Can I do this? You can if you reframe it

Can I do this?

Can I do this?


When people are considering starting something new, or want to do something differently, they can be plagued with doubt. They will typically ask themselves some closed questions:

  • Can I learn this?
  • Can I be successful at this?
  • Can I change my career?
  • Can I really build this website?
  • Can I follow the training?
  • Can I commit to this?
  • Can I think differently?
  • Do I have the time for this?
  • Will my family support me?

These questions all start from a basis of self-doubt, uncertainty, and a real possibility that the answer could be a ‘no’.
“No I cannot really be successful at this. Others might be able to, but I’m not like them. It will be like everything else I try, so I’m not going to think about this anymore.”

“No, I don’t think I can change my career. I’m getting older and I’ve already established myself. What will my family think?”

“No, I really don’t think I can build this website. I don’t have the skills and I’m not technical enough. Who am I trying to kid?”

Do you see how when we ask ourselves closed questions like these, we are OK to settle for an answer that is the one that prevents us from ever doing anything differently? Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?


Let’s change the story

We shouldn’t be asking “CAN I do this?” We need to be asking “HOW can I do this?”

Let’s start from the basis of faith and belief in ourselves, and an attitude of commitment. An attitude that says “I have it in me to do this. I might need to be creative about it, but there will be a way.”

So if we reframe those questions, they now become:

  • How can I learn this?
  • How can I be successful at this?
  • How can I change my career?
  • How can I build this website?
  • How can I follow the training?
  • How can I commit to this?
  • How can I think differently?
  • How will I make the time for this?
  • How will I get my family to support me?

When we reframe from ‘can I’ to ‘how can I’, we have moved from a closed question, to an open question. The open question prompts us to brainstorm options and come up with a solution so that the answer is never a no. The answer is always along the lines of “yes I can do this, and I need a plan so that I can make it a reality.”

It is very easy for us to question “Can I do this?”, then do a small amount of research that supports our view of “No I can’t do this”. We then close the door on something great because we haven’t really tried to come up with ways to make it happen.


Say yes

I was a “Can I do this?” person

If someone had asked me a few years ago if I thought I could change my career into an online career from home, using websites that I built myself, I would have laughed out loud. Me build websites? ME?? You’re joking right? I didn’t have a clue about that kind of stuff. Or about how I could possibly make money from home online (after all, isn’t that for people who are either really technical, have some special knowledge that I don’t, or know how to sell stuff really well?) This would have been my inner monologue:

“I’m just me. I am an HR professional and that is what I do. I don’t have special skills. I can get around a computer OK, but the moment there is anything out of the ordinary I’m on the phone to the help desk. I couldn’t possibly build a website. I wouldn’t even know where to start. My attempts would be an embarrassing failure. My friends and family would wonder what on earth had come over me. I don’t even have the time to do something like that! I couldn’t possibly learn a new skill set like that. I couldn’t fit that in and work a full time job and look after my family all at the same time. Are you crazy? And it sounds like it would be super expensive – I can’t afford that right now. What if I started and then I couldn’t finish it? Or what if I just didn’t understand it? I don’t want to feel like a failure because I already have enough on my plate and that would make me feel even worse. What if I get ripped off, I hear about internet scams all the time, and because I don’t know what I’m doing I’d end up being one of those people who get scammed. But. But. But.”

And then I would have just stopped thinking about it. Because it’s easier to stop challenging ourselves than actually doing something, isn’t it?


I knew I wanted something more. “Can I do this?” was holding me back.

I don’t know what the trigger was for me to genuinely start thinking about doing something new. I’ve been reflecting a bit about that lately. I think it was a mixture of thoughts and feelings that were around wanting to conquer something that was completely new to me. I wanted to surprise myself. I didn’t actually start building websites to change my career, I just wanted to know how to do it, and muck around a bit with a blog, and have an outlet for some writing and creativity. It’s a skill set that is becoming second nature to younger people, and I guess I didn’t want to be left behind. I was done with formal study, and just wanted to do something a bit fun and new, that I could do in my spare time.

So then my questions became:

“HOW am I going to find out how to build websites? HOW am I going to find out all the bits and pieces to make this happen?”

When I knew I had some criteria that had to be met, it became easier. My criteria included:

  • The training must be online, and I must be able to choose when I do it.
  • It must be cost effective.
  • There must be no upsells. I just want to learn how to do it, and make a start.
  • I have to be able to find some support if I need it, because undoubtedly I will have questions.
  • It has to feel like a safe environment (after all, it was a little scary!).
  • It has to be pitched at a level that I can understand, even though I’m ready to stretch myself.

Searching for my opportunity was a fun experience, because I was working out the “how”. It wasn’t about whether I could it anymore, it was all about HOW I could do it. The possibilities are endless when you all you are questioning is how you will achieve it.


My how can I do this paid off
I did find my perfect opportunity to turn my desire to learn something new into a reality. And my goodness, I have had so much fun along the way. Joining in on live webinars, interacting with a community of like-minded people, learning a new skill from the ground up. I have made mistakes along the way, and I’ve learnt how to fix them. I have achieved something that I never knew I had within myself. And it feels so great!


Make the 'HOW CAN I?' easy


If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I’m always happy to help.

6 thoughts on “Can I do this? You can if you reframe it”

  1. I agree with the reframe. It is certainly a better choice. “Can I do this?” is a setback, so it should be avoided. Like you, I was searching for the perfect opportunity to build a website. When I started, I did not ask whether or not I could do it, because it’s something I always wanted to do. It can be challenging, but with a positive attitude, success will come. Thanks for the motivation.

    • Hi Carol, isn’t it amazing how different we feel when we reframe it? Our outlook changes, our attitude and our motivation all get focused onto the achievement of what we want. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts here.

  2. I love the perspective and question of “How can I do this?”

    So many times we limit ourselves and don’t give ourselves enough credit to believe we can make a change. That change will take time and hard work but it can be done if we are persistent and focused on where we want to go.

    It’s all about the will to move forward and to take small steps to lead us to success.

    • Hi Rick, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Sadly, it’s far easier to limit ourselves than push ourselves. And you’re right about not giving ourselves enough credit. Why do we do that? I’m glad you stopped by Rick.

    • Hi travel and treatz, you sound like you go on lots of tasty adventures!

      Whist it is about the glass being half full, I think it goes even further than that. It’s about changing our mindset into one of possibility and openness to being successful. It’s also about removing limiting beliefs that hold us back, and approaching things with an attitude that we are absolutely capable, we might just need to be a bit creative to get to where we want to be. I’ve loved the metaphor of the glass being half full. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here and I wish you well on your travels.



Leave a Comment