The impossibilities are endless..
This article is dedicated to everyone who has ever faced a dead end or a giant obstacle or immensely unhelpful people on their journey in business (or all of them at once).
Impossible people, situations, ideas, problems – they hem us in, pin us down and waste our time.
Most importantly, they limit our possibilities and deny us a way forward. They make us settle for less.. little by little stealing ground and hope.. if we allow it. And yet hope.. especially for anyone who likes to break down impossibilities.. like sugar cubes in their coffee before breakfast.. is everything. Hope breeds resilience. And resilience ensures that we can stick around long enough to grind down the impossibilities we face and get what we hoped for.
The impossible begins with us
In the working environment impossible situations often emerge from poor communication. Firstly with ones self, and then of course this affects how we communicate with others – big time. The same can also safely be said of the home environment. Where we see people saying they want one thing and then we see their actions leading to a different outcome.. clearly not communicating fully with themselves.. this is a key part of what helps to create an impossible environment.
More often than not the impossibilities we experience represent a boundary in our life, perhaps marking out the line between who we have been so far and whom we may evolve into next. This stage can sometimes be a nightmare mesh-work of identity defense, delivering a sweeping projection of fears until we find a way to close the gap between our actions and our desired outcomes. Possibilities arise when we see these impossibilities as simply representing a developmental breakthrough waiting to happen. From this bitter sweet vantage point there are endless possibilities.
Continuous learning cycles are the key
We can all immediately start to make the impossible possible by aligning our behaviors with our desired outcomes. We can learn so much about what works on the way to our goals by trying and failing and calibrating until we hit the mark. And you will know that behaviors are changing to support goals when this kind of learning starts to happen.
Learning in an adult environment can be difficult as real learning is made up of lots of mistakes – as children this was included in play and was integrated into games. As adults we tend to take a dim view of other adults making mistakes as it can mean that risks increase. As we get older we become more risk averse, which impacts on our ability to learn, and this has a direct impact on our ongoing neuro-plasticity.
Good learning cycles go on longer than we allow for in society and often need many iterations to fully move a person or group forward to another stage or level of development. We need to get better at re-coding what it means to learn as an adult. Ideally we should always be either in one learning cycle or entering the next one, and they will always be connected. We should encourage creativity and play as these bring innovations and the possibilities that transcend the impossible.
A Culture of Possibility – Creating possibilities for others
One way of supporting this is by creating a Culture of Possibility by developing those around you to become empowered and autonomous. In order to make sure it really becomes a culture we need to encourage shared behaviors and values, both seek and give regular feedback. Employers should act as conscious empowerers of people, setting them up to succeed rather than to fail. Whoever you are you can contribute to a culture of possibility right now by being more conscious of those around you.
Taking time to listen and being slightly more flexible in our thinking can be the difference that makes a difference. Owning our fears and desires and communicating clearly what we want and need can be incredibly powerful and often this is what will make things possible for you and for others. Consider regularly the things that you think are fixed in your reality, walk around the rooms of your mind tapping occasionally where unhappiness lies.. it’s quite likely that the wall is hollow there and just waiting for you to knock it through. And then sharing these breakthroughs with others is vital in creating a culture of possibility.
Impossibility killers – beliefs and attitudes
As the famous impossibility killer Mohammad Ali once said “impossible is nothing, it’s just an opinion”. Another renowned killer of impossibilities, Tony Robbins, says that “what we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are”. The opinion of this writer is that the impossible can go and do the proverbial. It’s profoundly irritating and almost always wrong. Anything is possible if we take the attitude of Hannibal when he was faced with crossing the Alps and said “I will either find a way or create one”. The leading public speaker Simon Sinek sees constraints as “an opportunity for creativity. ..and the.. results are called innovation.”
To my own mind it seems true that if you are considering it then it must be possible. Whereas the really impossible stuff doesn’t even enter our imagination. In most cases the impossible is actually really just bloody hard, but with creativity, perseverance and a collaboration it’s eventually just a footnote to whatever you do next.
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.” Muhammad Ali