Thursday, February 1, 2024

2017: What To Do When Your “What if?” Questions Start Making You Feel Anxious.

January 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Health, Money/Business, News, Weekly Columns

( Twenty years ago this week, I stepped out in faith to do something I’d dreamed about since elementary school: I became a full-time business owner. I had just turned 24. I had less than two years of full-time work experience. And I’d never worked for a public relations firm. Despite those facts, I made the leap and started a public relations firm.

I was full of hope and scared to death. What if I failed? What if I was too young? What if I embarrassed myself and had to go groveling back to my former employer for a job? What if I wasn’t as capable as I thought I was? What if I fail, can’t get a job, can’t pay my rent, my car gets repossessed, and I ruin my chances of ever having a successful career? You get the point. My mind raced before I made the leap.

One of the most persistent forms of fear is what I call the “What If?” syndrome. But there was one thing I learned to do that gave me the courage to take a leap of faith despite all of my “What if?” questions.

I answered them.

One by one, I answered every “What if?” question.

“What if I fail?”

“I guess I’ll get a job, re-strategize and try again in a few years.”

“What if I’m too young?”

“I’ll partner with someone with more experience. I’ll learn as I go.”

“What if I embarrass myself?”

“Then I guess I’ll be embarrassed, and I’ll also get over it. People leave entrepreneurship all the time – either because the business failed or because they were tired of being a business owner. Don’t let pride create fear.”

“What if I go broke, I can’t pay my bills, etc. etc.?”

“I’ll deal with it. I’m resilient. I will find a way to bounce back.”

Answering your “what if?” questions empowers you to see past the obstacle that seems like a stop sign. The reason “what if” questions can paralyze us is that there is a story we tell ourselves. That story is this: If the thing I fear happens, I won’t be able to handle it. Therefore, I shouldn’t move forward.

Instead, ask yourself these two questions to coach yourself to a breakthrough when your “what ifs” threaten to hold you back:

1. What if that happens?

2. How would you overcome it?

My challenge to you:

Answer your “what if” questions.

Columnist; Valorie Burton

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