One of the biggest barriers that stops us doing or going for the things we really, really want to do, is the fear (or belief) that they’re impossible.
Before we’ve even taken one step towards making our dreams a reality, we’ve talked ourselves out of them. So instead of going for a career we feel really passionate about, making the leap and going freelance, or finally starting the business we’ve always wanted, we stay where we are.
But impossibility, and the limitations it places on your life, only exist in your mind.
Impossibility is an illusion
Remember Roger Bannister? In 1954 he achieved the impossible and ran a mile in under four minutes.
The fact that he managed it is amazing. But what is even more amazing is that just two months later, another two runners also ran a mile in under four minutes. Ten years on, even a schoolboy achieved the feat.
Why were so many people suddenly able to do what was previously considered impossible? Because once Roger Bannister made the idea of a four-minute mile possible, it was – paving the way for everyone else.
What do you believe is impossible?
So now we challenge you to look at what you assume is impossible in your life and re-examine your beliefs around it.
Are you somehow afraid to really reach for what you want because, deep down, you don’t think you’ll get it? And why is that?
A few months ago, I wrote an article for The Guardian describing how I talked my way into a job without any relevant experience when I was just 25.
At the time I wanted to work in advertising, and was aware it was difficult to break into. But that didn’t stop me. I heard of a job going at Ogilvy & Mather, one of the world’s top agencies, and called the Executive Creative Director to arrange an interview.
He was looking for an experienced copywriter, and I had never written a word of advertising copy in my life. But in that interview I managed to convince him to give me a chance, and he did. I went on to work at top agencies in Hong Kong and London, winning prestigious awards for my work.
Had I believed, as was quite reasonable, that it was impossible to walk into a job at one of the world’s most famous advertising agencies without experience, I would never have even attempted to get an interview, let alone make an impassioned speech as to why I deserved a chance.
But it didn’t even occur to me that it was impossible. I knew that I had the resources – determination, ambition, courage – to make it happen, and so I did.
How belief cured an incurable disease
I want to tell you one more story that shows even more powerfully that you can achieve what is accepted to be impossible with the power of belief.
In 1951, a young doctor cured a patient suffering with (what was believed to be) an incurable skin disease simply with hypnotherapy.
By the time the young doctor began treating the patient, more experienced doctors had given up. They’d tried two skin grafts without success, and the poor teenage patient’s body was covered in a ‘black horny layer’ of skin.
But the young doctor had one advantage over his seniors – he didn’t realise the boy had an incurable skin disease. Instead, he wrongly thought the condition was a bad case of warts. And as he’d successfully treated warts with hypnotherapy before, he believed he could cure this boy.
And he did. He started on the boy’s arm, and in just 10 days it was completely clear. He went on to almost completely eradicate the disease from the rest of the boy’s body.
Sadly though, once the young doctor was told that he wasn’t in fact treating warts, but an incurable disease, his ability to treat it – his belief that it was possible – went, and he was unable to repeat his success.
What does this mean for you?
So how does this help you? The point we hope you’ll take from this is that you should never let the idea that something is impossible stop you from believing you can achieve it.
At one time in history we believed it was impossible to fly, travel into space, climb Everest, sail beyond the horizon, and swim the English channel. Yet someone believed it wasn’t impossible and did it. And in their wake, others followed.
Don’t worry, we’re not expecting you to do anything as drastic as climb the world’s tallest mountain, or walk on the moon (unless of course you want to!). All we’re asking is that you re-visit your assumptions about the things you’d love to do but don’t think possible – and change your mind.
If you believe it’s possible it is
Because if you believe you can do something, then you’ll find a way to make it happen. You’ll discover and use resources you never even knew you had, intuitively make decisions that will enable you to achieve what you want, and unleash the drive and confidence that is essential for success.
So think again about what you’d really love to do. What are your secret or not-so-secret ambitions? And why aren’t you out there making them happen right now?
If the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your passions is all the reasons why they’re out of reach – not enough time, not the right skills, no experience, no investment – then stop! If you focus on the reasons why they may not happen, you’ll never get anywhere.
Instead consciously make yourself think ‘Why not?’ Why shouldn’t you run your own business? Be a successful freelancer? Work flexibly in a rewarding role you LOVE?
Start dreaming about how it will feel when you get what you want (laying the beginnings of a blueprint in your mind for a possible future), and focus on what you can do right now to get there.
Don’t look at the end goal, concentrate on the first step. Something easy and achievable. And when that is accomplished, focus on getting the next done. (This chunking exercise is a brilliant way to make big goals achievable.)
And don’t be afraid to reach beyond your comfort zone. Just because you don’t (yet!) have the experience in something, doesn’t mean you can’t attempt it – and gain experience as you do.
We thought running our own business was impossible
It took us 18 months to pluck up the courage to start Talented Ladies Club. We’d had the idea, and knew that it could be great, but thought it was impossible for us to start our own business, so we didn’t do anything.
Why? Because we’re two creative people. Neither of us had run a business before (though we’d both worked as freelancers) and we assumed that starting a business was this difficult, indecipherable process that only an experienced entrepreneur could do.
In the end, it was an offer of free business coaching sessions that quickly identified and demolished this misconception. And once we stopped seeing starting our own business as possible, we made rapid progress – launching Talented Ladies Club just four months later.
No one is born ‘successful’
Probably the biggest lesson we learned was that no one is experienced in anything until they start actually doing it! No one was ‘born’ an entrepreneur. Or indeed successful freelancer or career woman. Everyone started out at some point with no experience or skills, but with the confidence and belief they could do it.
And if other people have done it, so can you. Just think – aren’t you sick of dreaming? Of seeing others achieve the success you want? Of imagining that they’re living a life that is somehow easier or more rewarding than yours?
What’s stopping you from reaching for the things you want too? Only you. Yes what you want may seem a reach. Yes it may take work, effort, learning new skills and taking yourself outside your comfort zone.
But if you believe it’s possible, then just like the four-minute mile, it may just be. And isn’t that worth trying?
We’ll help you achieve your impossible
We know what it’s like to feel that what you want to achieve is difficult, if not impossible. It’s just how we felt before starting Talented Ladies Club.
Since then, we’ve acquired so much knowledge, experience and confidence, and we want to pass that onto you, so that you too can achieve your impossible.
We’ve put all this experience into our membership club Activate. As a member, you’ll have access to all the tools and training you need to start taking positive action towards the goals you dream of, but don’t have the confident or belief to go for right now.
And more importantly, you’ll have the support and motivation you need to move outside your comfort zone. We’ve done it and we’re on hand when you need us to help cheer you on and share any advice that will help you succeed, just like us.
Make your dreams possible for less than £90
We believe that just six months of membership of Activate will make a massive difference to your life. It will give you the courage and belief to start working towards your dreams, and the tools, training and step-by-step guides to make a success of it.
Six months of membership costs less than £90 – but the possibility it will unleash in your life is priceless. So find out what you can achieve, and start living the life you really want. (You can find out more about Activate and sign up today if you wish, here.)
More resources to help you achieve the impossible!
You can also find lots of great articles on our site for free to help you take positive action on your impossible:
- Learn how to set SMART goals and achieve them.
- How to chunk your goals into achievable steps.
- How to navigate change with confidence.
- How to uncover your latent talent.
- Let go of any toxic beliefs that may be sabotaging your success.
- Learn from the best – watch our favourite 11 TED talks!
And if you’re looking for inspiration, just read a few of our real life stories! Many of the women we’ve interviewed have achieved their impossible. And if they can, why not you?
You can find out more about our membership club Activate, and how it can help you here.Hannah Martin