10 Ways to Do Your Own Impossible Daily
As some of you may have heard, I spoke at the University of California, San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. At about 10:55am, I swore to myself I would never public speak again… by 11:55am, I thought ‘That was kinda fun.’ Ha!
The conference was about Empowering and Connecting Students Towards Sustainable Global Health – a topic I am passionate about! And my role was to lead an icebreaker for the students, which meant I had 45 minutes to educate and engage over 200 students on how to create meaningful connections.
As many of you know we don’t use the word ‘networking’ at Live Your Legend because our focus is all about finding genuine and memorable connections. Anyone can walk into a room, hand out 100 business cards and leave no impact. But the way to connect at a deeper level (and therefore become memorable) is to focus on creating genuine connections, one person at a time.
So basically, I shared a couple of connecting tips and facilitated an interaction. I’ll be sure to share the talk once I have it in my hands.
But today we are going to dive into a story I shared with the students and go deeper into a topic that is not only important to Live Your Legend, but is also personally a daily part of my life. And that is… Doing Your Own Impossible!
Passionate Work Framework
Many of you are familiar with Live Your Legend’s Passionate Work Framework that Scott shared in his TEDx Talk (which, to date, has nearly 6.5 million views, btw!) but for those of you who aren’t, it consists of three pillars for finding and doing work you love – the three things we believe will get you on the path to actually turning your dreams into reality.
We walk through this process step by step and in full detail in our full Live Off Your Passion guided discovery course, but today we are going to hone in on pillar two.
Side Note: next month we will talk more about ‘Becoming a Self-Expert’ and have a very exciting new course to announce that focuses specifically on that topic! Be sure to click here to get insider’s access for more details about how to take step one of the Passionate Work Framework – How to Become a Self-Expert and Discover Your Passion!
Why Doing The Impossible Matters (more than you might think!)
When you do the things you don’t think can be done, you start to show yourself what you are truly capable of.
And if there is anything that I have learned over the past 7 months since losing Scott, it is that we are so much more capable than we could ever imagine. You can do so much more than you think you can.
If anyone would have told me prior to September 12, 2015 that I would…
- Lose my husband
- Do all I needed to do while in and to get home from Africa
- Plan (and deliver a speech at) his memorial service
- Run Live Your Legend
- Share my voice and experience through blog posts, speeches and interviews.
… I would have told you there was absolutely no way I could ever do even one of those things, not to mention all of them! I would have told you it was absolutely impossible.
And there are endless stories of other people who have done the things they once thought were impossible. One of the most inspiring is of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” -Dr. Viktor E Frankl
Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl survived four different concentration camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife all died. Through his experience, Frankl not only proved he could do things that once seemed impossible, but he also came up with a theory (known today as logotherapy) that argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. That our primary motivation as humans is to discover and pursue what we personally find meaningful – or as we might say To Live Your Legend!
But in order to do this we need to strengthen our minds, because our brains are still wired for survival, which is great, except for the fact that our surroundings have evolved much quicker than our brains. Most of us no longer need to survive a tiger running after us!
That is why it is important for you to learn how manage your mind. We are so much stronger than our minds think we are… So, if you limit yourself to what your mind thinks you can do, you will always be limited.
And it is pretty hard to discover and live your life’s purpose when your mind is always telling you that you can’t do things…
Small Steps Become Big Leaps
One of the quickest ways to strengthen your mind is to show yourself that you can do the things you never thought you could do (or that your mind tells you that you can’t do). To prove to yourself that you can!
Some of us tend to do this with big things like:
- Running distances that seem crazy to us when we first sign up for them
- Setting yearly goals or outcomes we want to achieve
- Dreaming big about the places we want to go, the places we want to live and things we want to do.
But what if you could prove to yourself that you could ‘do the impossible’ with the small things as well?
I think it is important to start here because when you start to say yes to the small things that you think are impossible, you’ll start to say yes to the big things that you think are impossible.
