Two years ago, to the day. I was splashing in the waves in Praia da Pipa with my husband, on our honeymoon. This trip was the stuff of dreams… mixing up total relaxation with intrepid adventuring in a three week Brazilian odyssey that started and ended in Rio. Praia might have been my favorite part of the whole remarkable excursion, because we spent several days rising with the sun and then wandering down to the secluded beach below our hotel, where we floated, swam, tumbled in the waves, drank cocktails out of pineapples, read books and generally beach-bummed it out. But then the impossible happened…
Let me interject here to say…
Like most of us, I’ve realized that in my life, I’m good at some stuff – I will be bold enough to say I think I am REALLY good at a few things. But there is A LOT of stuff I feel I am so crap at, that I flee running and screaming in the opposite direction at the mere hint that I should need to participate in these things. For me personally, I am good at the ‘head and heart stuff’ but have no faith in most of my physical abilities. My belief that ‘I can do anything’ is fairly well developed, but actually only runs deep in one narrow area of my life. Everywhere else, I feel absolutely ruled by my need to please people, avoid judgment, fit in, ‘be normal’ and avoid confrontation with the parts of myself where I feel inadequate. Basically, I HATE trying or doing anything I am not good at.
Can you relate??
Let’s head back to Praia…
So, I am in heaven, in the sun, on the beach, in honeymoon glow with my favorite human in the world, who makes me feel like the most beautiful, capable human in the world… so not only am I not that bothered about being in a bathing suit all day for days-on-end, but I feel brave enough to just TRY something I would never ordinarily even consider…
I agree to take a surfing lesson.
Now I have done this once before, in a wet suit, in Canada. It was enjoyable and exquisitely beautiful, but I spent most of my lesson on the beach learning the ‘pop up’ manoeuvre, and then bobbing in the waves, baffled by how to spot and paddle into the right place at the right time. It was fun, but not what I’d call a ‘success’.
So, back to Praia and I enthusiastically grab my board and wade out into the waves with my instructor. I am keen to try and happy to be in the sea, but under no circumstances do I think I will be standing up on a surf board today.
I will save you the splashy, salty details, but the long story short is that in less than an hour, on that beach in Praia, I f*cking stood up on that board. More than once. I rode waves. I had accomplished the IMPOSSIBLE.
I was stunned and thrilled and couldn’t wait to do it again and again and again. But I also learned something that day… I was stronger than I thought. I was more coordinated than I knew. I was capable of trying something new and succeeding at it – even when every fibre of my being told me I couldn’t. Might seem seem obvious, but I learned first-hand that impossible is a state-of-mind.
Your Impossible Stuff.
Since that day, I have chased impossible things, choosing one at a time and making them possible. For me, in my body and mind.
What I realized when I let the magnitude of the surfing experience sink in, was a few things:
- I was the only one surprised I had done it. My husband, my instructor, they didn’t doubt me – only me.
- I had been accomplishing the impossible for years but never acknowledging it
- The surfing experience was duplicatable – Now I knew I could accomplish the impossible, there was no turning back!
Here’s the punchline though – you are me and I am you. My impossible stuff might seem easy for you, and vice versa, but we are ALL capable of busting through those limitations, no matter how real, well-defined and logical they are. Your doubt… Your dedication to your belief that it is NOT possible is your biggest obstacle.
Stay in the Loop with the Possible Project
The next step in acknowledging the
impossible is to make a list. Those of you who know me know I LOVE a list [I actually used one to manifest my husband, no joke, but that’s a story for another day!] Make a list of all the things you think are impossible for you. Things you’d ‘like to do but aren’t any good at’ or ‘could never afford’ or ‘physically would never be able to do’.
Next you want to number them from the ‘easiest’ to the ‘hardest’ – the easiest will probably either be things you’ve never tried or things that can be bought. The hardest will probably be stuff you’ve tried over and over to do and have yet to really nail it. This list and prioritizing can take quite a lot of digging and mental & emotional work – so it’s a ‘work in progress’ – don’t think this is a 5 min. project – it’s ongoing!
