With due deference to Jean-Luc Piccard, Captain of the Starship Enterprise who said that line, try and wrap your head around the words in my title. If you are like me, and many of my friends, colleagues and clients, you have probably told yourself at least a few times in this life that some particular thing you were trying to overcome was “impossible.” You said it, you believed it and you became resigned to it. Each time you told yourself how impossible it was, you breathed life into it, over and over again, out of your frustration and your fear.
I can tell you how this process gets wound up and rolling. A client will come to me feeling sad, frustrated and overwhelmed by a job situation that is making her miserable; when I probe with questions about what is getting in the way of her changing those circumstances, she will at some point say that it is “impossible” to give up her job, or to find another one, or to let go of the emotional trapeze bar to which she has been clinging for months or years. She cites all the reasons it is impossible in full painful detail.
At that point our work is cut out for us: my client needs to give herself a fighting chance to make things different by at least entertaining the possibility of what a future would look like, and feel like, if the job in question were replaced with a new one that made her happy. If she resists that suggestion and won’t venture – even a teeny bit- into the field of possibilities with me, then I know it’s going to be a long while before a new job will appear. There’s a cause and effect process in place – she keeps telling herself it’s impossible, and because that belief is so strongly rooted in her spirit, she keeps finding proof/evidence for how it is, in fact, impossible. She’s miserable, but not enough to open up her options.
But if my client gets a certain semi-wild gleam in her eyes, and gives herself permission to play in the field of possibilities with me, she will begin to imagine what life would be like if she worked at something she truly loved. And that is powerful and liberating and exciting! I have seen miracles happen when imagination is unleashed. The Universe seems to nod approvingly, and affirms, “So you want that new and different job you have been dreaming about, eh? OK, you will be helped by an unseen energy field that will appear in the form of “coincidental meetings, the right conversations and books, helpful interviews and supportive people all designed to lead you to your desired destination.” I am not talking about weird happenings or what we might call “woo-woo” stuff, but I do mean uncanny encounters that are so purposeful and so on target that they seem perfectly arranged for you and the life you were meant to live. Here are three examples:
- A client came to my career workshop called “Creating the work you love” and became fired up as she described the kind of work she wanted which admittedly sounded a little hard to find – she wanted to work with artists, in an artistic setting, and to contribute bookkeeping while being immersed in art. A few weeks after the workshop, I heard from her on Linked In to tell me how an opening had appeared at a local artists’ consortium for someone to help manage their business accounting; because she was so well prepared by the workshop to describe what she wanted in short, concise and clear language, she made an instant positive impression on the interviewing team. The conversation flowed and she was offered the job one week later…in spite of the fact that she had no previous experience working in the arts. They said in the offer letter that “with your enthusiasm for the job and your deep passion for the arts, we know you will be a tremendous addition to our team.”
- A woman came to see me one spring with a dream of rescuing turtles on the Carolina coast; she had been widowed two years earlier and felt the need to make a new life, but asked me if I thought she was just “running away” from her loneliness. A week after that session she sent me an update about her travel plans to spend a week exploring the area, the turtle aquarium, and to be with other like-minded turtle lovers: “I have really been giving a lot of thought to what you said about the difference between running away vs. starting a new life. I didn’t want to “run” because no matter where you go, you go with yourself. I’m just so relieved that is not what I was truly thinking. Fact is, I just may need to start a new life… Thank you for your encouragement. I needed to know there is still a sense of adventure in me. I have felt like the life had been sucked out of me. I’ve been stuck for quite a long time. Now there are new possibilities! I’m not getting any younger and now is the time to do some investigating.” While she ultimately decided not to move to Carolina, she did meet a realtor who showed her area homes, and he and his wife are turtle rescue volunteers so they also took her along for a few days as they did their work. She had a wonderful time, and plans to return there for many more visits with her new friends and fellow turtle lovers; she wrote to say that she feels alive again, energized and engaged with life!
- I recently visited an assisted living facility to discuss hosting a Conscious Aging series; after a lovely, relaxed conversation with the activities director, she suddenly said,
“We’ve been looking for someone like you to facilitate a support group for our residents and their families; and you are perfect for the job with your background! Would you be interested?” I had been attracted to this particular facility because it’s close to my office and I drive by it all the time. I had visited once a few years ago and it is very pretty inside. I had been wondering if they would be open to the workshop series, and I had a fleeting thought that maybe I could be of more service to them beyond the workshops. So when she asked me that question, it felt fine, even a bit familiar; I said yes with a smile and we have plans to meet in a few weeks to discuss the details of an August series, and starting the support group in the fall.
I agree with the famous Napolean Hill quote, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” You heart’s desire is only impossible until it’s not and you have the power to create what you can imagine; the Universe is a cooperative and friendly place. It wants to help you bring good into the world, and when you are doing work that you are suited for, it will be good for you and good for the world. Rock on!