I remember sitting in the psychologist’s couch telling her a lot of what ifs.
What if I don’t finish in time?
What if my work isn’t good enough?
What if I have to redo a few more experiments?
I was in my last year of my postgraduate studies, getting ready to finish up my thesis so I can finally be done with school for a while. Before that I had spent 9 years in University with 2 degrees already under my belt, this was going to be my third and I was nervous. I have always been a perfectionist and doubted my abilities even though I had come that far. The last straw for me was when I started experiencing panic attacks, at that moment I realized I needed help and one morning I walked straight into the school psychologist’s office and just started talking for an entire hour. I needed to tell someone how I felt, although I had a great support system back home I found it difficult to tell them what I was going through because I didn’t want them to worry about me. I spent about 4- 6 weeks seeing my listener aka psychologist and after a while she made me realize that I have a lot of ‘what if’s’, she made me aware of my thoughts and words and once encouraged me to listen to my ‘what if ‘. She went on to tell me that once I hear those two words about to leave my lips, I should stop myself and replace them with a more positive word/sentence. As hard as it started out, I slowly learned to replace the ‘what if’ in my life. Earlier last year the what if renegade came marching back. I noticed that whenever I am stepping into a new chapter in my life the WHAT IF’s are right there next to me, holding my hand and calmly escorting me.
Just when I thought I had graduated from the WHAT IF of my school work I have found new ones in other areas of my life particularly my career and side hustle.
- What if I stay in this position forever?
- What if nobody pays for my service/products?
- What if I don’t ever get that promotion?
- What if I am never head hunted?
- What if I do my PhD and have no option but academia?
- What if I never get to do any PR work because of lack of experience and strong academic background?
- What if, what if, what if?
I need to go back to that place where I didn’t have so many what if’s. Doubt is part of life and some days your WHAT IF’s will be louder and if one is not careful they might end up paralyzing you. I have learned that when my WHAT IF’s are more frequent that means I am on the right track so I need to be BOLDER and answer them with a: What if I fly?