You can see some of my list here… The stuff I’ve crossed off I have set out to accomplish and succeeded. Then you’ll see, I’ve updated the next round of ‘impossible’ – the next step in making the ‘dream come true’ or living the dream in action in my life now…
Move to California > Move abroad > Spend the winter somewhere warm > Move somewhere warm Meet the man of my dreams [preferably with sexy accent] > Actively nurture a brilliant marriage Lose 10 lbs > Lose 10 more lbs > Lose 10 more lbs > Lose 10 more lbs Decide if we want to have kids > Decide when to have kids > Have kid > Raise kid Decide which language to become fluent in > Become fluent in Spanish Get my name on the cover of a book > Get hired by a publisher for a coffee table book > Self-publish a book > Get the Million Dollar Dog Brand into the hands of everyone it can help Backpack over some mountains > Hike the Himalayas Get paid to speak > Get Paid to Speak at Global Pet Expo [see you in March!] > Hold my own conference Designing + building a Million Dollar Dog Brand > Help others design & build their own MDDB’s Getting my UK driving license > Get a car I love Try surfing & STAND UP > Start Running > Run a 5k
Keep on top of my bookkeeping & accounting
Build a business that pays me a consistent, predictable wage > Financial Freedom [aka be debt-free] Get published in a dog magazine > Get published in Bark magazine > Shoot Dog Magazine covers > Get published in Forbes, Time, Entrepreneur or Fast Company Build my business to afford a team > Hire Project Manager > Hire Virtual Assistant > Hire Personal Assistant > Get better at delegating to assistants Find work-life balance [have at least one day off] > Work max 4-6 hours a day, 4-5 days a week Build location-independence into my life + work > Move home but keep freedom Find a horse to ride regularly > Fulfil my childhood dream of having my own horse Outsource cooking & cleaning > Outsource cooking
As you can see – with the
impossible project you’re never done, you’re just upping your game. Your acknowleding all you’ve accomplished and then setting your sights higher.
I want to take special care to note, the ‘possible project’ is not about ‘never being satisfied’ – it is about continually pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone so that you can grow. Our comfort zones are comfy and safe for sure, but they’re stale. They’re predictable. They’re limiting.
Let’s be clear though, growth is uncomfortable. On it’s own, it’s difficult to pursue because, who wants to be uncomfortable for fun? No one. The whole reason we set these ‘impossible goals’ is to have something we want badly enough to endure the painful ground between the familiar embrace of our past experience, and the euphoria of having accomplished the impossible. As annoying as it is, the growth is actually the bit that fulfils us.
As humans we run this thing called the hedonic treadmill – which basically means we acclimate VERY quickly to extreme highs and lows in our happiness quota. This means there aren’t really permanent gains in our happiness from things like a fancy new car or getting that book deal. [Luckily this also works in reverse so we bounce back very quickly from major disappointments as well]. We maintain a pretty even happiness keel regardless of even the extreme events in our lives.
So what is the point of all of this goal setting and accomplishment if it’s not realllly going to make us as happy long-term as we think? The point is the growth, the journey outside your comfort zone…
The point is your confidence in your ability to achieve the impossible.
The point is to find comfort inside your own skin. To find peace. To find deep unfiltered joy.
To push all of the stuff that doesn’t really matter aside… because you finally give yourself permission to be enough. To be yourself. To just be.
If you’re interested in learning more about this, the study of ‘wellbeing’ and finding fulfilment is called positive psychology :
“Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.”
The Challenge: #iampossibleproject
So, my challenge to you… is will you join me in the
impossible project? If you say yes, you have to commit to these three things:
- Make the list of
- Identify at least the first 5 that seem the ‘easiest’
- Start on ONE of them ASAP.
I would LOVE to hear what some of your
impossible tasks are… Tell me over on Facebook or on Instagram or right here in the comments below. Tell me what you’re going to take on first and DEFINITELY share your wins – be sure to tag #iampossibleproject – let’s start a record of our awesomeness!
Check Back Often
impossible project post is the start in a series where I will be sharing insights into how to tackle the impossible one little niggling self-doubt at a time. I will be providing real strategies to help you work on public enemy #1: your beliefs