What if?

Why is it that we automatically default to the “No you can’t, because what if ….” mode of thinking so often? When things are a bit scary, a little messy and we’re faced with plain old change and uncertainty we automatically reach for the proverbial stop sign; the default to the safe space.

My eldest daughter was an amazing tree climber when she was younger. To her eyes a tree was put on this earth for climbing and that’s what she’d do. It didn’t matter to her in the least that she might fall and hurt herself. As far as she was concerned higher was better and trees with wide, sweeping branches were the best. So I worked to get comfortable with her tree climbing exploits even though I often had to look away and bite my tongue not to say anything. The thoughts in my mind were harder to tame. With vivid pictures of her falling flashing through my head, I knew I was going to end up banning her from tree climbing unless I did something about those pesky thoughts. When they next surfaced with their “What if she falls?” I was ready for them, arguing back with “What if she doesn’t?”

And that was what it took. Yes, I had to practice the “What if she doesn’t” thought lots of times, it didn’t go away all by itself or overnight. It had been visiting my mind so often that it slipped past the welcome doormat without even stopping to wipe its feet. But as time went on and I argued back with it, it became less persistent. And I added in pictures in my head, of the triumph in her eyes when she conquered her tree, her great ability to navigate gaps with confidence, her risk taking skills. The words I said to her “Good job, nice work honey” and most importantly the words she said to herself “I’m good at climbing trees, I can work this out, I can keep going” all added to the stories we told about the trees she climbed.

Our thoughts are like pieces of string, all tangled up and mixed together. Pick a corner of your head and there will be a clump of thoughts there, banging together and creating more thoughts all similar to themselves.

So make sure you pick the thought that takes you to a good place, one that helps you to believe in the best outcome, one that up levels your life and takes it from mundane to magical. And put your efforts there, believing in yourself, your abilities and where you are going.

The hard wiring of our limiting beliefs takes us to a place of deficit & compromise if we let it. It keeps us playing small and safe, stuck in trivial concerns, meaningless actions and dreams that are only half achieved at best.

There is always a choice to be made. Your thoughts guide that choice to its action. And right there is your tipping point. Do you let your “What if” take you to a life half lived, or do you argue back? Do you let your life be lived safely, or do you chose to take risks and reach for the things you dream of?

Next time fear comes calling, I challenge you to answer the call with a question of your own.