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There is no such word as can’t

Well, of course, there is such a word. But this has to be one of my most favourite sayings and, in my opinion, gets to the root of what drives someone to succeed.

As a little girl my grandfather constantly used to tell me: “there is no such word as can’t”. I, of course, interpreted that in my early years to thinking I can have all the treats and sweets in the world because nobody could use the word can’t in the phrase “No Jenny, you can’t have 6 bars of chocolate!”.

It is only when I started out in my career that I finally understood the real meaning of the phrase. As Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.”

If you face each daily challenge with the thought that you can’t do something, then you will either avoid trying that something or try but give up easily if you feel that task is ‘beyond you’.

I firmly believe that you can take what you have been given in terms of natural ability and apply this to anything you wish. Think about your job and your daily work. If you decide to keep within your comfort zone of activities that you know how to do and do them well, then you will, of course, continue to be effective in your job. But what if you want to progress into a bigger and better job, one that has more status and pay? One that you will find more challenging because it will involve more skills than you currently have and greater responsibility? To get that job however and to develop in your career, you are not going to be able to stay in your comfort zone.

So what keeps people there? Is it a fear of failure, of not being good enough to do something? Perhaps they feel they might look stupid if they try something new, so it is better not to try to do it in the first place. But if they don’t try – they will never know. It is only the self-limiting belief that they CAN’T do something that is holding them back.

I have been very fortunate to work for organisations that are prepared to open the doors to new opportunities. Firms that recognise that not everyone wants to stay in the same job forever and that will continually invest in the training and support to develop skills and encourage you to constantly try new tasks. When this happens, your comfort zone automatically becomes much larger!

I hope that you have an employer who never says you can’t do something and gives you the opportunity to try new tasks and develop new skills. And that, when you have those opportunities, you will step outside your comfort zone and remember “there is no such word as can’t”.

Jenny Oldfield, CEO, Veritas Commercial Services

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