“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
~Vincent Van Gogh

Often it is the voices within us that stop us from trying and achieving what we really want. Somehow we’ve learned to censor our actions and even our desires. Perhaps it is a safety mechanism that we needed at one time, but that no longer serves us.

Many times my clients share their dreams and goals with me, and then in the same breath, they share why those things that they truly want for themselves are unattainable. With this surety of failure, they rationalize that they shouldn’t even try for their goals, or waste their time on useless endeavors. I have been privileged to witness the opposite. I’ve watched many clients break through their preconceived notions of what they “can’t” or “shouldn’t” do…break through to success. Sometimes it’s just the success of challenging their self-inflicted limitations, and often it’s the success of achieving (or allowing) that which they’ve always wanted.

When Van Gogh was alive, there were many people who said he could not paint. My guess is that there were also internal voices that echoed those sentiments. Imagine our loss if he had listened to those voices – if he had not challenged himself and others and created his masterpieces.

When my clients tell me of something they can’t do, I challenge them to challenge themselves, and I dare them to do it anyway. “Just do it,” I share (to quote Nike). “What’s the worst that can happen if you do it?” I ask. “What’s the worst that can happen if you don’t?” With these questions in mind they often simply laugh at their voices of limitation, and jump in.

What’s the worst thing that can happen if you try to do that thing you don’t think you can do? What’s the worst thing that can happen if you don’t?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in challenging yourself to break through, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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