We all have dreams…visions, goals, aspirations we hope to someday achieve or experience.
We also have that voice that says, “I just don’t get it. Why can’t I seem to get there.”
What do you believe blocks you from your dreams?
Two Words that Paralyze Us
In my years of coaching and mentoring, there are two words I hear more than anything that keep women from realizing their dreams.
These words stop us in our tracks, close our minds to other possibilities, and are usually coming out of one’s mouth before they’ve even fully listened to the idea being presented.
Those two words will hold us back, foster self doubt, and keep us from seeing new possibilities.
“Yeah, but sometimes things really aren’t possible.”
I hear you. I really do. I’ve been yeah-butting just as long as anyone.
It’s difficult not to jump in with those words when we see all of the ways it seems something isn’t possible.
What if the challenge is just that…seeing all the ways something seems impossible, rather than opening to what is possible?
Relanguaging for Possibilities
If the words “Yeah, but…” are about wanting to communicate the limitations we see, might there be a way to communicate such that we break free from those limitations?
We begin with the simple shift from “Yeah, but…” to “Yes, and…”
This simple, yet powerful language adjustment not only communicates to our own brain that we’re open, but it also communicates to another that we’re listening.
“Starting that business you’ve been talking about would be so great for you, and people need what you have to offer.”
“Yeah, but I have no time, and my kids are still at home, and I wouldn’t know how to start, and I’m not sure if anyone would want what I have to offer, and…”
What if instead of a “Yeah, but…” response, you chose to speak in a way that focuses on the vision, and not the obstacles?
“Yes, and perhaps I could carve out a couple of hours per week to start exploring ideas. I could talk to my partner and kids about what I’m doing so I can get some uninterrupted time. And maybe I could hire a coach, take a class, or talk to a mentor to determine the best first steps. Oh, and I could survey the women in my yoga class and the parents in my kids’ classes to see what they think of my ideas.”
Do you see the difference?
“Yeah, but…” ultimately ends up being a list of excuses that stop the vision dead in its tracks, while “Yes, and…” gives the vision room to breathe, and sees various possibilities available to realize it.
Keep it Simple
Shifting our language from something that subtly paralyzes us to something that opens doors for us is much simpler than you may think.
The simple shift from “Yeah, but…” to “Yes, and…” is literally all it takes.
The words that come after the … will form naturally from those first to words.
The “Yeah, but…” will generate a list of all the reasons you can stay in your comfort zone and not step to the edges of new possibilities.
The “Yes, and…” will naturally get you thinking about how to reframe the things you perceive as obstacles into opportunities for creativity and movement.
We’ll all have obstacles on the path to realizing our dreams, but whether or not those obstacles become excuses to stay in the comfort of what’s familiar, or inspiration to see how creative we can be to achieve our dreams is up to us.
I’ve Been Framed!
“Yeah, but…” and the list of reasons we believe we cannot move forward that comes after those two words will generate a feeling of being boxed in or “framed” in such a way that amplifies a sense of victimhood, or that life happening “to” us.
“Yes, and…” and the list of ideas to move beyond obstacles that comes after those two words will have us cultivating a sense of empowerment that fuels our creativity and let’s us know that we get to do the “framing.” We see that life is happening “for” us.
Whichever method you choose, you are the framer.
We determine whether we stay framed in a picture that’s familiar, comfortable, and repetitive, or whether we frame a new picture that we get to paint and continue evolving over time.
The Roots of Paralyzing Words
“Yes, and…the truth is, I’m afraid.”
Truer words to describe why we “Yeah, but…” our way through life were never spoken.
“Yes, and…” helps us to name the truth, to speak what’s possible rather than live in stories that keep us stuck.
“Yeah, but…” comes from fear, and keeps us in self-doubt. It will convince us of all the ways we are small, and our obstacles are huge.
The fear is real. I’m not going to tell you to just get over it.
Naming that the paralysis is rooted in fear is a courageous first step.
Once you see there is fear, you can name your fears more specifically, and become free of them.
What exactly are you afraid of?
What’s the worst that could happen? How likely is that?
Is the fear old, from childhood, and is it even still relevant today?
Allow yourself to question what’s underneath the “Yeah, but…,” perhaps journaling about it, processing with a friend, or just walking with Mother Nature to see what She has to say about it.
Allowing space to name and face the fears softens over 80% of the obstacle already.
Naming our fears helps us to know what’s been operating below the surface and keeping us stuck. It allows us to see if we need support and guidance to move to the next step.
Remember that you are much bigger and more powerful than your fears.
Let yourself see them. Ask the deep questions. Unlock the chains that have been binding you to your comfort zone.
Realizing Your Dreams
The simple shift from “Yeah, but…” to “Yes, and…” will instantly set you on a path toward your vision.
You’ll open to new possibilities, easily be able to reframe obstacles into opportunities, and see the fears living beneath the surface that keep you stuck.
While the shift may be simple, practice is required to make any change sustainable.
Start by noticing the many times you say “Yeah, but…” and soon you’ll notice it before you even speak it.
Do your best to start the sentence over if the “Yeah, but…” is already out there, and begin again with “Yes, and…”
Remember that fear is a natural part of being human, but staying in fear or being paralyzed by it doesn’t have to be part of our experience.
Seek support if you need it, and know that while the path to your dreams is yours alone, you don’t have to travel it alone.
Let your Inner Wisdom guide you to know the many ways you can creatively turn obstacles into opportunities to achieve the vision you have for yourself.
You’ve got this! Dream on!