Possibility Thinking

December 17, 2015

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A couple of years ago I celebrated a big birthday (no, I am not disclosing).  One event included a surprise visit to a shooting range (yes, guns). So we pull into this obscure parking lot and my friend said, "for your birthday we are going to cross off an item on your bucket list." What? First of all I don't shoot guns. And second of all, I don't have a bucket list - to which she replied "you do now." So we went in, picked out our paper target and shot.  It was little scary, yet kind of fun, mainly because I won...but doubt I'll do that again.  

However, that's not the point. Shooting. Or winning for that matter. The point is I realized I didn't have a bucket list and wondered what might be wrong with me?! While I don't have a bucket list, I do have possibility list. And there is a difference.



For me, a bucket list holds too much pressure.  The pressure to get it all checked off the list...all done before you die. That's a lot of self-induced pressure in a world that already produces enough pressure of its own. And while I don't judge those with bucket lists, I do prefer my possibilities list. Especially for me, a person who has been classically trained to get stuff done. Produce.

My possibility list contains many, well, possibilities....like praying more, being offended less, finishing my Masters in Counseling, to name a few.  And unlike most bucket lists that seem to decrease in size as you get older, my possibilities list expands. Why? Because there is no pressure! I don't have to action plan as soon as I write it down. No pressure to produce until I want it produced. Until the time is right for me to take it off the possibility list and act. Or not.

Possibility thinking allows for more freedom to Invent. Invent something new. Possibly even breakthrough!  This is a critical and fun part of successfully managing and leading change. To creatively invent possibilities that we choose as we move through the change process. Not only does it allow us to better enjoy the ride, it also will ultimately produce more creative and ultimately better outcomes. Yes, results.

So as you ring in the new year, why not resolve to give possibility thinking a try? Write down your possibilities without putting pressure on yourself. You can act on them now. Or maybe later. Maybe never. Only when you are ready, or when that friendly window of change opens up and beckons you to move through.  Of course, if you must, you can still keep your bucket list too.

Happy Holidays!  May 2016 be your best year yet!!

Kate Johnson
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