How Your “What Ifs” Keep You Stuck
From the outside looking in people admire you. They see you as fly. Ambitious. World Changer. They love your message and what you stand for. You stand out and those around you take notice because you’ve already overcome so much. You have dreams, aspirations and passions. You see possibilities where others don’t. You are a beacon of hope.
There is a piece of you that is hidden from others, too. It’s the part where you stall. You set goals aside and you over analyze.
There is a conflict going on inside your mind. You dwell on “what ifs.” And those “what ifs” keep you stuck.
Digging Deep into “What Ifs”
Psychologists spend a great deal of time helping people stuck in “what if” mode. They report about these people who are focused on hypotheticals. Who spend all of their time in speculation. The hypothetical thinking and speculation are not based on fact or reality. They are based on fear.
Psychology Today reports that 1 out of 4 people suffer from anxiety. That equates to 65 million Americans. Worry is a form of fear. According to experts, “Worrying can be useful when used to find solutions to clear, well defined problems; however, worrying is all too often applied to problems that are too vague or too distant to currently be solved.”
Undefined problems or those that are so far off in the future that they shouldn’t count to take up valuable head space.
It is most often disguised as perfectionism.
Perfectionism is a Symptom of the Problem
We see you, perfectionists. We watch you planning that startup or getting ready to launch a new product. You talk about all of the work that it’s taking and meanwhile, your competition is blowing past you. We hear you on the phone talking about the promotion that you’re going to apply for as soon as you finish a few more projects or take so-and-so to lunch a few more times. We know who you are because you’ve been talking forever.
Fear will stunt your growth and keep you from obtaining what belongs to you. It causes great people to sit idly by on the sidelines while their gifts and talents retreat.
Fear is a battle with self. You are your opponent. It is not based in facts so the people that need your gifts and talents suffer while you stay “in your head.” There is sometimes a trust issue and other times the problem is lack of faith. Regardless, your self esteem comes into question. You’ve lost your way.
What’s the Worst That could Happen?
There are many ways to fight your fears and reignite your desires. They can only be effective, however, if you’re honest with yourself.
- Take Action. Many times we are anxious and play out scenarios in our head until we take action and realize that a situation is not as tough as we thought. It starts with that first step.
- Get Support. There are people standing by who have a role to play in your growth and development. Don’t be afraid to share your concerns and ask for help.
Alleviate Anxiety. Listen. You have your hopes and your dreams because you’ve been designed for them. Trust that you have the bandwidth to see it through to completion. Whatever “it” is.
- Find Accountability. Someone said, “if your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough.” Understand that growth requires sacrifice and find someone who is going in the direction you are.
- Take Baby Steps. When talking about how she built her empire, Oprah Winfrey talked about how she took one action everyday that would get her closer to her dreams. Sometimes it was a phone call. Other times it was reading a book. Whatever action she could take, she took.
- Talk to a Pro. If your anxiety is so big that you can’t get yourself over it then it may be time to seek professional help. There are people who have been trained to help you move forward. Take advantage of them.
The threat is not real. The fear and anxiety of sitting around wondering “what if” is stagnating and you don’t deserve that burden. You have been led to the place of greatness at this time in your life. That is not by accident. Follow your instincts and trust yourself. The “what ifs” are playing a trick on you. You deserve better.