For over 20 years life coaches and motivational speakers have been asking the question “if you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?“
This is a good question, but apparently not the right question.
If this was the right question, everyone who has ever heard it would be thriving in a successful career that they love because they attempted something as if they could not fail and succeeded! But, this is not the reality of this day.
We still find people engaged in menial work while they harbor aspirations in their hearts they still have not activated into reality. Not only is there a big leap between envisioning what you would do if you could not fail, and actually doing it, this is still not the right question.
The reason this isn’t the right question is because people don’t avoid fulfilling their aspirations because they think they will fail, it is other reasons that keep them from such accomplishments.
Namely, most people feel that they do not have the permission to pursue the aspirations hidden within their hearts and minds.
We inflict upon ourselves various “shoulds“ and believe that time pursuing what we would really like to do is just something frivolous, indulgent, and even luxurious.
The lies that "work should be hard", and that "anything worthwhile requires struggle", keeps us from attaining an inherently fulfilling work life filled with the rewards we seek. So a better question is,
“What would you pursue if you knew you had the permission?“
If you knew you had the backing; if you knew you had the support; if you knew you had everything it took including the emotional and spirited support of everyone you respect and love, then, what would you do?
I remember the first time I heard the question, "if I knew I could not fail, what would I do?", and it was exhilarating! I remember seeing in my minds eye the glory of everything I ever wanted to attain and accomplish and create. And then, immediately the thoughts of what I would need to sacrifice to accomplish all that arose.
Good things take time. Good things take effort and attention. But, that doesn’t necessitate sacrifice. In a young mother's mind, though, that seemed impossible.
I looked at my family, I looked at those I respected, and though I believed I could pursue and would not fail, I thought that it would still require letting someone else down.
I knew I could do it if I believed it. But, I believed I didn’t have the permission.
Some of this belief comes from my spiritual upbringing and understanding of karma. To satisfy my thirst for answers, I investigated what God says in the Bible about work, vision, and helping people with my services, and guess what I found there?
The ultimate permission.
Actually, not only did I find God‘s permission for me to pursue the aspirations of my heart, using my unique gifts and talents, specifically to help people who need uplifting and direction, but I also saw his instruction to do so.
“...let him labor, working ... what is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth“. (Eph. 4:28)
This is the permission for me to give good value so that I may help those that need it. This is true for me, as a career planner and vocation coach, and it’s true from my mechanic. And it’s true from my doctor. And it’s true for my barista. And its true for you.
Amazingly, once I could see God‘s permission for me to do what I would do if I could not fail, I could also see that it is what my family, and closest friends, desire for me as well.
The permission is already there.