THE BLOG

How to Turn "I Can't" Into "I Can"

09/10/2010 12:22 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

TurnICantIntoICan.pngSo often the only thing stopping us from achieving a goal? Ourselves. We tell ourselves that we can't do something or that we are not good at something simply because we're not used to doing it or because we have never tried it.

For instance, for years I've been telling everyone--including myself--that I am not a morning person. I don't even know my name in the morning. I'm a night owl. I don't function before noon. Mornings are not in my genetic code.

I've organized my life around this belief. If I need to do something that requires a lot of creative thought? I schedule it in the afternoon or evening.

Last year, however, I was scheduled to do a series of radio interviews to promote my book Perseverance. Of course, I would have liked to have done the interviews in the afternoon or evening, but I didn't have a choice. These were drive time shows. Either I did the interviews early in the morning or I lost my opportunity to do them altogether.

I firmly told myself, "I can do this." I didn't let myself believe otherwise.

The night before my first interview, the power went out. My alarm didn't go off. Two minutes before the scheduled interview, I just happened to wake, look at my watch, and see the time. I got out of bed and on the phone. I did the interview on autopilot, and I pulled it off.

Not only could I function in the morning, I could do it without the use of caffeine and even without any preparation. Just think of how much better I could be in the morning if I had time to prepare!

So on the rest of my interview mornings, I did just that. I got out of bed at least 30 minutes before the first interview, so I had time to have breakfast and coffee and review my notes. By the end of the week, I was wondering if there was anything I couldn't do in the morning.

The experience taught me these lessons about turning "I Can't" into "I Can."

Believe in yourself. Don't give yourself any other option. If other people can do it, so can you.

Find ways to ease yourself into it. For instance, I got up earlier than needed so I could prepare. What can you do to make this unfamiliar experience feel more familiar?

Give yourself a check mark. I created check boxes on a piece of paper. I checked off a box each time I successfully completed a morning interview. Then, before upcoming interviews, I looked at my checked boxes and said to myself, "I did this before, and I can do this again."

How do you turn the feeling of "I Can't" into "I Can?"