“What If…?” Saying “Yes” Instead of “No”

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Photo credits Erin McKinney
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by Theresa Conti

“I have enjoyed life a lot more by saying ‘YES’ than saying ‘NO.'” – Richard Branson

Years ago, I knew someone in Seattle who was taking her first trip abroad. She had food allergies and other health issues and was concerned she might not get the food and the support she needed. Then… she realized she had been creating a ‘what if’ scenario that was preventing her from realizing her dream. She went on to share an insight that served as a powerful antidote: “What if I could buy the food I need and connect with other people along the way?” She went on to enjoy her very first trip to Europe!

It’s easy to let fear hold us back from achieving our dreams. After all, the brain is trained to focus on what could go wrong instead of right, as a way to keep us safe. Uncertainty is scary, and it’s natural to want some control. Yet, letting our ‘what ifs’ rule us keeps us living small.

Here are a few more examples:

  1. Job Transition Dilemma:
    • You want a job that uses your skills and abilities, and gives you more independence. You’re bored and frustrated, yet your current job provides a safety net and gives you a sense of security. In a fret, your mind starts working overtime, and puts the brakes on by telling you: “What if I get a new job and I don’t like it?” Or worse – “What if I don’t do well and get fired?” While guarantees are never provided, you’ve just “what-iffed” yourself out of exploring new opportunities. What if you changed your “what ifs” and told yourself this instead:
      • “What if I get a new job and like it?”
      • “What if I do get fired? It could happen anywhere. I’m smart, and know I can handle it.”
  2. Socializing Challenge:
    • You’re tired of sitting home alone on Saturday (or any!) night, and have a friend who would like to set you up on a blind date with someone they think you’d like, but you’re reluctant to go because you feel scared and vulnerable. Thoughts like: “What if I don’t like the person, and am stuck for the evening?” Or, worse yet, “What if the person doesn’t like me?” So, you decide to stay home, take out the ice cream, and spend another night alone. What if you changed your “what ifs” to this:
      • “What if I have a nice night, and meet someone I like?”
      • “What if the sparks don’t fly, and we become friends instead?”
  3. Solo Travel Dilemma:
    • You would like to take a trip to someplace new and beautiful, but your friends aren’t available, and traveling alone is out of your comfort zone. You want to go, but your mind is off and running, and your thoughts are scaring you! You listen as they tell the dreaded story: “What if I feel lonely or something terrible happens and I have no one there to help me?” Next thing you know, you’re back on the couch with a movie and a bowl of popcorn. It’s true – you may feel lonely, and something might happen, but… What if you told yourself this instead of letting your “what ifs” sabotage you:
      • “What if I enjoy traveling alone, and have more flexibility?”
      • “What if I make a list of resources so I’ll know who to contact, if needed?”

Of course, these are only examples, and we need to do what makes us feel safe and comfortable. But what if the “what ifs” we create aren’t so black and white?

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Theresa Conti
Theresa Conti was born and raised in New York. She is a Certified Life Coach, Energy Healing Practitioner, Workshop Facilitator and Author with more than 25 years’ experience. Her books include Alphabet Affirmations: Transform Your Life and Love Yourself, and I Am the Treasure. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, and develop inner resources, like confidence, courage and resilience, so they can live with greater ease, realize their goals and dreams and better meet life's challenges. She is also a qualified English teacher and editor and often brings her coaching skills into her teaching to facilitate her clients’ learning. She offers a complimentary consultation to get acquainted, discuss your goals and see how you might work together. She can be reached at Theresa@reconnecting2you.com.

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