From One President to Another
“What if I lose my job?”
“What if I fail?”
“What will other people think of me?”
“What if I don’t have what it takes?”
“What if she says, ‘No’?”
Many times in life we “what if” ourselves out of new opportunities, growth, and happiness because of fear. The funny thing is the answer to this question: What are we afraid of? The answer? Something that hasn’t even happened yet! We are letting something that isn’t “real” (an imaginary future) stop us from taking tangible steps toward fulfilling our dreams and being our best self.
When we allow these “What ifs” to upset the balance of power in our minds, we unintentionally tap out of our lives. We don’t give our best to our family, coworkers, or ourselves.
So, how do we tap back in?
First, realize we all do this. No matter how successful you are, each of us gives into the temptation of “What if”. This happens to be my favorite example of this and something I try to remember each and every day. Thomas Jefferson once wrote (I imagine with a smile) the following to John Adams:
“How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!”
Take a moment to think about that for a second. Both of these men were founding fathers. Both were vice-presidents. Both served as President of the United States of America. And yet...they both succumbed to the wiles of the not-so-forbidden fruit that is “What if”! Everyone deals with this challenge and you are not alone. That’s the first step in breaking the control that “What if” has over us: Realizing that it’s normal.
The second step? The step that requires a little grit, a smidge of courage, and a teaspoon of discomfort? Thank “what if” for what it offers you, and then politely decline to listen.
Face whatever your challenge is and, instead of succumbing to “What could be” take action. This sounds simplistic...because it is! The only way to change our lives for the better and tap back in in this important area, is to take action.
Here’s the cheat or the hack to make this a little more palatable: Start small. You don’t have to start with the epic things that keep us up at night. In a small situation where “What If” appears over your shoulder to whisper all the horrible outcomes that could happen, simply choose not to listen. It could be making small talk in the checkout line. It could be asking for an extension on a project you’re working on. Heck, it could be as simple as breaking a rut and picking a new restaurant for date night. The point its - just do it! Start taking small actions now. You’ll be shocked by how fast these small actions snowball into epic changes in your life.
When it comes to “What if” just say no.
Tap back in.