Prepare to Be Amazed!

Written By smcneely

On December 11, 2009

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Weekly, I catch myself saying to one or more people, “What CAN you do?” I’ve even posted the phrase on a note card in my cube next to the phone as a reminder to live in a place of empowerment rather than in the land of can’t. It’s funny to me how one simple phrase can turn thinking on its head, and all of sudden things look different…brighter, more approachable. I’ve watched it dissolve frustration, enlighten the confused, and help the unsure find their voice. The literacy coaches I mentor hear this from me so often I suspect it’s spilled over into their own work.

As an artist, I’ve had a lifetime of practice generating new ideas and shifting gears quickly. It’s sort of the nature of the beast and what I love most about the arts. There are always a hundred-and-one RIGHT ways to tackle any given “problem” and I’m motivated by the pursuit of possibilities. This kind of thinking flavors everything I touch and do in my job as a consultant and teacher. It’s a major contributing factor to why I feel I’m successful in my work. I think about it differently and that makes a difference.


The video here reminds me that it is not everyone’s natural tendency to leap toward solutions, gravitate toward opportunity, or challenge perceived barriers. As a school consultant it is my obligation to continue asking what is possible; for the sake of all the students I serve indirectly through the adults I encounter. I challenge you, whatever your role might be, to add the phrase, “What can you do?” to your vernacular. Then sit back and watch as people consider the possibilities. Prepare to be amazed.