Last month I suggested that the three most DISempowering words we could ever utter are, “I don’t know.” These three words give us an excuse to pretend we don’t know what to do. They allow us to stay stuck and not move forward, keeping us safe in our comfort zone.
Given that I am all about creating possibility with my clients, now it is time to share what I believe are the three MOST POWERFUL words you can say. I have come to understand their power based on the last 15 years that I have been coaching. During this time, most of my clients have been entrepreneurs and business owners, a truly unique group of people who possess an incredibly inspiring spirit. I love working with these clients . . . and here’s why.
Entrepreneurs and business owners have a mindset that when confronted with a challenge or uncertainty, they don’t stand around in a helpless state, scratching their heads, muttering “I don’t know what to do.” They don’t have the time or luxury to do that! They have people, and a business, counting on them.
Instead, they create an amazing transformation of thinking that allows them to immediately get into action. Intuitively, they transform the uncertainty and challenge of “I don’t know” into an inquiry that looks like this:
I don’t know >>> How Can I . . .
- How can I grow my business?
- How can I take advantage of the current market?
- How can I develop a new product?
This re-framing of any dilemma that faces entrepreneurs and business owners drives them to find an answer. It drives them to find a way to solve whatever problem or challenge confronts them. Their thinking and commitment doesn’t allow for them to pretend they don’t have an answer. Rather, they exist in what is possible. And this way of thinking is exhilarating!!
Without fail, they find a way and discover a creative solution that addresses the problem they face.
“How can I” (or “How can we” when it involves other people) are the three most powerful words in the English language. These words immediately move you from being stuck in a space of uncertainty to getting you to a place of action and thinking creatively.
So why not take a cue from these fantastic people and transform your “I don’t know” into “How can I . . .”
I think you will find that your life immediately becomes more enjoyable and satisfying.
“What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
– Thomas Merton
There are always two options that can be pursued when a problem presents itself. The first allows you to be defeated quickly by thinking you do not have the answer to the challenge. That is the path of “I don’t know.” The second promises a path of inspiration and endless possibilities. That is the path of “How can I . . . “
The path you choose is up to you, but I challenge you not to utter the words, “I don’t know” for the next month and see how your life changes.
“How Can I . . .” is a mentality. A mentality of possibility. This short video describes that mentality perfectly.