Have you ever imagined creating a new life for yourself? Maybe that means changing a few key things about your life right now, or maybe it means completely re-inventing who you are. Regardless of the degree, chances are pretty good that you’ve gone through that mental exercise more than once. Maybe you’ve even taken a few first steps to make your vision a reality.
Well, where are you today? What really kept you from achieving the greatness you envisioned or hoped for? What were the forces that brought you back to the present, to “reality” as you know it? We all have our answers to those obstacles, but what would be the impact on your life if you could actually create the possibility of something impossible, then bring it to fruition? That is, in a very real and tangible sense, what if you could make the impossible happen in your life, free from the burden of having to know how to make it so?
The key to this kind of transformation actually rests in the tail end of that question… “free from the burden of having to know how to make it so.” For most of us, we can easily envision truly great things. In the case of children, that’s what they envision almost all the time. But then as soon as we start focusing on how to manifest our visions, we encounter one obstacle after another. Our inability to change rests firmly within the three boundaries of I want, I can’t have, and because — the iron triangle of the status-quo.
So let’s look at that triangle in depth, and then figure out how to transform it into something useful for us.
The key aspect of “wanting” is to desire, and not have. That seems to make sense because if either one of those factors goes away, the want goes with it. Yet if we go back to childhood, or even just look at any young child today, we see that children are brimming over with things that they want – everything from a new fire-truck to a trip to the moon. At some point as we got older, we learned the difference between wants and needs, despite the efforts of Madison avenue to convince us that they are one in the same thing. Regardless, having learned the distinction, many of us also learned to discount our wants unless they really rose to the category of needs.
I Can’t Have.
Having learned the difference between needs and wants, we somehow made it not OK to want things. We learned that wants come with a barrage of negative associations, including: distraction, nuisance, selfish, unrealistic, unreasonable, trivial, foolish, or worse. We learned this from a very young age, with the word “no” coming early in our childhood vocabulary. Further, we learned that the sooner we let go of our wants, the happier we would be. That worked for a while, except for two fundamental flaws. First, we still want what we want. Second, having made a life of trying to reduce our wants in an effort to be happy, we inadvertently quashed our zeal for an absolutely fantastic life that really works. We may believe that we don’t deserve it, that it won’t last, that it’s unattainable, or any number of negative things, but the net result is the same: all too often, we operate from a belief that there are things we simply cannot have in our lives. Lastly, try as we might to bring our wants into being, this nagging belief or fear that we cannot have something ultimately acts as a saboteur for our greatest ambitions.
Worse still is that we often place ourselves in a vicious circle: If I want something big and fantastic, I believe that I can’t have it. If I believe that I can’t have it, then I’m better off not wanting it. So I tell myself that I don’t really want it, and in so doing, that almost assures that I won’t get it. No matter where you start in that circle, the end result is an ongoing pressure to think and act small compared to what is really possible in our lives.
Children have no concept of why they can’t have the things that they want, nor do they appreciate delayed satisfaction. They also continue to pursue the reasons “why” things are the way that they are, and the reasons “why” they can’t have what they want. As adults, we know that there are good reasons to deny a great many childish wants – safety, convenience, cost, difficulty, fear, protection, etc. However, as adults, many of us are still over-applying the notion of “reasons” to limit our own potential. There is a quote attributed to Mark Twain about a cat that sits on a hot stove never sitting on another for as long as it lives. However, nor will it sit on a cold one. The point here is that we have over-learned too many reasons — reasons that keep us from really striving for greatness in our lives.
Even when there really are good reasons that we cannot have something in our life, how often do we question the reasonableness of our reasons? Seriously, take a look at the reasons that you believe you cannot have something in your life. Now stop and think about whether those reasons are even reasonable. What I mean by that is the possibility that many long-standing reasons we have for the status-quo are actually getting in our way and can be melted away simply by exploring the possibility of being unreasonable. Being unreasonable is not a negative thing. It does not mean insensible, stupid, irrational, illogical, or outlandish. Rather, it simply means not letting our reasons be a barrier to accomplishing greatness.
