Chapter Two: iCan – Two words that will change everything

iCan write the next chapter of my blog. iCan because Richard says iCan and do you know
what… he’s right. This is a book packed full of positivity and stories that would makeIcan even the most negative of us challenge our thought process. Yes some of it is a bit obvious and the stories are not always as out of the ordinary as you would expect from this type of book, but they work and serve, in the main, to illustrate his points.

Richard had a very troubled childhood, starting with the death of his mother when he was five years old at the hands of Peter Sutcliff (the Yorkshire Ripper). Then a number of years later falling into drugs and the inevitable stint in prison. What follows is an incredibly powerful story of re-invention and focus, that has taken him to be a successful author and international motivational speaker.

What I quite like about the book is he is a normal person and therefore very relatable, as are the people that feature in each chapter.  A lot of the lessons he presents are from his family life and his quest to start a new career, things we can all relate to. This relatabilty helps you to realise that the exercises he asks you to complete throughout the book could and most likely would be of use. Although I must admit there are a lot of them and I only selected the ones I felt most relevant to me.

The book takes you through his and others ‘iCan’ moments. At first I did roll my eyes at this obvious statement taken from letters of his name, (rIchard mcCAN) but now I’m finding each day when presented with a difficult task or challenge, my head is saying iCan, rather than ‘shit what am I going to do’.

iCan stands for:

  • The IMPORTANCE of positivity
  • COURAGE creates success
  • ACHIEVEMENT begins with a goal
  • NEVER give up

These are not new themes, but important to remember that without them success rarely comes and his book provides you with a whistle stop tour through each statement, suggesting relevant exercises to do along the way.

The chapter I’d like to focus on is the one which resonated with me the most; ‘Achievement begins with a goal’. I think it’s fair to say I, like most of us, stumble through life with a rough idea of the direction I am taking, but I am not necessarily as laser focused as I could be. My background is in sales and so I am very familiar with targets, goal-setting and measurement against these goals, but I’m not 100% sure I really understood their importance until now.

In the book Richard talks about how important it is to set goals. In one of the exercises he asks you to write down a list of all the things you’d like to achieve, whether you think they are achievable or not (and we are not talking ‘I’d like to be Iron Man’ here, although that would be a cool option). Richard suggests a number of around thirty goals, I only managed 21 on my attempt, before it became a little too unrealistic even for me. Now, not only was it quite a fun exercise to commit these things to paper, but as soon as I had, you can’t help but start to think about what it would be like to actually achieve them.  I picked a few of the simpler ones and started to think about how I’d actually complete them; its then that you realise you can achieve all of them with a good plan and unwavering commitment.

I have, what I think is a great example of how when you set yourself a goal, opportunity arises and sometimes it’s just plain weird. Four weeks ago I read a great book by Hal Elrod; ‘The Miracle Morning’ (check out my previous blog post if you want to know more about that). The book really inspired me and led me to think about what it was that I really wanted to do with my life and career long term. What would really make me happy? I won’t go into too much detail here but essentially I would like to be a coach; supporting small businesses and a speaker on self-development and best training practices. Great. Goal found. Tick.

Bearing this in mind, I have worked in my current business for eight years and in my time we have never had a motivational speaker, come into the office and speak to our sales guys. Yet, a few days after I set my goal our Head of Sales had booked one for our ‘divisional day kick off’, enter Rod Yapp from www.leadershipforces.com. Our Head of Sales then emailed round asking if there was anyone who wanted to meet him afterwards for a 1:2:1 session. I jumped at the chance, given my new goal, and did indeed meet with Rod afterwards where we talked about how he became a motivational speaker/coach and further to this he has kindly agreed to meet me again to continue our discussion (thanks Rod). Now, you can just put that down to luck but, it does seem odd that once I’d set my goal things just started to happen and fall into place, or was I just more aware of opportunities out there that would help take me towards my goal. Either way, I’m now that little bit closer.

While Richard talked about goal setting, there was a section called ‘If they can’t do it, you can’. I really liked this sentiment, as all too often we are limiting our beliefs on what we can achieve. By either telling ourselves we don’t have the capability to achieve a goal, or, something I do all the time; ‘well if they can’t do it, how on earth am I supposed to?’ Richard tells you to focus on how you can, not how you can’t, it’s a lot more productive, and I completely agree.

In summary, I thought this was a book worth the read, yes it had one too many exercises in it and some of the content was stretched, but at the heart of it were solid themes in self-belief, overcoming struggles, pointing ourselves in a positive direction and overall saying iCan! 

For more information on Richard McCann click here

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