ICAN is smarter than IQ

April Sabral

/ Mindset

ICAN is smarter than IQ

photo fo a leadership quote

Your attitude towards “ICAN” shapes your experiences and results in life.

I have put this positive, simple four-lettered word to the test more than I can recall throughout my life. As a single mum raising two humans while working in retail, I can tell you my mental attitude has been a huge part of my success.

Here are two pieces of advice that have helped me.

  • If you think you “CAN,” then you WILL. 

  • Find someone who is doing what you want to do and ask them how they did it.

I am an inquisitive person who asks a ton of questions; the reason for this is I want to learn. My belief is we are all here to grow and expand beyond our own limitations. When we have a positive mental attitude, we open ourselves up to more than we can physically see, we open ourselves up to our higher self, and, that’s when the magic starts to happen in our lives.

Here’s a quick story to illustrate what this means to me; while living in Toronto, I attended a weekly meditation class at a Buddhist Temple. The practice of sitting quietly on a pillow for 60 minutes taught me to consciously watch my thoughts. Throughout this practice, I learned to pay attention to the thoughts that did not serve my higher self. This is something I believe we all need to learn. Paying attention to our negative chatter is important because we can then redirect our thoughts to what we want to achieve.

sitting on a meditation pillow


While drinking tea at the end of a session, the two women that lead the meditation asked if I would listen to their idea for a workshop and give them some coaching on public speaking as, throughout the year, we had come to learn about what each other’s career and passions were. Mine is obviously helping leaders grow teams, and speak about topics that can add value to others. And as others have always helped me, of course, I said yes. I love offering my support where I can. And I love to meet and learn about people.

During our conversation, they asked me to share what had had put me on the path to coaching. I recalled a story that I had forgotten about. This happened to me over nine years ago. Does this ever happen to you? I tend to forget about situations until asked, then the process of recalling teaches me many lessons I didn’t learn or pay attention to in the experience itself.

Back in 2007 I had just moved to Toronto, and while contemplating what I wanted to do, a thought came over me, and I remember thinking to myself maybe I should become a life coach. I had no idea what a life coach was, so I did what most of us would do and googled it. A man in Toronto, titled “Life Coach,” popped up at the top of the search, so I decided to call him and ask him what he did, after a brief conversation he invited me to his office, where we sat and chatted for almost two hours; he gave me valuable advice and passed on his wisdom and experience as a coach and, he didn’t even charge me.  A couple of months later I was sitting at home watching a show called “style by jury,” and guess what he was the life coach on this show…WOW …


Learn more about my story in my latest book. to BUY this CLICK HERE

photo of a book by april sabral

Little did I know when I met him he was a featured life coach on a tv show; he didn’t tell me this.

Bruno focused on answering my questions and asking me lots of questions in return. He made me think about what kind of coach I wanted to be. I left knowing that life coaching was not for me; however, leadership coaching and continuing in my current career, and elevating my coaching skills were the way to go. He never even mentioned his fame, his accolades, and that day he demonstrated complete service to another human that he didn’t even know. How many of us would do this for another with nothing in return?  Since then he has moved to New York opened a successful bakery business and is still coaching. I wrote to him recently to let him know the impact of that conversation, he was just as gracious as ever never once sharing his story but instead listening to mine.

Then another pivotal moment happened to me, almost four years after this, A posting for director of learning was posted within the HR team, at the current company I was working at, and being so passionate about coaching, education, and development I decided to ask the HR manager at the time if this is something I could apply for. She told me that I would never get a job like this as I had no formal education in learning. Again this fueled me to use my ICAN, not my IQ. Little did I know at that time I would own my own learning and development company and go on to become the first retail coaching certification body!

Both of these experiences were crucial to what happened next. I decided to look for a certificate and further my education in coaching so that nobody could ever say this to me again. Thus the John C. Maxwell Team,  which I stumbled on skimming Facebook. When you put your mind to work, the universe brings you what you need right when you need it. This is why meditation is so important to me because meditation is like the gym for your mind. Joining the Maxwell team gave me the training, confidence, and knowledge to take on the world of professional coaching and leadership development. It gave me a mentorship program, tools, and resources to become a better leader. It gave me other like-minded people to connect with.
When people tell me I can’t, or it will never happen, my ICAN turns on, and I get to it. There have been many other moments in my life and career where this powerful mental state has worked wonders for me and it can for you too.

I am asked by many leaders how I have got to where I have in my life and career when I really think about it. It’s not skill or the technical ability that has driven me it really is my mental attitude.

So how do you turn on your ICAN? Here is a list that may help you.

  • Stop using your IQ and intellect and start using your ICAN. I write a list of actions to get closer to the reality I actually want.
  • Listen to your thoughts and say I can, instead of I can’t multiple times an hour. TRY IT.
  • Try something new to trick your brain into believing anything is possible, by practicing something you have never done.
  • Write down ICAN do X…minimum of twenty times in a journal.
  • Find someone that has accomplished what you want to and ask them how they did it.
  • Stop doubting yourself and start appreciating what you can already do. Be grateful and celebrate what you’re good at.
  • Learn something that you didn’t know, this helps you feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Write down what you have overcome lately to reinforce positive feelings.
  • Pray and get out of your own way.
  • Offer service to another just like Bruno did that day.

More powerful and smarter than any IQ are people that use ICAN, will versus skill always win over in my book. Here’s my challenge for you. Do something you never thought was possible to activate your ICAN.

You are the only person who can make your life what you want it to be.
I hope this BLOG post inspires you to say I CAN, more often.

Live Purposely, Lead Positively, you are meant for greatness.

April Sabral






Founder & President, retailu

Are you ready to invest in yourself, you CAN with retailu’s Newest Course, to learn more click below.

picture of coaching certificate

Share This