[fusion_text]… there was no back up plan or Plan B? How would you behave differently?

When I was in corporate and we were creating sales and marketing strategies, there was always time focused on our “what if” scenarios.  Essentially, this was contingency planning in case something went wrong.  You see, there was some part of us planning for failure.  Therefore, there was always something holding us back from playing full out.

I find this is a common theme when talking to women (or anyone, really) looking to make big changes in their lives.  Whether they are wanting to start or end a job, a career, a relationship, there’s always the “what if ___________ doesn’t go as planned?”  As entrepreneurs, we go through this all the time … second guessing ourselves.

I now have two responses to that:

So What?

When I say, “so what”, I’m not being disrespectful.  I am truly asking, what’s the worst that could happen?  What will you learn?  After all, when little ones are learning to walk, they don’t worry about what if I can’t do it … they keep at it until they are walking; first with help, then on their own.  As a new Grandma, my 3-month-old is experiencing something new every day … what his hands and feet can do, trying to pull himself up, keep his head up … you know what I mean.  He doesn’t see any barriers – he just keeps going until he’s exhausted.  There will be a next time and he’ll keep trying.

There’s an element of perseverance that we can learn from children who don’t fear trying something new.  It’s time to embrace that to move forward and bust through the fears (which are only thoughts) that hold us back.

What if it DOES go as planned, or even better than planned?

Something I believe is much more powerful, is the need to retrain our brains to think more positively.  I worked with an amazing coach last summer who walked me through a visualization exercise.  She asked me to close my eyes and ask myself the question “what if ….” In the spirit of what if anything was possible, I was to fill in the blank.

For example, “What if I could build my sanctuary for women today?” Then I was to visualize what that would mean and speak out loud what would happen.

That would mean I had the money in place to invest in the perfect location; I had a designer and contractor in place to create the dream space I envisioned; I could hire a landscaper to create a beautiful outdoor experience too! I had partners who wanted to serve with me and a yoga teacher and massage therapist lined up to work with clients on site.  Then I wondered, “what if, after all that, nobody came?”.  She gently asked, “what if more women than you imagined showed up?” and had me follow those images and thoughts.  When I played out that scenario we tried another.

It took a little while to get in to a rhythm and it was fun.  I found myself being more creative over time and required fewer nudges from Dina to consider the positive “what if” question to my concerns or fears.

Hear are some examples from real conversations I’ve had with friends and clients over the past year…

What if the house deal falls through? What if the house deal goes through? How will you feel? What will you do?

What if our relationship doesn’t work out? What if your relationships gets better and better every day? What will that look like?

What if I fail? What if you succeed beyond your wildest dreams? How would you feel?

What if I’m not smart enough to take this on? What if you are the best person to take this on? What knowledge, skills, experience and attitude do you bring to the table that best suits you to the job?

What if I don’t make any money with this venture? What if you do make money? What will that money do for you and for your family?[/fusion_text][tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”yes” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”#aa0101″ highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”center” link=”” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”Over to YOU!” description=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””]


If you find yourself in need of a “positive boost” give the What If Visualization exercise a go. Buddy up with someone you trust and each take a turn so you have someone to keep you on the positive track.

Close your eyes and ask “What if I ____________?”. Then follow what your mind sees and start answering the question. When you come to a stumbling block, your partner can prompt you with another “what if” question that helps you keep moving forward. For example, as you talk through your response, you may find yourself saying “oh … that is going to require a lot of money” and then you’re stuck. Your partner will say, “what if you had enough money to make it work?”, and you can carry on. When the barriers are removed, you will come up with all sorts of creative ideas!

Whenever you find yourself saying or thinking “that won’t work”, “I can’t do this”, “I don’t do that” or “nobody will listen to me” etc. work on catching yourself and ask “what if it DID work”, “what if I COULD do this?” “What if I DID do that?” and “what if they DO listen to me” and consider what would happen next.

With practice, you can absolutely kick the negative self-talk to the curb. Start thinking and responding more positively and watch your creativity soar. You will also become much more in tune with the naysayers around you. Watch out!!


1 Reply to “What If…”

  1. Tracy: another great article. In a style of Kung Fu I study there are many symmetrical movements. You learn to make strikes with both hands, even though only one would be directed at an opponent. The reason is that it takes mental energy to hold a hand back, even if swinging it has no target. Don’t waste mental energy on holding back.

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