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The can that’s hard

Orion constellation panorama
Creative Commons License photo credit: write_adam

As I look back over the last 12 years or so, I’m convinced that Scott Dinsmore is exactly right.

None of us have least bit of a clue what we can really do. Not the faintest idea.

On the contrary, we’re all fairly sure what we can’t do. But the whole “can’t” thing is really way too easy. It’s the can that hard.

“Can too”

Remember when you were a kid and your best friend or your brother or sister would get into a silly argument? One of you would say “Can too!”, to which the other would reply with an insightful “Can not!”?

While it sounds a lot like most modern-day political conversations, the same thing goes on inside our heads all the time.

Have you ever put any thought into which one of you wins? I mean the yous inside of you.

Rather than get you all weirded out with touchy-feely stuff, here’s an example.

Except for a couple of months when in Tennessee, I’ve been running several times a week since sometime early this year.

I’d go to the place where I run and get after it on the elliptical or the treadmill (usually both, back to back) until I’d run two or three miles. On a big day, I’d go five. As I got back in the groove from my time out of town, I managed to get 12-20 miles in every week.

Those miles were chipped away at what seemed like a decent enough pace until I was done. Despite the drenched clothes and sometimes grumpy knees, it hit me one day that I was slugging along at a rather generous pace of 11 to 14 minute miles.

Faster than your grandmother, but not what I expected after months. Something bugged me.

Kinda like Monk

It was that danged Nike+ smartphone app.

Like most running/hiking tracker applications, it has a GPS and a motion sensor so it can record your pace and distance.

The troubling part is that there’s a records display and the 10k one was empty. I’m one of those undiagnosed sometimes OCD types about some things (we all have “those things”, it seems) and that empty spot just made me nuts.

One day, I couldn’t take it any more. I decided to fill that box one Wednesday a few weeks back.

Took me 90 minutes the first time. Pathetically slow, but the box was filled with nowhere to go but down (in pace/time). In over 50 years I had run a 10k once.

Two days later, I ran another one. Then a weird thing happened.

My regular run pacing started to shrink like a fat guy locked in a sauna. Instead of 15 minutes on average to do each of slightly more than 6 miles, I started seeing my long run fastest-mile-pace dropping from 12 or 13 minutes per mile to nine and change.

Because I didn’t know I could do that, I guess I just did. The Nike slogan suddenly made more sense than ever before.


Not all that long ago, a guy told me I couldn’t do something. Said I’d be back in 6 months.

So I did it anyway…12 years ago.

The specifics don’t matter. The lesson is simple: Start. Then don’t quit.

I know…it’s a platitude you’ve heard 1000 times. Have you heeded it?

If you’re going to invest your time, energy and money in something, put it into something impossible, insane, unprecedented, life-changing. Don’t waste all that energy on something that isn’t worth darned near losing your mind over. Do something that’s so killer, so incredibly difficult, so rewarding and yes…so profitable that you don’t have any idea how you’ll make it work.

That hunger has value you can’t imagine.

Start. Now.

Maybe you’ve already started

Your business might be stuck at that 15 minute mile type of plateau. What do you do? How do you go faster, better, stronger? Every week I write about strategies to break through business plateaus.

Is your plateau breaker sitting there like that empty 10k record box?

Sometimes you just have to do something you’ve never done to learn the potential of what you really can do.

Anyone can just plod along. Why not do something impossible?