The lunar landscape of The Impossible is one we all encounter at various points in life. You might come across it when someone tells you that the idea you’ve been putting blood and sweat into, “just won’t work”. Or you might stumble through it blindly when you find yourself doubting you’ve got what it takes to see ‘this’ through.
If you’re worth your salt as a courageous adventurer though, it’s at this point that instead of finding the nearest cave to hide out in and give up, you haul out your map and your compass, and reassess your perspective.
It may not be easy to do, but it can be simple. Because turning the impossible into the possible is as simple as a change of perspective.
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they’ve been given, than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion … impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” — Muhammad Ali
The Panorama of Possible
“Impossible” has a meaning that imposes huge limitations. But if we split it into two words, it changes that limitation into opportunity. One that we have power over because … I’m Possible.
The Panorama of Possible is a verdant, wide open space, lush with opportunity. All it needs is you.
I’ve discovered that making things Possible involves three things: a formula, simplicity and consistency.
1. The Formula of Possible
A simple-to-use guide to help you successfully navigate the path that leads to achieving your hopes and dreams:
P = (V+M) * A / S…
P = What’s Possible
V = Vision (your hopes and dreams, where you want to go in life)
M = Mission (your goals, things you want to achieve related to that vision)
A = Action (the steps you need to take to support your vision and mission)
S = Simplify (your vision, mission and actions made simple)
… = Repeat :)
2. Smart Simplicity
“We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple; a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
Yves Morieux researches how corporations can adapt to a modern and complex business landscape. He advocates for “smart simplicity”, a simpler way of thinking and working that acknowledges the complexities of our lives, roles and environments, whilst making them less complicated for us to navigate.
He has also spoken about how too many rules at work keep us from getting things done. I think the same applies in all parts of our life. These days we seem to have so many more unnecessary constraints (both self-imposed and applied by others) that impact on our ability to live our best lives.
These restrictions prevent us from doing the things we really, really want to do, and do well. These things, which seem potentially possible yet difficult to do given all the ‘rules’, tend to get relegated to a bucket list we may get to ‘one day’.
What can we let go of that isn’t serving us, to make room for possibility and simplicity? It could mean cutting ties with a toxic friend, giving Facebook a rest, communicating your needs and boundaries more clearly to your family, or changing your job or even your career.
Our values and beliefs will strongly influence our perspective of what’s possible too. Consider whether they’re supporting you on your journey? If not, do the work to improve your self-image (i.e your view of the YOU that’s possible), so that you can expand your horizons.
Possible = Simple
Make your high level vision and mission as simple as a single sentence that you can imprint. Read it regularly, repeat it to yourself, envision the possibilities, and YOU in them. Decide on two or three important visions for your life. Then drill down, plan and act.
Your visions could include being the best mum in the world. Or inventing something which helps curb the effects of global warming. Or saving animals from a life on the streets. Or simply trying to live and give from a place of love in everything you do. Whatever they are, they’re personal and possible to you.
The Formula of Possible helps you create both compass points and your route map for reaching your destination.
Here’s an example of how to create an action plan that’s simple and possible, using the formula… P = (V+M) * A / S…
To live in a beautiufl place near the sea, which inspires me and my work and feeds my soul.
Find a new home near the sea that has a view while I work, easy access to nature when I don’t, a vibrant community and a strong sense of place. (Certainly possible, but considering I live nowhere near the sea right now, I have a journey to undertake to get there).
Do. Research. Experience. Decide. Search. Move. Live.
(Do the work that creates the resources for me to get there. Research suitable places. Experience them by visiting, meeting the people, trying the food, and exploring the streets, in both sunshine and gale-force sleet storms. Decide on my chosen location. Find a place there. Arrange to move. Live and be merry.)
There are heaps of smaller steps associated with each of these actions, and I need to make them doable to keep them possible.
(But if I keep the main vision and mission in view, then each of my decisions, actions and mini-actions can be guided by these simple compass points.)
Which brings me to the third aspect of the Panorama of Possible…
How do I make these visions, missions and their associated actions possible? I break these goals down into smaller, simple steps, which build upon each other. A series of consistent actions that help me get to where I want to go. Going as small as I need to, to keep these steps simple, doable, possible.
Neil deGrasse Tyson points out that we tend to think that things like love, meaning and motivation are sitting behind a rock and we just find them. The reality is very different:
“The most successful people recognise that in life, they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson
So, we need to do the work in the parts of our life we want to move forward in. Put in the effort repeatedly and consistently, as often as possible. Even if what’s possible today is only one teeny, tiny step in our chosen direction, because we don’t have the capacity for more, it’s still a step.
Even when we’re feeling uncomfortable or scared about what we want or need to do, when we look out on the world from a perspective of what’s possible, then the imaginable becomes believable, and expanding our potential becomes attainable.
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this’, and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
— Marissa Meyer
If I’m possible, and Marissa is possible, then you’re possible too.
How do you start?
Figure out where you want to go and what’s needed. Simplify it and mark it on your map. Put your map and compass in your pocket (or log the coordinates and route markers into your smart phone), and set off to find your Possible.
It’s that simple.
(And speaking of compasses, for added inspiration, it’s worth checking out Floyd Woodrow’s Do Lectures 2017 talk about your North Star).
Curious about connection, communication, design, learning, wellbeing and potential. Sharing thoughts on doing life and business better in our digital world.