Believing You Can vs. Believing You Can’t

A month or two ago, I had the opportunity to be part of an intimate panel interview with Martin “Marty” Nesbitt.

President Obama and Marty Nesbitt during a family vacation in Hawaii - photo credit NYTImes
President Obama and Marty Nesbitt during a family vacation in Hawaii – photo credit NYTImes

Mr. Nesbitt is a well-known, successful businessman in Chicago, and also the best friend of President Barack Obama.

During the panel discussion, Mr. Nesbitt shared an interesting exchange he and the President had about his potential candidacy before his first election.

During a brief conversation, Barack Obama shared the following statement with his friend, “Marty, I believe I can be President of the United States.”

Mr. Nesbitt admits being a bit shocked initially, but after absorbing the statement he knew his friend was serious.

“Barack doesn’t make idle statements.” Mr. Nesbitt shared, “If he (Barack Obama) was sharing, that he believed he could be President of the United States, it was only because he truly believed, he could be President.”

Mr. Nesbitt, then went on to say, “Barack Obama didn’t believe he had any constraints on him, when he set his sight on being President of the United States. We must stop placing the constraints on ourselves before the constraint is ever placed.”

Mr. Nesbitt’s inside narrative on President Obama’s thought process, resonated with me deeply.

I can recall sharing my thoughts with close family and friends when then, Senator Barack Obama, announced his candidacy, “It’s too soon.” I said, “He’s only a one term senator. He can’t win.”

Boy was I wrong!

Either way, it didn’t matter what I thought.
It didn’t matter what constraints I placed on Barack Obama, in my mind.

What mattered is, what Barack Obama thought about himself.
What mattered is, whether Barack Obama would place constraints on himself.

He didn’t!
He won!

What I said and thought about President Obama’s initial candidacy, has been said and thought about me.

I’ve heard, “You can’t!”
I’ve heard, “You won’t!”

I was told I never play college basketball.
I did.
I was told I would never be a good communicator.
I am.
I was told I would never be a leader of people, in a professional setting.
I am.
I was told I would never exceed the rank of manager.
I did.

I was told…
I was told…
I was told…

I have exceeded the expectations of many, because often there was no expectation to begin.

That is my story.
This has been my life.

Who am I to place a constraint on anyone, when I know the constraints others have tried to place on me?

Furthermore, the only real damage that can be done to me, is by me, when I place constraints on myself.

All to often, we’re too quick to say what we cannot do.
The horror is, once we say that…once we believe that…the deed is done!

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

Others will always place their constraints on you.
So what? Who cares?
What’s important is that you don’t place constraints on yourself.

believe you canIf you believe you can…you can!
If you believe you can’t…you can’t!

It’s time we all started believing in ourselves a whole lot more!
It’s time we begin exercising the muscles of our self-confidence!

No matter who you are…
No matter where you come from…
No matter the color of your skin…
No matter what gender…
We all have a piece of God, and that makes us great!

It’s time we go get our greatness!

Be self-actualized.
Don’t limit yourself.
There will be enough people trying to place limits on you.
Make sure it’s not the person in your mirror!

Be great and stay inspired, it’s a lifestyle choice!

About the Author:

Linal Harris
Global Entrepreneur – Certified Life Coach – Media Personality – Speaker


Linal Harris is a global entrepreneur, certified life coach, author, and media personality. As the founder of Inspirational Perspective® Publishing, LLC and Insights 4 Life™ Coaching, LLC, Harris challenges his global audience and coaching clients to Murder Mediocrity® and live their best life possible. Harris concentrates his work as an ontological coach with clients on what he calls the 4 pillars of life; the relationship we have to ourselves, the relationships we have with others, our relationship to work and money, and the connection we have to our spirit and life’s purpose. Harris coaches CEO’s, executives, entrepreneurs, athletes and celebrities. Harris is the author of “Slay Your Goals”, where he provides his readers with scientific and research backed tips for achieving their goals. Harris is an expert goal-setter and has been called upon by Fortune 500 companies to assist with setting their strategic priorities, facilitate goal-setting sessions and provide inspirational talks.

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