Why do I have “I can, I will, I am” as a visual reminder?
I have three small canvases hanging on my wall. Together they make a triptych, a pictorial of intent, a sequence of events imparting a narrative.
I created my triptych to make a visual interpretation of what I go through regularly in my life whenever I have big challenging matters that I need to either face and find a way to deal with. The alternative, to run away from the problem, is an option however it is not usually my preference.
The first of the three small canvases show a little man at the base of a mountain looking up and saying to himself “Can 1?” I could have captioned it “I can” but I decided to write the first one as a question to myself with the words “Can I”. I drew my little man taking the first few steps up the mountain to signify that, yes, I CAN do this.
The second canvas shows the mountain getting higher and the little man is looking more determined and focussed and the caption reads, “I will”.
And the final canvas shows the top of the mountain in the distance with the flag flying in the breeze with the little man looking jubilant and happy, hand reaching out and upwards towards imminent completion. The caption reads “I am”.
These are powerful words, I can, I will, I am.
How often in my life, especially during the past 40 or so years of creating a new sort of fitness centre, a hybrid centre providing true medical pathways to health, using exercise as medicine in a “gym” setting, have I been faced by something that appears to be way beyond my experience to deal with it, far more complex, stirring up doubts and confusion.
“I can” seems such a simple and easy little thing to say. Getting to the stage to say “I can” is definitely not simple and easy. First, I have to decide whether is it something that really needs to be done or overcome, or whether there is an easier way to avoid it. And once committed to moving forward I need to go through the agonising stage of “how to”. And only then, when I can see the start of the path and the journey ahead, can I really commit and say with bold confidence, yes, I CAN do this.
“I will” is the stage I go through to plan how I will progress and what I need to gather around me, or set up, to be able to make the journey in the best possible way. “I will” is the planning stage once I have the confidence to commit myself to moving forward.
And the final two words, “I am” signifies that I am actually doing it, boots-and-all, and fully committed to achieving what I have undertaken as best as I possibly can.
My triptych is a reassuring reminder of the times in my life when I could have decided life was too challenging.
It reminds me of the times I have had to be bold, and when I took up the challenge.
It gives me hope when decisions need to be faced. And helps me get to the stage where I can say bravely, “I CAN do this”.
We all have it inside us to say, “I can, I will, I am”. Sometimes in life these six little words get overwhelmed with the pressures, pace, expectations, busyness and responsibilities of modern day life.
A good book to read to help make tiny changes that have remarkable results is James Clear’s international best seller, “Atomic Habits”. We need to foster these good habits, in behaviours and the way we use our minds, to help us take on the challenges in our daily lives as well as the big, hairy challenges that will inevitably come along periodically.
Probably the best habit I have acquired, and what has helped me to have the confidence to say “I can, I will, I am” often in my life, has been my commitment to my exercise. I wish you every success with this too. It is GOLD!