Possibilities are all around you.

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, Alice encounters the White Queen. The Queen begins to explain how you cannot do two things at once, but the conversation takes  a different turn.

Alice laughed, “There’s no use trying.” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast…”

Possibilities do exist

When I can’t see how a situation can improve, this simple exchange between Alice and the Queen reminds me that possibilities do exist.

As I work with teams and they share challenges and insurmountable obstacles, I sense a hopelessness. A feeling of helplessness overcomes them. Like Alice, they see no possible way to change the situation or even a simple process.

I know this feeling. I’ve been there myself—many times.

Making a difference, changing what is to what can be, depends on our willingness to believe in “as many as six impossible things before breakfast…” or lunch or in the middle of a meeting.

Inspiration for possibilities

I am always looking for what is possible. How have others tackled a difficult problem or found a better way to improve their school, plant, or office? 

We can always do better. Two books that I read in 2018 inspired me to believe in the possibilities of excellence in myself and in our work places.

Ed Catmull (co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios) showed me in Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration what is possible when we have deep conversations and the value the creativity in each other and our collective work.

As Ed explains . . .

“This book . . . is about the ongoing work of paying attention–of leading by being self-ware, as managers and as companies. It is an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.” (p. xvi)

The examples, the tools, the story of Pixar and the people who create provides steps, possibilities of what can be in our own organizations. True, a school, a manufacturing plant is not the same as a creative studio.

But, how do we allow creativity, inspiration, voice to open the door to possibilities? Ed shares a few ideas worth using.

The second book is one by Greg McKeown (@GregoryMcKeown), Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. I picked up this book because the challenge I face every day is what is most important to do today. 

We spend so much time on things that matter least and bemoan that there just isn’t time to do the right things. Greg’s research and wisdom taught me…

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done, it’s about how to get the right things done…It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” (p. 5)

When you begin to think of at least “six impossible things before breakfast,” there must be a strategy, a process to determine which will get you to your best process, solution, product.

Ideas are all around you

What possibilities will you find for today? While there are many sources of ideas, I offer a word of caution.

Look first within yourself, within your team. Generate your possibilities.

The tools to carry them out are readily available. However, if you do not begin with honest, transparent dialogue in your own head or between your colleagues, you may miss the inspiration of the most essential possibility.

Send me a note or share these ideas with others. And always—be and become #yourbest.