What if I can’t vs what if I can?
What if I fail vs What if I succeed?
What if they don’t like me vs what if they love me?
You’ve said this to yourself before right? Before you go into an important meeting, what if I can’t remember my points? Have you ever said to yourself - what if I remember exactly what I want to say? - probably not right?
Yet imagine how different that would feel. When you ask yourself what if I can’t, you’re reinforcing the idea that you might not be able to remember, you’re focus is then on worrying, whereas if you were to think what if I can remember exactly what to say, you're focusing on exactly what you are going to say (which is pretty helpful right!).
Now I'm not suggesting we only flip the question, sometimes the original question is a helpful one.
What if I fail in my job interview? As an example - well what exactly do we mean by what if we fail? If you're asking what if I fail to get my words out? Then you can now answer the question with a plan. You could apologise and say, “oo, let me try that again” you’re only human!
Another example could be, what if I fail to share my presentation with them on zoom? That could also be a good question to ask, because then you can create a plan B. Now you can focus on maybe sending the presentation to the interview panel ahead of time, so that if there is an issue with sharing your screen, you can refer them to their own copy.
You see now focusing on what if you fail, becomes helpful. Then... think about what if you succeed - because if your mind starts to explore what if you succeed, then you may also start to think about all of the different ways the interview could go well!
If you’re focusing on people not liking you, you’re focusing internally - you’re focusing on the things that you think might make people not like you. You know the thoughts, they’ll think I’m boring, they’ll think I’m too loud, too opinionated, talk too much… They all focus on you inwardly, on your perceived weaknesses.
Of course, focusing on your weaknesses is not the way to feel more confident as you’re going into the situation where you want people to like you!
As before, you could go a little deeper with these questions, what if no-one likes you? You might feel lonely, well then what will you do? You could identify the person you can go talk to, who you feel comfortable with.
And again, the flip side, what if people like you? Now you’re focus is likely to go outwards - back to them, what you could share with them, talk to them about, etc.
How would either of these thoughts make you feel? I know the thoughts I’d prefer to think - what if they like me?, What if I succeed? And what if I can?
We can remind ourselves to think these thoughts, sure go deeper with the other thoughts and create your action plan for if they happen, if that’s helpful - but then, ask yourself these helpful questions as well!
Like what you’re reading here? Before I publish a blog I talk about it on a live inside my free Facebook group - The fulfilled women collective - you can watch my live on this subject here (https://www.facebook.com/JenSmollett/videos/202800231062509)