The "What If" Game
Start that _______, sis...
The infamous what if. The single question that holds us back from doing everything we've ever wanted to do. The inquiry that subconsciously tells us we have no idea what we're doing, so we should stop trying to be anything more than what we are. The inquisition that binds us from our potential and stifles our creativity.
I've never been a huge fan of children, but what I admire about them is their ability to make their imaginations reality. They're not concerned with limitations or nay-sayers. A child decides one day that they want to be an astronaut so they spend their afternoon finding boxes, random household items, and coloring supplies to build a rocket ship. If you tell them that their rocket ship is poorly built and barely resembles an actual space craft, they'll more than likely just look at you with hopeful eyes and respond, "I like it" while continuing their alien mission. When mom decides she's tired of that thing lying around the house, she throws it away. What does the child do? Build another one the next day.
Somewhere between 10 and 13 we lose the ability to try. We forget how resilient we once were. We forget how to turn our imagination into reality. By the time we become adults our first thoughts are no longer of optimism but more of the pessimistic variety. Our brain shifts into destructive what ifs: what if this doesn't work out, what if I'm not the right person for it, what if they make fun of me, what if no one believes in me, what if I don't have the support I think I need, what if I fail? These self-destructive thoughts do nothing more but contribute to further unhappiness and unrealized potential.
But what if (see what I did there) we reframed the question? You see, what if works both ways.
What if I fail? --> What if you succeed?
What if no one likes it? --> What if they love it? More importantly, what if you love it?
What if people clown me? --> What if they celebrate you?
What if I'm not the right person? --> What if this is part of your destiny?
What if it doesn't go according to plan? --> What if you learn new skills in the process?
For so long I've wanted to be a life coach, but I was so concerned with other people instead of choosing to do what I knew I would love and what I knew I would excel at. I lost my job a couple of months ago and I have not had the best of luck finding employment. Most businesses are still trying to recover and I am no longer settling for less than I deserve. So many people around me were going into business for themselves and I couldn't for the life of me see myself as an entrepreneur. What supporters do I have? Who's really rocking with me like that? Who's going to want to pay out of pocket for a certified coach when insurance covers licensed therapists? What if I fail and people talk about me? But I've always wanted to be a life coach. I was so tired of the mind olympics and I was even more tired of not trying. So what did I do? With prayer and some words of encouragement from a friend, I found a training program, built a website, setup my G Suite, and became a certified life coach.
I have no idea if my business will work. I have no idea when I'll get my first official client. I don't know how long I'll be in this game. But because I decided to try I'll find out the answers to these questions and more. If I decided to let the pessimistic what ifs control my thoughts I would instead be asking: "what if I would've tried" for the rest of my life.
What have you always wanted to do? What dreams have you allowed to wither away? How long have you limited your imagination? When did you begin to stifle your own creativity? When did you allow other people to have control over your life? Start that business, sis! Buy that house. Go back and get that degree. Create that business model. Start your Etsy page. Put yourself out there and I guarantee you won't regret it.
You will be successful as long as you're willing to redefine your definition of success.
What if works both ways...