There are lots of approaches to getting out of your own way. My hope is to provide you with lots of options until you find a way that works for you. Today’s option is utilizing the simple but powerful question, “What if?”. This is an option that has worked for me when I’m feeling less confident than I want to be, less motivated, less inspired, less intelligent, less attractive or less than in any other way. The trick is slowing down and remembering to use it! Let’s talk about how this works and why it’s so effective.
For several years now, I’ve invoked the power of an alter ego when I need a little courage boost. It started when I worked in corporate and was the only woman meeting with a room full of men who didn’t see a lot of value in the kind of service I was providing. You can read more about alter ego here but suffice it to say, Mari “Mother F#*%ing Peck” showed up to a lot of my meetings.
Change is hard. Whether it’s starting a new job, moving to a new city, changing a habit, or modifying your daily routine, it’s hard to both make changes and to make them a permanent part of your life. There are many strategies I use to help me implement change and one is a simple question.…
I was met with a lot of naysayers in the corporate world – from my own employees to internal customers and leaders. One way I overcame resistance was to ask the question, “What if we (insert whatever)?” When someone would invariably exclaim, “We can’t do that!” I’d ask “But what if we could?” This opened up our minds to possibilities and when your mind is open to ideas, you are better able to find creative solutions. It may seem silly to think of what if we could when we know it isn’t possible, however, if you keep asking the question, eventually new ideas come to light. Here’s an example:
Me: What if we could build an entirely new department?
Them: They’ll never let us do that.
Me: But what if we could? What would it look like?
Them: Well, we wouldn’t have X. We would have X. We would do X. We wouldn’t do X.
Me: Could we implement any of those things now even though we don’t have a new department?
Them: We don’t have the money?
Me: What if we did have the money?
You get the idea. Eventually, we find things that can be implemented, sourced, or created that will help to solve our problem. And it serves the purpose of getting others out of the rut of “It’s impossible.” Because really, nothing is impossible.
Now, let’s try that in our personal life. Let’s say you aren’t feeling like working out today. Instead of dragging yourself to the gym and half-hazardly going through the motions of your workout routine (or worse yet, not going at all), try stopping and asking yourself, “What if I did want to work out? What would that look like? What would I have to do to want to work out? What if I was excited to get to the gym? What would that feel like? What if there were someone there I couldn’t wait to see? What if I needed a workout like I need air to breathe?” Generally speaking, you’ll find as you start to ask and answer these questions, your mood or feeling will change. Try it!
You can use this for virtually anything. Not feeling very motivated today? What if you were motivated? What would that feel like? What would you get accomplished if you were motivated? How would it potentially change your life if you were motivated? What if you were so motivated you were unstoppable? What if others were in awe of your motivation? What if “motivation” was your middle name?
Here’s the thing, the mind is a powerful organ. And I do mean powerful. I don’t play the lottery (at least, not very often) but I can imagine how I would feel if I found out today, this minute, that I just won millions of dollars. It wouldn’t matter how unmotivated or “less than” I was feeling at the moment, to get that news would be a game changer mentally. Everything about my mental state would change immediately. This just shows how much power we have over our feelings and mental attitude. If I can change my feelings because I received very good news, then I can change it anytime. That’s a lot of responsibility, right?
Just to prove my point I want you to try this. Close your eyes and imagine you just won $10 million dollars. Imagine how you would feel. Would you scream? Would you dance? Would you jump up and down? You’d likely immediately become excited, exuberant, and full of joy. You’d get on the phone and call someone. You’d start thinking about the bills you could pay off and the things you could buy. You’d be consumed with all the ways this would change your life.
The funny thing is, you can feel all those things with just the anticipation of the money – no money has changed hands.
And you can choose to feel this way even if you haven’t won the lottery. Because YOU control your mind – it doesn’t control you.
By using the What if? approach when you are feeling less than anything, you can begin to transition out of that negative self-talk and into possibility. It opens your mind to being more creative and open to suggestions.
Related Article: Are You Worth It?