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If you knew you can, what would you do?

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Fear stops us doing so many things. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule or embarrassment – the list seems endless. “Feel the fear and do it anyway” is a great mantra, but its pretty much always easier said than done.

So often, fear stems from the assumptions we make about ourselves and our situation, but how about if there was a way to challenge those, usually false, assumptions and rid ourselves of fear, or at least to reduce it substantially? How about if we knew we could succeed?

In the Thinking Environment® we use Incisive Questions™ to create just such scenarios. To encourage our minds to play with possibilities and to believe that the things we want to achieve are possible.

Recently I was in beautiful Devon with my best friend, Sarah. I hesitate to call it a holiday because we were there for a purpose – training for a 26-mile trek in September in aid of Alzheimer’s research.

Although I like walking and am out every day with my dog I’ve never attempted to walk anywhere near that distance before, but with only nine weeks to go training had begun in earnest, and I was starting to wonder if I’m really going to make it.

The Sunday we were there would have been my mother’s birthday and she would have loved to be with me, watching the fishing boats bobbing about on the water and the yachts racing in the breeze, feeling the sea air on her face and combing the beach with me for pretty shells or seaglass. So, it seemed fitting that as I couldn’t spend the day with her, I could remember her as I completed my longest training walk yet.

We signed up for this fundraiser early last year in the months just after mum’s death from Alzheimer’s disease, when feelings were deep and motivation high, but Covid-19 got in the way. 18 months later the rawness has faded and with it some of the motivation. However, I know it’s not just the physical preparation that’s important but the mental too. Believing you can do it, as Sarah very wisely said, is more than half the battle.

And, I am a coach, I reminded myself, and this is what we coaches do. We help people to achieve their ambitious goals. So, I mused, how would I help a client in these circumstances? Which is how, as I trudged along the coastal path in the driving rain, foot after weary foot, with my rucksack getting ever heavier on my back, I started asking myself some Incisive QuestionsTM.

“If you knew you can walk 26 miles in September to raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s research and support, how would you feel?” Positive, optimistic, determined. Determined. Now, there’s a word to keep in mind.

“And if you knew you can walk 26 miles…what would you do to prepare?” I’ll complete this training walk and keep putting one foot in front of the other until I’ve walked 18 miles today.

“And if you knew you can walk 26 miles…what more would you do?” Well,

  • I’d make a plan to increase my miles slowly week by week - tick

  • I’d plan in some treats so it isn’t all about hard work and I feel I’m getting some rewards too - tick

  • I’d make an inspiring image board reminding me of what I’m trying to achieve and why and put it somewhere I can see it every day - tick

  • I’d think some more about my diet – I bought some Kendal mint cake, does that count?!

  • I’d make sure I had the right kit and practice with it – work in progress

  • I’d tell everyone I know what I’m doing so they’ll sponsor us - ouch, don’t like that idea, let’s try another incisive question please.

“Ok, if you knew that many of your friends and colleagues will want to support you, that many of them too will have personally been touched by this awful disease in some way, what would you do?” It’s a no brainer, I’ll tell them!

So here I am, telling you. I rarely post or write anything personal, but I am determined to do all I can to raise money for this cause and if you’d like to help me in that I’d love to hear from you with your messages of support or inspiration. I’d love for any of my local contacts to keep me company on my practice walks (they aren’t all so long!). And I’d really love for all of you to visit my Just Giving page and donate if you can:

And if for any reason you don’t want to, or can’t do any of those things, I sincerely hope you will at least find inspiration from my incisive questions and start to ask your own - “If you knew you can, what would you do?”

And can I? Well, I’ll let you know for definite in September, but I do know I’m determined to give it my very best shot!

For more information about Incisive Questions, the work of Nancy Kline, and my coaching in a Thinking Environment go to

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