Dealing With A Case of The "What Ifs"

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I’ve had a bad case of the ‘what ifs’ the past few weeks.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  The “What if it doesn’t work out?”, “What if it is harder than I think it will be?”, “What if it takes up too much of my already full schedule?” Those what if comments that flood your mind.  I find that I struggle with this a lot when things start to change for me, either personally or professionally. 

Those of you who know me know I actually enjoy change. I get bored if things stay the same for too long.  Despite that, I still struggle with the what ifs.   As you may be aware, I am in the process of rebranding my business and enhancing our services plus shifting our target market.  As all this is going on, I was presented with an opportunity to lead a women’s networking group in my local community.  This is something that speaks to my heart and that I’ve always wanted to do but pushed off because I was too busy.  When this opportunity presented itself to me a few weeks ago I realized that I’d probably always feel like I’m too busy so wondered if it would ever be the perfect time.  I wanted to say yes but found myself with a case of the ‘what ifs”…. “What if it doesn’t work out?” “What if it is harder than I think it will be?” “What if it takes up too much of my already full schedule?”    

And then I realized I needed to coach myself as I do my clients.  When my clients come up against this same challenge I always ask two things. First, how does it feel in your body… do you feel any physical resistance or negative emotions in your body when you think about this task, project or experience you’re considering?  If you do, perhaps it is not the best direction for you to head.  However, if you feel positive emotions and physically lighter when you think of this upcoming task or experience (like I did when presented with the opportunity to lead this networking group) it is a sign that you’re headed in the right direction for your personal growth.  

Then I ask them to shift their what ifs from the negative to the positive.  Instead of thinking “What if it doesn’t work out?”, think: “What if it works out better than I could have ever expected?”  Instead of thinking “What if it’s harder than I think it will be?” think: “What if it’s easier than I am anticipating?”  And, instead of thinking “What if it takes up too much of my already full schedule?” think: “What if it adds great joy to my already full schedule?” 

By doing this I was able to get to a better place in my mind and body about leading the networking group and got over my case of the what ifs.  I know the what ifs will always present themselves when I’m up against a decision that contains some degree of uncertainty.  That is inevitable but it’s my choice how I frame them because they will frame my entire experience.  If I approach it from the perspective of “What if it all goes absolutely right”, I am approaching the experience with an attitude of expecting it to go right versus one where I am anticipating that it will go wrong.  That in and of itself will help form my experience and the outcome and is truly what makes all the difference. 

What do you do to get over your uncertainty when dealing with a case of the ‘what ifs’?  I’d love to hear your comments!

And, yes, I am happy to say that I got over my case of the what ifs and decided to accept the opportunity to lead the women’s networking group in my local community.    I am excited about it and will share more details as they unfold!

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