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What if?

In 1997 this email story landed in my Inbox as it was repeatedly passed around the internet.

“A commercial airline jet was sitting at the airport waiting for the pilot and co-pilot to arrive. Just as the passengers started to really get restless, the airline announced that the pilots had arrived. The pair came through the back entrance to the plane and began making their way to the front. The passengers noticed that both men appeared blind. They were tapping canes and one was led by a seeing-eye dog. After they sat down in the cockpit, the passengers exchanged nervous glances and made a few jokes, but then the engines started and the plane began to roll down the runway. The passengers craned their necks forward as the engines grew louder and louder and the plane moved faster and faster. As the plane approached the end of the runway it still had not lifted from the ground. At the last minute, the passengers screamed and the plane pulled up into the air. After the plane was at a safe altitude, the co-pilot looked at the pilot and said, “You, now, one of these days they aren’t going to scream, and then how are we going to know?”

I’ve noticed from watching others and more directly, being aware of my own thought processes, how we, as humans, look to what has been done before to determine what can be done in the future. What if we didn’t? What if we decided what we could do without looking at the limitations created by past processes? While there is a case to be made for not recreating the wheel every time something needs to be done, I think there is also room to consider what we might do if the voices around us, behind us, even in front of us, didn’t signal how we ought to do things. Like all concepts, there is generally  a contradicting point, so consider it on a case by case basis.

When I look to see what type of ski tricks are currently being pulled off ski jumps, that informs what I will allow myself to consider as possible. For years a “daffy” and “spread eagle” were all the rage. The “360” was the big daring feat. And then someone dared do a “720” and then that was the new bar. Today the tricks being pulled are extraordinary and mind blowing. Why didn’t anyone try them 30 years ago?  At one point the idea of a human running the four-minute mile was considered impossible…until it wasn’t. The world was flat…until it wasn’t. What else in your life might have a boundary that feels real, but in reality is just the current man-made limitation?

When I wanted to build this podcast I looked to see how others had done it before me. While it informed me and gave me ideas, in what ways might it limit me if I don’t stop to think what I might add that others haven’t already done?

1.  Think about something you are working on in your life.

2. Consider how you have interpreted what has been done before as you determine how you will pattern and limit your execution of this in your life.

3. Write out a list of things you might do differently that would make your efforts bigger and less limited.

4. Try it!

5. Write us a message, under this blog, and share how you expanded your view of what was possible in some area of your life.

Sometimes the voices screaming in the background can indicate where we need to pull up. Sometimes the voices surrounding us are products of our same limiting belief systems. How do we determine which is which? Think big. Anything is possible.

About the author, Lori

Lori is the host and producer of the Love Your Story podcast, a podcast dedicated to sharing candid interviews and conversations about living our best life stories on purpose. Lori pulls no punches in capturing interviews that shine a light on how we make it through the hard stuff – stress, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders, rape, the death of children, abuse, divorce and the real stuff we have to deal with. But, she also shares interviews with Olympians and incredible athletes, life coaches, therapists, and people who are changing the world – most often these two categories are one and the same. She has a master’s degree in Folklore--her research focuses on the personal narrative. She is the author of six books and over 100 magazine and newspaper articles, including her latest, L.I.F.E. – Living Intentional and Fearless Every Day. She consults with individuals on a personal and business level in helping them find their stories, reframe the ones that are holding them back, and manage the stories they currently tell themselves in order to create the story they personally want to live.

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