That is exactly what I did when I stood on that stage last week! I have never facilitated anyone doing anything before. I’ve never tried to deliver a message, inform and inspire before. But because I decided years ago to say yes to the small things (and prove that I can do them), it gives me confidence that I can do that with the bigger things as well.
In my opinion, it’s a snowball effect. When you begin to say yes to the small things that scare you, you’ll start to say yes to the big things that scare you… And the more you say yes, the more you’ll attempt. And the more you attempt, the more you’ll accomplish.
And this is why I try to do things daily that show myself I am capable of more than I think I am.
One example is a small act I do every day…
I take a freezing cold shower every morning.
Why do I do this? Not because it is particularly enjoyable (although I actually have come to mostly enjoy it). I do this because every single morning my mind starts to say:
- You can’t.
- What are you thinking?
- This is crazy.
- Maybe tomorrow would be a better day…
But then every single day, when I turn that knob to cold, I remind myself that I can do the things I don’t think can be done. The things my mind tries to talk me out of. The things that challenge me beyond my comfort zone.
And because I have gotten used to saying yes to this everyday, it means I am more comfortable saying yes to bigger and bigger things as they present themselves.
Beliefs are Not Facts
Now I know there are some skeptics out there that don’t see how torturing myself with a cold shower every morning makes any difference in my life. And I get it, I was there too.
But what I think is important to remember is that our beliefs are simply a set of things that we tell ourselves to be true. Beliefs are not facts. That’s why two people can (with their whole heart!) believe completely opposite things. This is also why people can make radical changes in their belief structures – go from being a hard-core republican to later being a democrat, a religious person to an atheist, etc. Those are extreme examples but I think you get my point.
Beliefs have nothing to do with someone being smart or stupid, right or wrong. Beliefs come from a set of meanings, stories or reasons we come up with to make them true. Want to believe that people are inherently evil? You’ll start to notice everything that proves that to be true – the news stories, the examples you experience in your life, etc. Want to believe people are inherently good? You’ll start to notice when you see someone help a grandmother across the street, or the look in someone’s eyes when they see someone they love.
But more important to note, is that often times our beliefs were created unconsciously (through a series of experiences) or from other people (something we were taught or conditioned in life). So the more you start to question, learn and discover WHY you do what you do and WHY you believe what you believe, you’ll start to know yourself better – and therefore be able to make better decisions to live the life YOU actually want live!
So today we’re going to share some simple ideas of daily ways to do the impossible.
Because, hey, who knows where you might be limiting yourself? Or what you might be capable of? You’ll never actually know unless you try, so give it a shot!
You might be pleasantly surprised, and who doesn’t love a good surprise. 🙂
10 Ways to Do The Impossible Daily
1. Take a Cold Shower
I know the thought of it sounds horrific – it was to me a few years ago too. And I started by doing it the way people suggested, beginning with a hot shower and finishing cold.
However, I adapted to a way that works for me. I rinse my shampoo while the shower is cold, turn back hot, then rinse my conditioner on cold. It ends up making me experience more overall cold time (as I often don’t ever go back to the full hot) and bonus, I prove to myself TWICE in one session I can do the things my mind tells me I cannot do!
2. Play with Your Diet
This is an easy one because, at least for most of us, eating is something that we do every day – and that is what we are going after, testing the limits of the things that we do daily.
I’ve done this with many things (going a month without sugar/coffee/alcohol, etc.) but recently I have done this with intermittent fasting. You can read about it here on my friend James’ site.
I’ll admit, it was challenging for the first few days, but then it started to not be so bad. It claims to have some health benefits – and it is a little easier for the ladies, woot! I am not super rigid about but I do it most days – partially because I am still experimenting whether it is something that I want to keep or ditch.
3. Do a Monthly ‘Without”
As I noted in the last point, I’ve done this many times over. A month without sugar, coffee, gluten, etc. This is a great way to show yourself that you can do the things you don’t think can be done, and also a way to get rid of some of those sneaky little addictions you may have accumulated over the years.
