You ever ask yourself “What if…?” What if I had moved to “x” city? What if? What if I had followed “x” dream? What if? Would my life be better now? Maybe I would have realized my dream. Maybe I would have been more successful.” All of this is true. Maybe you would have done everything you think you could have and didn’t, but maybe you wouldn’t have. Many people would say it’s not a good exercise to ask yourself the “what if” question because in reality you cannot go back in time. Some would say spending too much time thinking about the “what ifs” leads to regret and sometimes sadness. However, I’m not those people and I’m going to challenge those of you who want to ask that question to ask it because it can allow you to determine where you are going to go. Let me explain.
Often times when you get to a cross roads in life or something big happens and you reflect, you naturally wonder what an alternate outcome may have been had you made a different choice. This could be something good or bad. For example, it could be after a getting married and you sit and think, I’m so happy right now, what if I had married Bob instead of John? John is so sweet and kind while Bob never treated me with respect. Man life would be different and so much worse had I married Bob. And you think how blessed you are to have married John and then you carry on with your life. Or, it could be after something you perceive as negative like getting let go from a job you’ve been in for over 20 years. Man, what if I had decided to work at the first job offer I got as opposed to the second that I chose? I’d still be in a job right now. Shoot, I wish I made that other choice, life would sure be different now! The reality is, how do you know? This is why I say that the exercise of asking what if is a good one because it inevitably brings you back to one of two places.
- Reflecting on what you could have had (an imaginary place keep in mind) which can serve a deeper purpose than you know. See, when you are at a cross roads in life and you think of past choices and you have an opportunity to potentially have those options back – maybe choosing that choice this time around is not such a bad idea?
- Realizing that you can’t change what has happened already and then discovering that moving forward is all you can really do.
Hmmmmm, that kind of seems like you end up at the same place doesn’t it? Accepting the choice you made and deciding to move forward? See the reason why many say that you should not live with regrets and not question the choices you make once they are made is because once you start going down a certain path, turning back is not always an option. The choice was made and you followed through. The reason why I say it is a good thing, is because it helps you to either realize what you have or allows you to be able to move ahead with the ability to choose a different path. Live out the new choice or the choice you think you should have initially made and answer that what if question. The danger becomes when you DWELL on the what ifs. To ruminate on them can be crazy making. And the truth be told, you just really don’t know what the outcome may have ever been had you made a different choice.
When I was 22 years old I had a few choices presented to me. I was graduating from University with my first degree with the option to attend a University in the United States to do my Masters, remain in Canada and do a second Bachelors, or go to California and model. I chose to stay in Canada and pursue a second Bachelor’s degree. Over the last 18years I have asked myself, was that the right choice? To be honest – I really don’t know. Pursuing the other two options may have lead me to extreme success or extreme destruction, I just don’t know. What I do know is that if I had made the other choices I would not have my three boys. I would not have some of the absolute amazing people in my life that I have, and I would not be here talking to you – lol. I have a friend that told me once, Well Jen, you would have made other great friends and would have other great children and you would not have known any different. True. But I love the ones I got now.
And I still have the options to go to the United States and teach in a University (I’m blessed beyond belief!!) or model. And I get to do a lot of modelling here. Whether it’s for myself or not is not the point (LOL) the point is, I’m good. I’m happy, and I ALWAYS have choices ahead. Best of all, I’ve learned from the choices I’ve made which INFORMS the choices I will make.
Ask yourself the what ifs ONLY if you are going to go down a positive path with them. Dwelling on them will not help you but asking them may drive you. It’s your decision. Suggestion for you – bring a coach/counsellor/neutral party along on that journey to keep to you grounded and moving. But in whatever it is that you are going to ask yourself and do, ALWAYS, believe in you. You’ve got so much to offer, keep moving forward, the world needs what you have.
Again, Believe in You,