Posts tagged Possibility
Anchors and sails

The stories we tell ourselves are powerful forces.

Like an anchor they can hold us from moving, and like sails they can propel us forward.

When we feel weighed down or stuck in place, it might be worth getting curious about the stories we’re telling. And how a different one might free us out to sea.

The great discoveries of our world, after all, were never made in a harbor.

Self-fulfilling prophecies

Generally we use this phrase with a negative connotation. Someone spent so much time trying not to become the thing that they feared, that they ended up becoming the exact thing they didn’t want to.

Well, what about the other way?

If negative self-fulfilling prophecies are possible, then positive ones must be too. And if this is the case, what greater gift could we give someone than a little seed of belief in the thing they could become?

And what better soil to plant our seed of possibility in than interacting with them as if they already were that person?

The power of acting as if.

What would happen if we dared to use it for good?


There’s two main reasons we encounter the feeling we like to call “stuck”:

  1. We feel as though we have to be right.
  2. We’re focusing on everything that must be done all at once.

With the first cause, getting unstuck is quite easy — let go of our need to be right. If we’re open to other possibilities, where perhaps we might be wrong, well now we aren’t stuck anymore. We’ve given ourselves permission to proceed.

Getting unstuck in the second cause is actually just as simple — though not always easy. Yes, everything does eventually need to get done The pertinent word here is eventually. So the key is to focus on what needs done today. Or better yet, what needs done next. If we can set everything to the side, and merely focus on the next thing, we’ve just given ourselves something clear and tangible to hold onto. Once again, permission is granted.

If we don’t always need to be right or need to have it all figured out, we might find progress more readily available.

Spectator, Participant, or Pioneer?

Whether we want it to or not, a story is being told through how we live our life. The narrative builds each day, each hour, with each decision.

Our fear and imposter syndrome would have us become a spectator to the life happening around us, impervious to the awareness that life is also happening through us.

Some of us find it inside of ourselves to push far enough past our fears to adventure into the life around us as a participant in it, contributing to the story from inside our comfort zone.

We were created for something more.

The possibility exists for each of us to live a completely original, thrilling, generative life. Of course in order to do so we must check our imposter, embrace the tension of facing our fears, and blaze our own trail as a pioneer. It sounds risky, and it is.

The sneaky reality: none of these paths guarantee us a pain-free, disappointment-free, completely risk-free life.

So if we know that none of these will promise us a guarantee, which one would we choose? We can start today.

“That’s impossible.”

Anytime we hear this, we have a few options for how we respond:

We can choose to believe it’s true and quit, thus making it so.

We can reject the notion entirely and forge on, believing that those who told us so are wrong.

We can agree that it’s impossible if we try what everyone else has tried, and then ask ourselves the question “How can we make this happen?” We can give ourselves permission to attempt the impossible, and risk failing.

There is a time and place where each of these is our best option. Here’s the challenge then the next time we find someone telling us “That’s impossible”: Instead of immediately proceeding with the first option our brain gravitates to, pause. And allow our minds to explore the other two options, asking ourselves the question, “What would happen if I believed this one was true?”.

We could end up feeling more sure of our initial decision, or perhaps we find something we weren’t expecting. Either is possible…


It’s a Finnish term for extraordinary courage. More than a momentary decision, Sisu is about sustaining rationality and our will to go on in the face of adversity.

Not to be confused with hopeless optimism, Sisu acknowledges the situation at hand for exactly what it is, AND the possibility of what could be beyond it. Sisu sees what could be done, acknowledges what should be done, and says, “It must be done.”

Sisu appears only when we feel our humanity most. The moment when our bodies fill with dread so thick that even thinking of facing it makes us sick to our stomach. The feeling that we’ve been conditioned to hate from the moment we were born, to avoid whenever we can. The desperation of feeling as though we’ve reached the absolute limits to our ability as a human; that what is being asked of us next, we are not able to do.

That feeling? That’s Sisu.

We’ve been trained to abhor it, but it’s actually the opportunity of a lifetime. To step into Sisu, we must step out of every bit of comfort, security, and protection that we’ve built for ourselves, and show up as our whole self. To choose with intent to continue to try even though we feel we’ve already reached our limits. Exposed on purpose for the cause of what is right, what is good, what is important. There we are, with all we are.

What a generous act.

There’s one more thing about Sisu: it doesn’t consider cost. It knows what must be done and it does it, regardless of what it takes. Now, it would be easy for us to look at our personal adversities and immediately begin calculating the associated costs of seeking Sisu (the least of which being financial). The better question though might be: What would it cost us not to?