Are you a first time traveler? Perhaps you’re ready to take on a new destination or a new task. Many of us struggle with those What if questions when we’re about to take a giant leap into the unknown. Is it exciting or terrifying? This week’s Thoughtful Thursday asks you this question: “What if you continue to ignore your what if questions?”
Guest Blog Post by Christine Hassler
What if? This question evokes a feeling of wonderful possibility or dreadful panic. For many, it’s the latter. What if questions usually pop-up when we are navigating our way through unknown territory. When worrying about a situation or facing anxiety about something in the future, the incessant what if questioning begins: “What if X happens? What if X doesn’t happen? What if I do X? What if I can’t do X? What if he/she does X? What if he/she doesn’t?” And on and on and on.
One of my most utilized coaching techniques is what I call answering the what ifs. When I hear my clients ask a what if question, I interrupt them and request that they answer it. This usually surprises them, because they were really into a fretting flow of unanswered questioning. My encouragement to you today is to practice this coaching technique of answering your what ifs. Otherwise they will continue to loop around in your mind and create stress. Your mind does not like unanswered questions. And since most of us are not like Buddha sitting on the mountain totally present and unattached to anything our mind creates, it is useful to understand what our mind wants and give it what it wants!
Imagine a three-year old child tugging on his mom’s shirt and saying repeatedly, “Mom, mom, mom, mom!” in an attempt to get her attention. So what happens the more she tries to ignore him? The tugging gets harder and the “mom-ing” gets louder. But as soon as she addresses the child, the tugging and calling out quickly stops. And usually all the child wanted in the first place was attention and acknowledgment.
This is what your what ifs need: to be acknowledged and addressed. So go ahead and answer your what ifs each time they come up. Talk them out, even go to worst-case scenario because you’ll realize that you can always talk yourself through a possible solution. And guess what? You are making it all up anyway! Remember that worry is our imagination used poorly. So after you talk out the worst that could happen, you might as well talk out your best-case scenario too. And you will soon discover that stopping and answering your what ifs one by one (because what ifthinking is contagious) will soothe that mind of yours that is working so hard to manage all of your question marks. And once you become aware that you can harness the power of your mind to solve any imagined situation, you will have more peace of mind.
And what if you don’t answer your what ifs? I’ll let you answer that…
Believe it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come. It will. – Norman Vincent Peale
About the Author:
Christine Hassler left her successful job as a Hollywood agent at 25 to pursue a life she could be passionate about…but it did not come easily. After being inspired by her own unexpected challenges and experiences, she realized her journey was indeed her destination. In 2005, she wrote the first guide book written exclusively for young women, entitled 20 Something 20 Everything. Christine’s second book, The 20 Something Manifesto written for men and women stems from her experience coaching twenty-something’s.
Today, she supports individuals as a Life Coach helping clients discover the answers to the questions: “Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?” As a professional speaker, Christine leads seminars and workshops to audiences around the country. She has spoken to over 10,000 college students as well as to conferences and corporations about generational diversity. Christine has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, E!, Style and PBS, as well as various local television and radio shows, speaking about life issues and “Expectation Hangovers®” – a phenomenon she identified and trademarked.
Christine is the spokesperson for Zync from American Express and the key resource for their Quarterlife Program which empowers young people to take control of their finances. She also created a life balance curriculum for the Leadership Institute and is a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100. www.christinehassler.com