The Art of Possibility

The Art of Possibility


I was at a client recently. I was hunkered down in their conference room trying to knock out a few emails in between meetings. I noticed a sign that caught my attention.

The sign read 10 Rules for Meetings and was clearly posted as some guiding principles for those who use the room. It included a few goodies like (in no particular order):

  1. Give everyone a chance to speak before speaking again

  2. Assign action items and timeframes

  3. Finish on time

  4. Have a clear purpose and agenda for the meeting

While these are great reminders of what makes an effective and productive meeting, there was one that grabbed my attention:


I stopped to ponder the value of that statement.  How many times do we all sit in meetings that get de-railed by what “can’t” be done when trying to solve a problem?  I have been in meetings where one problem has turned into an immeasurable list of the things we can’t do. Roadblock after roadblock. We spent so much time talking about what we can’t do that we forgot what the problem was.

I completely understand how those conversations happen, but they can totally hijack a meeting, stifle creativity, demoralize the team, and leave everyone feeling defeated.  The true genius is within those folks who are not saddled by what cannot be done, but challenged by the possibilities of what can.  They are POSSIBILITARIANS, and they tend to open doors for all of us.  Remind yourself of the jobs created by folks like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and thousands like them who decided to chase what is possible rather than focus on what they can’t do.

For a few fleeting moments, this one simple rule opened a world of opportunity for me.  It reminded me that I am more valuable to my company, and my peers, and my clients when I chase what is possible and focus on “getting things done.” Sometimes I ruffle feathers. Sometimes I say the wrong thing. Or sometimes my good intentions are labelled as “we can’t do that.” And sometimes I stumble on an idea that makes a positive impact on a wide audience.

With thanks to my customer and a simple little sign in their conference room, I am reminded that the chase for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is far better than sitting alone justifying that I “can’t” find it because it doesn’t exist.

Seize the day!  Chase the moment!  Be a POSSIBILITARIAN!  You have it in you!