This is a concept from Lacy Phillips that felt revolutionary the first time I heard about it. I wish I’d learned it much sooner.
Let’s say you want something.
Maybe it’s a relationship, or a specific career move.
You’re feeling doubt.
I don’t think this is going to happen for me. I’ve messed it up every other time. It hasn’t worked out yet, and I don’t see things changing much.
It starts to seem impossible.
One step along the path is to think of an expander: someone you relate to who already has what you want.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Kristyn, the world is on fire – why are you telling us about expanders?”
It’s true: we’re facing something unprecedented.
But the pandemic doesn’t stop you from having dreams.
It might put them on hold. It might make other things seem more immediate and your dreams feel more far away. But it certainly doesn’t erase them.
What is an expander?
A person who already has what you want is your expander. They are expansive to you because they have what you want to create. They expand your mindset by showing you that what you want is possible.
It’s best when the expander is someone you relate to and identify with in some way.
When you see that they already have what you want, it helps your brain believe that it’s possible for you, too. Lacy attributes this to mirror neurons.
I’m in graduate school for fiction writing, and I’m working on a novel.
They lived in the same town I did. They sat in the same coffee shops I do. They sat at their desks at home and they wrote words and some of those words were probably terrible – but then I bet they edited them.
They probably cried over their novels.
But they still finished them. They finished them and painstakingly revised them and sold their books and now (at long last) they are aspiring to other, newer dreams.
There is now, perhaps, something in their lives that they think won’t happen. That they’re worried or fearful about. Another dream they have.
And I hope it comes true for them.
Who is an expander for you? Who has what you want? And how can you begin to view it as something possible for you?