Back in olden times, when gyms were open and we could sweat together in person, I was a regular at my local Y, showing up most days of the week for some kind of group fitness class. As much as possible, I opt in to workouts that challenge not just my physical strength and stamina, but my mental fortitude.
Heart thumping, muscles shaking, sweat dripping, my inner voice does what it can to keep the rest of me positive:
You can do anything for 30 seconds.
You got this.
Don’t you dare stop.
Just a few more seconds.
You asked for this.
OMG you ASKED for this?
WTF were you thinking?!
I can’t do thi…
Just then, another voice breaks through. It’s outside my body. Coming from the front of the room. I blink and regain focus. It’s Olivia, our trainer.
“Yes you can!”
These are words of motivation.
I’m sure I didn’t say those things out loud. And Olivia isn’t even looking at me. How does she know I was about to cheat my pushups, drop my barbell, or bail on those godforsaken pulse squats?
She knows because she’s been there. She might even BE there, reaching that point of exhaustion right along with the rest of us. In that moment, she has the presence of mind to drop this motivating phrase, right when we need it.
“Yes you can!”
I heard these same three words come out of my own mouth during a coaching session two weeks ago. My client, rehearsing for a virtual presentation, was struggling to find words to explain his slides. I asked him to ignore the slides for a moment and give me the gist in his own words. He did–with remarkable clarity, passion, and personality.
At one point he said, “And then when I get to this point, it’s like, ‘But wait, there’s more!’”
“Cool! Delete the headline on that slide,” I said (the same headline that appeared on every slide in that section of the deck), “and replace it with ‘But wait, there’s more.’ It’s a good cue for you, and a relatable phrase for your audience.”
“(Gasp) I can’t do that,” he said.
“Everyone does it this way. It’s in the template. I can’t put my own words in there.”
“Yes you can.”
These are words of permission.
As I write this, most of us are longing for 2020 to just finish already–as if the new year will bring a magical end to all struggle, strife, and sadness. If only. More likely, we’re going to have to summon plenty of courage and creativity to make good things happen in the year to come.
So, when your willpower withers or your confidence caves, make this your mantra:
Yes you can.
What tempts you to say, “No I can’t,” and how do you overcome the urge to quit? As you head into 2021, what opportunities and obstacles will prompt you to say, “Yes I can”?