Robert Schuller famously noted that the only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking. What exactly did he mean by that? What mind-shifts do we need to make to help us discover the best life we could be living?
As the end of 2018 looms ever closer, I’m feeling reflective.
I’m looking back at the year, celebrating successes and analyzing my failures (or as I call them, lessons). What went well? What would I do differently?
It’s not long though before my mind flitters forward from the past and into the future. How can I make even 2019 even better?
Several answers presented themselves to me, but only one stuck out.
I wanted to write about it because it’s a real golden nugget.
It’s something I indeed implemented this year and will continue to in the new year.
If you do just this one thing in 2019, I can confidently guarantee your year will be extraordinary. You’ll achieve more than you imagine. You’ll discover qualities about yourself you never knew. You’ll wish you had been doing this one thing much sooner.
Quite the claim, I know!
Well, what is this one thing, you must be wondering?
But it’s powerful.
Challenge your Whispers.
I may not know you, but I know, like me, you have your whispers.
Think back to a time you became inspired.
Perhaps a thought came to you like ‘’I should write a Book’’ or ‘’I’d love to go traveling’’.
These inspired thoughts were likely concluded by a whisper.
You can’t write a Book.
You don’t have enough money to go traveling.
Whispers are the name I give to those limiting thoughts or beliefs that hold us back. They turn our blood cold with fear and make our hearts heavy with doubt. They’re hard to catch. But believe me, they’re there.
The reason we must challenge our whispers is simple.
They’re unreflective of what is possible.
Sadly, unless challenged, they become our truths.
In psychology, this is called a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
‘’A self-fulfilling prophecy refers to a belief or expectation that an individual holds about a future event that manifests because the individual holds it’’ (Good Therapy, 2015)
For example, the person who desires to write a Book but doesn’t challenge the whisper saying you can’t write a Book and so accepting it as truth, will, in turn, make the prophecy true.
They’ll never put pen to paper, and they’ll never know what might have been.
The truth is, so much more is possible than our whispers will have us believe.
A friend of mine is a talented photographer. She dreamt of getting her stunning landscape photographs featured in a big publication but had a whisper saying the photos aren’t nearly good enough.
‘’There is only one way to find out’’, I said with a cheeky smile on my face.
I lovingly challenged her to send her photographs off to some newspapers and magazine she wouldn’t mind getting featured in. Send them off, forget about it, and see what happens.
I kid you not, less than a week later, my friend sends me a message, nearly EVERY letter written in Capitals. Her excitement and disbelief were clear to see… she had won a competition in the Guardian, one of the biggest newspaper in the UK. One of her photos was to be seen by millions of people.
It warmed my heart to see her confidence grow and today she’s consistently challenging her whispers and discovering for herself just what is possible, now building a photography business and creating opportunities.
Now, although my attitude leans heavily on the side of Optimism, I’m not under any delusions that all whispers are false and all our dreams as possible right now.
When we begin to challenge our whispers, one of two things will happen.
Firstly, like my friend, you may discover you have what it takes to write that book, get your work featured somewhere, etc.
In which case, awesome!
Secondly, as you begin to challenge your whispers, you may discover that right now there is a gap between where you are and what is required. You take action, but you fall short on achieving your goal. Maybe you begin to write a Book but recognize you need to improve your story-telling skills.
At least by challenging your whisper, you’ve discovered what you needed to know. You’ll have gained more clarity around the skills, contacts, or resources needed to get you to where you want to be.
Regardless of your outcome, you’re still in a better place than where you would be if you hadn’t challenged the whispers.
You may be curious to learn exactly how to get clear on your whispers?
Here is a simple process you can use.
Take a piece of paper and the Left-hand side, write out your goals, dreams or desires, very plainly, like ‘’I want to write a Book’’. On the righthand side, using the words ‘’yeah but’’ to prompt you, write down the whisper that is the reason you believe your goal/dream/desire hasn’t happened yet.
Becoming aware of our whispers is the trickier part, challenging them is the easiest part. The trick? Take Action and lots of it.
What is the smallest step forward?
What are the bigger steps forward?
What would I do if Failure were Impossible?
What would my best-self do?
What would the experts tell me to do?
Life is short.
I, therefore, believe it’s our duty to ourselves to challenge our whispers and discover the boundaries of possibility for ourselves. If you ever need a sobering, motivating kick up the arse, read up on the biggest regrets of the dying. The most common regret is this…
‘’I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me’’.
Undeniably, it takes courage to live a life true to ourselves. It means challenging those whispers and putting yourself and your desires first. It’s scary, but then again, so is getting to the end of our lives and wondering ‘’what might have been”?
I don’t want that for you.
So make a commitment to yourself today, right now, that you’ll challenge your whispers in 2019. It may be life-changing.
photo source: Lesya Li + giphy