As a coach, two of the most difficult words I hear coming from my athletes are, "I can't."
Often they come from younger athletes or ones who haven't experienced much adversity or push back in their lives.
But sometimes it's from the best athletes I coach. It's a point of breakdown, a where they think they can't physically push themselves through or perform. It's also one of my favorite places to coach and help them prove themselves wrong.
It reminds me of the story of Erik Weihenmayer. Erik was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called retinoschisis, at four years old. The result of this disease is the progressive loss of sight. And by the age of 14, he was completely blind.
Though disabled with blindness, his parents pushed him to be physically active, eventually joining a group that took blind kids rock climbing.
This ended up becoming a passion for Erik as he continued to climb and eventually climbed Mount Denali, the highest peak in North America.
From there, his goal became the "Seven Summits" or seven highest peaks in the world — a crazy goal for someone who cannot navigate weather or terrain.
But in 2001, after much convincing of guides and sherpas he was capable, he set out to climb Mt. Everest. And he did exactly that on May 25, 2001.
And by 2008, he had become one of only 150 people to climb and survive the Seven Summits.
Two of the worst words you can allow to be in your life are, "I can't."
Most of the time, it's a lie to keep our selves comfortable.
Instead, say, "I'll try" and give your best effort.
If you fail, say, "I'll work on it," and do the work.
Next time you find yourself saying, "I can't" think about Erik Weihenmayer, the kid who went blind at 14 years old but somehow figured out how to climb the seven highest peaks in the world.
The truth is, in almost everything, you can. It may hurt, you may have to work your butt off for an extended time, you'll have to fail over and over, but never doubt yourself.
The human spirit has amazing power. No matter the feat large or small, you can.