It’s Not About “Can’t”

I just came across this great blog Raising Gatejumpers | Digital Dads

It starts out . . .

I have always hated whenever someone told me “you can’t do that” or “that isn’t how it is done.” I never understood either of those concepts. Sure, there are rules in place to keep people safe and kids out of trouble, but beyond that if I want to do something and no one is going to get hurt by me doing it, I’ve always pushed to make it happen.

The post goes on to talk about the responsibility parents have to instill possibility in their children, to realize that one shouldn’t self limit their own boundaries.

I must have had a really good parent, because my mother instilled in me a firm belief that anything is possible. This single life skill I know has served me well personally and professionally. It instilled early on a sense of self confidence, strong decision making skills and a general ‘possibility-thinking’ attitude.

Maybe at the time this skill was a much more important skill to instill in your daughter. Though I never thought about it, maybe my mother did. Instead, I grew up knowing that I could get good grades if I wanted to (the choice was mine to apply myself), get involved in activities if I wanted and basically do anything, even if only once, that I set my mind to. I think the only area in which my mother would wince was in the area of sports. I guess my own history of breaking bones made her convinced that was not an area for me. But to her credit she never stopped me! She’d still let me try out skateboarding or basketball and let me prove to myself where I wanted to set my own boundaries, rather than deciding or instilling her own boundaries on me. As I look back, it must have taken a lot of skill and self control on her part to not pass on her own prejudices or opinions.

And now with what I think are successful professional work years behind me, I truly believe I owe my mother more credit than I gave her then.

For folks who don’t understand the concept that anything is possible, and have to work with me, I must appear to them as a big nudge. As a program manager or business sponsor I hate hearing ‘no, can’t be done’. If something needs to be accomplished I like to troubleshoot how to get there. Barriers (to me) are meant to be worked around, over come and moved aside. (Again, some folks may think I’m a pain.)

But I think this is all about innovation and creativity.

How many times in our own work life do we have customers (whether they be market customers or internal customers within our firewall) that need us to solve their problems. How often do we think about what we’ve done in the past or what our limitations are? How many more times do we need to think “what if?” or how “can” it be done instead?

I love the Digital Dads post above and I thought it was inspiration for the day. I blogged about this internally because I just wanted more people to see this, and I’m blogging about it here because for me this is a timeless piece.

It certainly frames my own personal motto for life – and I hope it gets you thinking as well.

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About Claire Flanagan
Claire Flanagan is a Director of KM and Enterprise Social Business & Community strategy at CSC. Views expressed are her own.

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