me and said, “Wow, now you’re going to have ‘Amazon finger’ too!” and we laughed about the procurement habit of modern families.
- From the beginning of facing this particular obstacle, I knew this ordering problem was not his fault. Blame never produces fruitful results. I knew it was something I needed to take responsibility for. And so I did.
- And now, I think I may go place another order because consistently practicing freedom in a formerly stuck area is important to build memory muscle!
3. CARD-SENDING CRAMP. I rarely send greeting cards, even though I want to, and I personally love receiving them. I always felt I didn’t have time. When I did send them, I was always late. When I sit down to write them, I notice how slow my hand is and how my penmanship has suffered. I’ve tried doing them in batches. I’ve tried buying a sampling of cards at the store and then saving them with the INTENT of using them. I just found some “Happy Birthday Godchild” cards in my card organizer that I had bought for my nephew years ago. I don’t think a 14 year old is into dancing bears anymore.
- I’ve spent too many years beating myself up for not being as thoughtful or timely as others. I can tell you that mental self-abuse doesn’t pay, AND it actually doesn’t produce results – beating myself up did not make me change. Nor will it make others change around you. So, join me in giving up on self-inflicted lashings for the things you don’t do well!
- Before a recent holiday, I just Googled “best greeting card app” and found one I liked. (Truth be told, I already had a corporate account with a greeting card portal, but I didn’t want to spend business dollars on personal cards. Yet another mental construct that kept me stuck.)
- I downloaded the one that seemed interesting to me and immediately made a few cards and sent them. One key for my disruptive process is to override my own excuses and time challenges and just take immediate action when the pain strikes. The one I chose (Ink) even allowed me to scan my credit card for payment information. Brilliant. The easier the better. And I can choose, customize, and order a card in 1-3 minutes. I can spare that.
- As I’m writing this, I got back on the app, and made another order. In fact, I bought a bundle of cards. Now I have stocked-up points. And yep, I just placed another order. That’s right, I’m a genuine card-carrying, card-slinging, thoughtful DOER. Ha! I’m building memory muscle. I’m upgrading my experience of myself. I’m thinking new thoughts about what I CAN do.
4. BORED WITH DINNERTIME. I have been wanting more variety in our mealtimes, but I was waiting for my husband to switch things up.
- I can only take so much rice and sausage. I had started to make smoothies for myself while everyone else ate dinner. I was putting on my own oxygen mask, but it wasn’t solving the bigger issue. Often, when we are stuck, we make only incremental change that prolongs the issue, rather than disruptive change. This is especially true with organizing! We live with, or put off the things that aren’t serving us and we live with less-than (perhaps indefinitely) until pain or possibility inspire us to overhaul our existence.
- It has always been his role in our home to feed the family. He is logistics. He loves HIS kitchen and being in charge of meals. I am his sous chef. I shop. I ensure there’s a clean slate to begin with. I clean up. I don’t mess with meal planning and much food prep. Unless we are going camping or hosting guests. Or, unless it has to do with scones. Or brownies. Or banana bread. But my husband is a consistent guy. He could eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for the rest of his life and be quite happy. Every. Single. Day. We get stuck in roles in our households. And we like it that way. We know what to expect from each other. We’re comfortable with it that way. Until we don’t like some part of it anymore. And at that moment, it’s up to ME to change what I don’t like. So, I took personal responsibility for my demanding palette.
- I discussed my Big Idea with him. I wanted to try out an organic meal service home delivery. That was dumb. Shocker – he did not see the need. So, I had a choice. We all have a choice.
- I ordered the meal service. It took a while to figure out the ordering process. I gave up once but caught myself and started over. Delivery One is coming next week. I feel pretty darn gleeful about it and I can’t wait for salmon with carrots and snap peas! Sometimes those we’re the most familiar with, we become the most entrenched with…. What if they need us to be us, rather than us waiting for them to think like us or share our opinions? I am going to take the lead in this. (It costs less than wasted food on good intentions and a heck of a lot less than the motorcycle he just bought.) Bring on the tasty!
I hope you’ve enjoyed a very candid look into my life, my kitchen, and my occasional frailty of thinking. There are many more examples I could give, these are just the ones that came to mind first. I’m so thankful that each of us has the power to upgrade our thinking, aren’t you?
Now that I’ve become mindful of these annoying mental stop signs, I am in a full-frontal assault on them. I am out to build correct thoughts about what I’m capable of and I’m not going to stop until I truly believe – down to my toes – that nothing is impossible for me. I want to believe it reflexively, intuitively, and not host one.single.doubt.
I want to get everything out of my way that stands opposed to my own fulfillment of purpose. And nothing will block me more in life than ME. I don’t want to live helplessly in any way. If we allow ourselves to be helpless in the little things, then we will be helpless in the big things.
Now you can see why I really do understand why some of you may be delaying getting organized or reclaiming some area of your life. It’s time to take back your thinking and turn your “can’ts” into “cans.” Maybe you share some of the excuses I had. I hope this has empowered you to become an observer of your own actions and their genesis thoughts, and to take proactive, freeing ACTION.
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Great content and I appreciate being able to listen. Kinda confused, though, as to why you thought you couldn’t use Send Out Cards for personal greetings? I’m about to send you a birthday greeting right now — with Send Out Cards…..with brownies!
Thanks for your note Dianna, and for remembering my birthday! How sweet you are. It’s funny because if I don’t use a service regularly, I forget I have it available. And, of course I could use it for personal, it’s just so engrained in me to use ink and hand write a card for personal occasions. I’m relearning patterns though. 🙂 – Vicki
I can so relate to this, especially the card writing part. I have had way more good intentions than successful sends (until now of course!). I also love the taking responsibility for ourselves message, it’s the most empowering way to go. Thanks for sharing!
PS And yes, Basic Skills is great.
Great article! I’m sharing it with my hubby.
BTW Amazon Prime allows 1 family member in the same household to be added to an account. You just need your email address and password.
A friend and I have been talking about this a lot recently – we both tend to “awfulize” (love that term) 😀 in the way of wanting a task to be done perfectly then procrastinating because the perfect version would be an endless project… just getting started makes such a difference though! Mental obstacles are definitely what stands in our way most of the time – thanks for sharing!
Thank you for your note Caitlin. Getting started is usually the hardest part, but once the first step is taken it tends to get easier to make the change. – Vicki