How to Easily Flip the Conversation From Can’t to Can

How to Easily Flip the Conversation From Can't to Can

How to Easily Flip the Conversation From Can’t to Can


Today’s post is inspired by a note from Simon Sinek. It was just a great reminder yesterday morning when this popped up in my email about how easy it is with one question to change the course of a conversation.

I don’t know about you but I find myself in conversations from time to time where it’s all on the downside, it’s all the reasons why we can’t move forward or why it’s so hard and all the reasons that something can’t be done.

I’m really keen on turning this sort of conversation around so we look at how we can approach this in a really resourceful way, so changing the conversation from can’t to can.

You can do this just by asking a really simple question. Even when somebody is fairly dogged with the idea that these are all the reasons why we can’t do something, just ask a question and to see if you can elicit a different kind of response. A response that gives a much more balanced and resourceful perspective to start making great choices from about whether, and how, to move forward or not.

The next time someone starts listing all the reasons an idea won’t work or can’t happen, ask them to give three reasons it can.

Simon Sinek

This is a really great reminder to focus on the ‘what’s possible’ rather than the ‘what’s not possible’ and just see what an incredible difference it can make.  You’ve got the power here to change the conversation.

Let me tell you, a single question can totally change the course of a conversation.

I remember working with a client who was really stuck in all the reasons why something just wasn’t working and never would. She was so frustrated with the situation she was operating in, and the people around her who weren’t supporting her efforts to make some changes so all of their working lives would be easier. She just couldn’t see past the current situation. So I asked her ‘What one thing CAN you do for yourself today?’  She said ‘Choose to be calm.’ Wow…that was a game changer for her. So now instead of frustrated, she was calm. Makes the possibilities look different doesn’t it?

So let’s not go down the rabbit hole of all the reasons why not, and let’s look at the options and the possibilities. Just ask a simple question:

  • How can you?
  • What can you do?
  • Who can you work with?
  • What would make it easier?
  • What’s one reason you can?

Try it out this week and see how it works. I’d love to know how you go.