I have the blessing to collaborate with a friend, mentor and powerful man on a weekly basis. He called me up the other week to discuss a business challenge as we often leverage each other’s strengths to create powerful assessments of the environment we are working in. Ray is quite wise and will never admit being so, thus making him even more wise in my book.
He was describing a challenge in which his leadership team stated that they cannot do anything with the data they have available. This troubled Ray, because doing something with the data would be worth millions of dollars to the bottom line of his company and the narrative that something “can’t” be done perturbed him tremendously, as it should. We then began discussing how data is always valuable, that it just has a half-life. Meaning, with each passing second that wisdom is not gleaned from the data that is collected, it becomes half as valuable, but never worthless. Thus, a greater impetus must be placed on moving data to information to insight to knowledge to wisdom. Falling short of wisdom, data is worthless, a chasing after the wind.
We came to the conclusion that not doing anything with the data was troublesome, but the idea that “I can’t do anything with the data” was being preached from a leadership position was poisionous. My dear friend stated, “once you state something cannot be accomplished, it will not be accomplished”. Wow! Very simple, but even more powerful.
He then proceeded to tell me a story of him trying to teach his son how to ride a bike. After many failed attempts, his son finally stated that he “cannot ride his bike” and Ray added in the word “yet” to his narrative. He knelt down next to his son and explained to him that the word “I can’t” is never allowed in his headspace unless the word “yet” is added. Such a small pivot in the narrative of life that will have huge implications for his son for many years to come. Imagine if we breathed into the world that we cannot land on the moon and left it at that. Would we have gone to the moon if such a narrative was embodied? Of course not. Instead, adding the phrase “I can’t land on the moon, yet” leaves an opening for possibilities and opportunity. How many opportunities are we shutting out of our life by simply saying “I can’t” and believing it?
Have fun! I am!!