by : Jim Jenkins

Coach’s Corner

By: Jim Jenkins

Originally published in the Frederick Chamber Newsletter, July 2003

Being Open to Possibilities

When you look at your future in terms of your business and/or professional career, do you see unlimited potential or do you see a lack of opportunities? Recently, many of my clients have asked me how I remain so upbeat and optimistic about the future. They cite the predictions that claim there won’t be enough jobs, or that companies don’t have the money to invest in their employees as good reasons to be cynical and pessimistic.

My answer has been, “if you’re open to the possibilities, the opportunities will be there. It’s all a matter of attitude and energy." I emphatically agree with Les Brown, when he said “Life has no limitations, except the ones you make."

According to Rosamund Stone Zander, author of The Art of Possibility, many of the circumstances seeming to block us only appear to do so because of the assumptions we make. This means, that if you view the world through the half-empty glass, your behavior and responses to life will color how the world responds to you.

Many people believe that the economy will remain unstable and that we will have to work even harder to survive. When you look at the world from this model of scarcity and participate in such a negative dialogue, you are setting yourself up to prove your own predictions – you are closing yourself off to the possibilities!

If you feel that you’re destined for failure in today’s volatile market, don’t be surprised when you do -- look at the energy you’ve extended to make it happen! Believe that there aren’t enough customers, ideas or market share out there and your actions will prove you right!

But what happens if you remain open to the possibilities? When you view the world from a perspective of unlimited potential your attitude will shift; so will the way you engage your employees, customers, friends and family – everyone you know. Instead of operating from the scarcity mode, try operating in the C-A-N mode! C-A-N stands for “Create Abundance Now!"

In her book, Zander writes: “on the whole, you are more likely to extend your business and have a fulfilled life if you have the attitude that there are always new customers out there waiting to be enrolled rather than that money, customers and ideas are in short supply. You are more likely to be successful, overall, if you participate joyfully with projects and goals and do not think that life depends on achieving the mark because you will be better able to connect to people all around you."

When we give up that scarcity model, we’re more inclined to release the need to control everything, allowing us to take risks. Even though risks may not always pay off the way we imagined, you are not beaten! There’s always the next possibility, and the next. One of them could land you that golden opportunity! You just have to remain open rather than closed.

Being open means that you have to stand confident in the realm of possibilities -- no matter the competition and no matter your fear. If your entire focus is on what your competitors are doing, your attitude will be passed on to your employees, and, ultimately, your clients. But if you focus on what you do best and how to better satisfy your clients and engage with them in new and powerful ways, your results will be quite different!

Yes, there will always be naysayers (the folks whom I lovingly call Friends of Eeyore or “FOE"s) who pride themselves in their supposed realism; and if you’d like to remain in their camp, that’s fine. But imagine if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had given in to this type of thinking and never gave his infamous “I have a dream" speech. Or if he had decided to give up and said “well, maybe equality isn’t really all that it’s cracked up to be." Persistence of vision and an open perception of the world kept Dr. King’s work alive, long after he was assassinated.

Now, think of how your business can benefit from that same persistence of vision and open perception. Instead of focusing on cutting expenses to make payroll, try concentrating on what you can do to increase sales. Instead of getting frazzled about the big proposal that was met with a cold shoulder, try focusing on reaching that customer who really needs your services and needs them NOW!

I challenge you to stand confidently in the realm of possibility and see what happens when you remain open. No matter how fierce you think the competition is, no matter what your friends, colleagues and family say; no matter when everyone else is telling you there’s no way you can meet your short term goals; I encourage you to stay open to possibilities and see what happens next!


During the next thirty days, take 10 to 15 minutes at some point in your day to reflect on the following questions. You might want to get yourself a journal to record your responses and see how they evolve over time. :

  1. In what ways were you open/ closed to possibilities today?

  2. What triggered your being open/ closed?

  3. What were the outcomes of your being open/ closed?

  4. When you remained open, what impact did that have on your behavior? The behavior of your employees? Your family? Your friends?

At the end of each week, write in your journal about what you notice happening to you as you continue to remain open! And when you begin to take up roots in the place of possibilities, let me know how that what blooms for you!!