Why Can’t I

I hate making mistakes as much as the next woman.

But I have found that the result of trying so hard to avoid them can be complete immobility.

So instead of being stuck in fear, doubt or indecision, it’s much better to take a chance and stretch your wings.

If you falter a bit in flight, you will learn more effective ways to use your wings.

What’s so bad about that?!



Failure can be incredible testing ground for finding out just how amazing you can be.

Chris Brogan recently wrote a post on the subject, referring to failure as “a business imperative.” As I have written many times in the past, failure or mistakes are par for the course in business.  My dad taught me that some of the best lessons we learn in life, cost us the most.

To approach business from a fear mindset, with a determination never to fail, is an impossible feat.  In an effort to make every decision with perfection, you will find that you never make any.  Chris suggests that we follow the wise words, written inadvertently by a Hubspot employee on the wrong company wall, and ask the question, “Why hasn’t anyone?” But for women, I am not sure that really taps into the motivation they need to take a leap.

My recommendation?


Take the question one step further to a rhetorical statement, like “Why can’t I?!”

In the competitive business arena, where too many women hold themselves hostage with imagined fear, I think writing that boldly on a wall might instill the confidence to step out and see what’s possible. You’ll never know how great you can be if you don’t (1) get out there and try, and (2) keep getting up when you stumble.  And you must accept that fact that you will stumble.

More importantly, if you’ve been allowing yourself to be held back by fear, or by the voices of others, I encourage you to doing some breaking free by entertaining the statement for yourself — Why can’t I.

There is no answer.

There might be excuses, but aren’t you equally as tired of those?

Time to get moving ladies.  The world is waiting to see the wonder of your gifts in action.  Don’t keep them waiting any longer.

P.S.- Don’t miss my guest post for 365 Days of Startups, and find out if you are a Bird Watcher or a Hunter. Because only one approach will help you achieve extraordinary success in business.


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  1. Posted March 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Shannon I really enjoyed that post. I work with women’s enterprise networks where I often see the lack of confidence hold women back. I love the idea of “Why can’t I” being emblazoned across a wall where women meet to do business.
    I’m curious what’s your “why can’t I?” I don’t think you can write like that unless its from experience…

    • Posted March 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Roisin, Thank you very much for your comment on this post! Yes, “why can’t I” is from personal experience, and stems from all the voices in my life who stated or inferred that it wasn’t a good thing to have big dreams. I set out to prove a lot of people wrong, but mostly to prove to myself that I can achieve my dreams by leveraging the best of what makes me who I am, and by never giving up. Women need to embrace the fact that gifts are meant to be shared and developed fully in life. Women should never be afraid to dream, and taking a stand and saying “why can’t I” is a great place to start. 🙂

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