Year Two, Skill # 46: Be a Possibilitarian

Kelly Rae Roberts ( is a social worker turned artist and writer.  I am attracted to her art and follow her blogs because they speak to the truth, beauty, and potential in all of us.  Like another of my favorite healing professionals and authors, Brene’ Brown, ( Kelly Rae Roberts focuses on the dignity and worth of every human being. She calls herself a possibilitarian.  And she asks, “Are you a possibilitarian?”

Are you?  Possibilitarians think about the big picture.  They don’t get weighed down in shoulds and oughts.  They imagine how things could be better, different.  They see the potential in all things and encourage themselves and others to reach their potential.

Possibilitarians see the potential in all things and encourage themselves and others to reach their potential.

ComfortZoneMagicAre you a possibilitarian?  Do you believe that change is possible?  Do you stretch yourself outside your comfort zone to that place where the magic happens?  Do you help others to trust in the abundance of life, in the capacity of the human spirit, in the mystery of the universe?

Possibilitarians don’t settle for the status quo, or necessarily for what is familiar.  Possibilitarians are always asking forward thinking, optimistic questions.  “What would it take to make that happen?” Or, “Who would I need to support me in order to make this change happen?”  Or even, “What false beliefs am I holding on to that are keeping me and others from reaching our potential?”

Possibilitarians are always asking forward thinking, optimistic questions.

Possibilitarians are not naïve, simplistic, or whimsical.  They have had enough experience in life to know that amazing things can and do happen everyday but that it is not magic.  They believe that people can change, and if people can change, families can change.  And if families can change, systems can change.  And if systems change, communities can change.  And if communities change, regions can change.  And if regions can change, the world can change.  It may not be easy but it will be worthwhile.

I had a lovely conversation recently with a college student who is studying sustainable agriculture and community dynamics.  She is definitely a possibilitarian.  She sees how things can be different.  She is studying models that have already worked, so as not to have to recreate the wheel.  She is researching and gathering information and people who can support her in her endeavor.  She believes there is a problem and she is becoming part of the solution!  It was inspiring to talk with her.

chasing-iceThe movie, Chasing Ice, is the story about James Balog, a scientist and photographer, who decided he wanted to document the changing shape of glaciers.  Against crazy odds, this possibilitarian decided he could accomplish the improbable and put 5 cameras in Iceland, 12 in Greenland, 5 in Alaska, and 2 in Montana.  By researching, analyzing, and engineering a way for these cameras to withstand the most severe weather and to take timed photos of the glaciers, he has been able to share with the public real pictures of the melting and receding of the glaciers. It is an awe-inspiring story of how one man, surrounded by a dedicated team, made something possible.  And how, by doing this, he has had an impact in the world.

Possibilitarians believe in their dreams, in the yearnings of their hearts, in the human capacity for change, growth, and transformation.  “Together we can do this,” a possibilitarian might say.  Or, “I am going to find out what it will take to do this,” and then they are off and running.

Possibilitarians believe in their dreams, in the yearnings of their hearts, in the human capacity for change, growth, and transformation.

I attended a wedding this weekend. As a surprise to her big sister, the  bride, the younger sister arranged for a visit from Mark Bryan, of Hootie and the Blowfish fame, to show up for a few moments to sing a song to the bride and groom. How did the younger sister know Mark? She reached out to him, cold called him, a year or so ago when she was moving to Charleston. She is a singer, song writer and performer. She went WAAAY out of her comfort zone, called a stranger, and now they are friends and colleagues, collaborating on original music and dreaming of what is possible. She is certainly a possibilitarian, showing the rest of us how to do it.

Are you a possibilitarian? It just might make your messy life more marvelous.


The featured image is a picture of a Kelly Rae Roberts image that hangs in my office. I have others hanging around, but this is one of my favorites.


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