Being unreasonable can actually be a gateway towards a new way of being, outside the iron triangle of I want, I can’t have, and because. Being unreasonable is sometimes required if we are to make the leap into I Have, I Create, and Be Cause, all of which we will look at next.
First off, coming from a position of “I Have” is not about deluding yourself with positive affirmations of things that you want to be true but which are not yet so. That would still be coming from I Want. Instead, coming from I Have is about noticing, seeing, recognizing, appreciating, feeling, and valuing all of what is presently in your life. There is a significant body of study on the value of appreciation (Appreciative Inquiry) and that whatever we focus on is what we will get more of. So what is it that you already have, that you would like to create more of?
Even in the case of desiring something that is not yet present in your life, what is present is desire. So start there. Look at what resources you have to make your desire a reality. Look at the tools, skills, and abilities that you have to make your desires real. Most importantly, look at who you are being right now, and recognize the incredible power that comes from your ability to choose who you are through the power of making a declaration, and then taking a stand for the fulfillment of your declaration.
What you have above all is the ability to create. What you create is possibility, and possibility is created through an act of declaration. We all have the ability to make declarations regarding what we stand for, simply as a byproduct of being human. There is no magic involved here. The power to create the life that you desire for yourself stems form your ability to create who you are through an act of declaration and then living into it. The power to create stems from your spoken word, and from your ability
to create possibility. Yes, possibility is a noun, and it comes into being and exists only through an act of declaration. If you want to create a fantastic life, your first act of creation is to create the possibility of your life existing the way that you want it to be.
There are two significant barriers people face to creating a fantastic life. The first is that they don’t really know what they want because they find themselves stuck in ambivalence, uncertainty, doubt, confusion, paradox, fear, or resistance to exercising their own power to create. After all, if we admit that we have the ability to create the life that we want, then we also have to accept that the life we have right now is a byproduct of what we personally created, rather than a byproduct of external forces acting upon us. It would mean letting go of the status quo and taking responsibility for what we have today. The second barrier is that we have to start living from a position of being the cause of our life, rather than reacting to it.
When you take a stand on whatever it is that is important to you and start acting consistent with that stand, amazing things start to happen. If this sounds fanciful, new age, or far fetched, the biggest reason it sounds that way is because so few of us take a stand for who we are. Truly taking a stand for who you are also entails acting consistent with your declarations, and this is often a source of significant challenge. It’s challenging because there are real and tangible implications to the stand you take, and that includes the consequences that would logically follow.
For example, when I take a stand for positive transformation and greater health in the lives of people and organizations, and I act consistent with this declaration, then I have to give up certain common, comfortable, familiar behaviors in my work environment. It means I can’t complain about the things that are “wrong” anymore – I have to take action to correct them in order to be consistent with my stand. And if I lack the power to do so, or to find sponsorship or influence above to make it so, then I have to make a choice about whether I am really in the right place.
In more general terms, life will find a way to challenge the stand that you take, forcing you to choose whether you are your stand (being the cause of your own life), or whether your life is the way it is because of external factors over which you have limited control. Note that this is not strictly an either-or scenario. Instead, it exists as a continuum with “because” on one end, and “be cause” on the other. The way we move the fulcrum is through the declarations we make.
I stand for positive transformation and greater health in the lives of people and organizations.
Part of my role as a coach entails working with clients to break free of the iron triangle, to have the lives they want, to create possibility, and to move the fulcrum from “because” to “be cause.” On their own, each component is required, but not sufficient for transformation. Only when all three come together do we start to see real significant shifts occurring in our lives. This is serious work. It entails deep introspection, tough questions, hard choices, and often significant changes. It is also incredibly rewarding. When you are ready to break free of your iron triangle, contact me for a free introductory coaching session where we’ll talk about your Primary Goals, and how to make them your dominant reality.