We know what we are, but know not what we may be – William Shakespeare
Elon Musk decided that one of his goals was to explore planet Mars instead of the opportunities available on earth which could still have made him a billionaire. Richard Branson started with a small mail-order record business and today has ventured into space exploration. Aliko Dangote started as a petty trader and is today building the largest single-train refinery in the world. These are people who explored possibilities whilst maintaining what is available.
On the other hand, a lot has been written about organisations that focused on what is available and ignored possibilities. Kodak focused on film photography and missed out on digital photography possibilities. Nokia’s hesitance to innovate in the smartphone business, but instead focusing on the strength of its brand; what is available, led to its downfall. Blockbuster refused to innovate and rejected offer to buy Netflix focusing on what is available. The list goes on!
Are you exploring your life possibilities today or you are focusing on what is available and missing out in actualising your full potential? As a coach, my job is to open up possibilities and make my clients see possibilities and it can be very frustrating when clients miss the opportunity to explore possibilities but instead focus on what is available. It is also fulfilling for me when I am able to partner with my clients to see possibilities instead of focusing on what is available. It is the “eureka” or “ahaah” moment that every coach dreams about.
I had a young coaching client whose 5 years goal was to make lots of money and when asked how that will happen, she went blanked. A fresh graduate from school has endless possibilities and she is like a clean slate on which a good story can be written. However, when the goal of the young graduate is to get a job, buy a car, a house and get married, you start asking the question how? And the how is what stimulates the thinking that brings about possibilities. Getting a job is what is available and it is the general aspiration of most young graduates but possibilities outside of getting a job lead to the exploration of possibilities.
There is a story of a colleague of ours who when most of us were working and fighting hard to get promoted, decided to leave paid employment and explore her area of specialisation outside the organisation. We thought she was crazy and today, she is winning laurels in her area of specialisation whilst those she left behind have become frustrated with their jobs. We focused on maintaining what is available and missed exploring what is possible.
The result of focusing on what is available instead of exploring what is possible is that you end up surviving and not living. This leads to frustration and missed opportunities. There is nothing wrong in maintaining what is available as a means of sustenance but it is the exploration of what is possible that brings about success and fulfilment. The world has progressed today as a result of those who explored possibilities instead of being satisfied with the status quo.
To unlock what is possible requires thinking outside the box which most of us find difficult to do. In some cases, we have the capacity to think outside the box but the struggle to survive daily rubs us of the chance to think outside the box. This support role was fulfilled in the past by elders and spiritual leaders, but unfortunately, the society is losing faith in these set of people and turning to coaches and mentors. If you found yourself consumed by daily activities or you don’t have the capacity to think outside the box, it is advisable you get a coach or a mentor.
This essence of this article is captured by Sadhguru who said “Most human beings live like a bird in a cage whose door is blown away. Too busy gold-plating the cage to soar to their ultimate possibility.”