I like this way of going about things because it’s just enough time to prove that you don’t need what you think you do, but also not so long that you feel like you are giving it up forever.
And, in the end, you are the person who gets to decide what you do and don’t want to do in your life. Some of my experiments led me to see that I actually create a bit of stress around restricting certain things (when it comes to social situations, feeling like I shouldn’t do something, etc.) and therefore I make the choice to keep that in my life.
Do I need coffee, no not at all. Do I enjoy the experience of it? Yes! So, I do – but there is a freedom in knowing I don’t actually need it…
4. Do a Monthly “With”
Adding things in can be equally as challenging as taking things out for this period of time. But same idea as above, committing to a month is just enough time to possibly build a habit but it’s not enough time to seem daunting or that it is “forever”, which in the end will just kill your motivation.
I’ve done this with writing thank you notes, doing a random act of kindness, calling a friend, watching the sunset, waking up to see the sunrise, etc.
Decide something you want to see more of in your life. Set an alarm for the same time each day. And let that be a reminder to do that task.
5. Start-a Blog
Cliche, coming off that last point, I know. But as we mentioned a few weeks ago, writing is one of the best self discovery tools we know.
So if you start to practice writing daily, not only do you prove to yourself that you can do something you may not think is possible, but it also helps you to learn and discover more about yourself. Double Win!
6. Walk Where you would Normally Drive
I am thankful that I live in such a walk-friendly city (and it’s a good thing since I don’t own a car!) but most of us live in a place where if we shifted our routine (and our beliefs) we could walk somewhere that we normally drive. This could be to work, to the store, or even to the mailbox!
It’s a small act but will help you start to realize that you don’t need to do things the way you have always done them, just because that is the way you have always done them – and you’ll get a little exercise in!
7. Schedule Stillness
In the past, I’ve mentioned why I think this is important because of how it extends to other parts of your life. But so many people don’t think that they have time, or that they aren’t creative, or that they can live without their phones.
The first idea that comes to mind is around creating space for a gratitude or meditation practice. But there are many ways you can do this that fit with your life – eating without the TV on, walking outside, leaving your phone at home, etc.
And if you can find 5 minutes to do something, who knows? You might also be able to find 10, or 15, or 20? That starts to add up!
8. Disconnect to Connect
We all know that this was a very important topic to Scott and as these devices evolve, we seem to be getting more and more addicted to them. I am certainly guilty myself, at times. And that’s why removing the temptation can be a good reminder that we did once live without them!
What if you decided to call or text a friend everytime you went to open FaceBook or turned your phone on airplane mode everytime you sat down for dinner. What if you talked to the stranger on the bus instead of burying your head in your phone? Who knows what you might learn, who you might meet, or what you might experience…
9. Set Boundaries
Think the world will stop if you don’t work 12 hours a day? Try working 11.5 instead and notice what happens. Think you can’t possibly run more than 30 minutes? Try running for 31 and notice what happens. When you push your limits, your possibilities start to expand!
We often set boundaries for ourselves and stick to them because that is what we have always done. But as we test and break them, we start to learn that they might be silly little boundaries that cause us all kinds of unnecessary problems.
Or you learn that you do actually need them. Either way, you learn something so there is no harm in testing it out!
10. Turn No into Yes
The next time you hear yourself start to say no, stop yourself and say yes.
Start to notice how often you say no (this is a whole separate blog post!) and at least once a day, stop yourself and say yes instead!
Because remember, when you start to say yes to the small things that scare you, you’ll be more likely to say yes to the big things that scare you.
That is how you look back on your life 1, 5 or 10 years from now and say, “Wow, I cannot believe I did that” instead of “I wish I would have done that.”
Consistency is key. So start with the little impossibilities… because those small steps add up to you doing things that you never could have imagined you were capable of.
And that is how your world starts to change…
What ‘impossible’ you commit to tackling daily?
Let us know in the comments below!
– Chelsea Dinsmore
Source: Man’s Search For Meaning