Marcus* saw me coming. He asked, “Do you help people with resumes?” I said, “Not really. I can – but that’s not what I do.” The next moment, I was introduced to someone who needed work. I really didn’t want to have the conversation.
I spoke with my new friend, Stan*, about the work he was looking for. He’d prefer machine shop/metal working. That’s where he has 20+ years of experience. When I asked if he was open to other work, he said he was looking for anything.
We talked a bit. I heard all the reasons why Stan can’t get work. For example: “I can’t apply to jobs online because I don’t have Internet at home.” In the next breath, Stan said: “I go to the library to get my e-mail.” Stan has a list of prospects to call. He wasn’t calling them. I asked what was stopping him from calling? He said it’s because he can’t go visit them the day he calls. He can go the next day or the day after that … just not that same day.
Stan focuses on what he can’t do.
Stan was talking out of both sides of his mouth. He said he wanted work. He was asking for help. But he used every excuse to explain why he can’t get work. I got impatient. I told him I didn’t want to hear the words, “I can’t” leave his lips ever again. “I don’t care about what you can’t do. I only care about what you can do!”
Stan keeps himself trapped and unemployed. He hems himself in. He gives himself a reason to not do things that may get him a job. He gets out of doing what might work by telling himself and others why he can’t. Can’t keeps him safe. No risks. No rejection. No reward.
I realize I was introduced to Stan to teach myself a lesson. How we talk matters. What we say to ourselves matters.
I’ve been saying what I can’t do for a long time. It’s time to say what I can do.
I can have an impact on this world. I can add ridiculous value to the lives and businesses of others. I can influence people to make substantive change. I can leave this world better than I found it. And not just a little better but a lot better!
You may live in can’t. What is can’t keeping you from doing?
What might happen if you live in can? What will be different because of what you can … and will… do? Do it. Today.
Tell us about it. Go ahead… you can do it.