Sometimes you have to stop thinking so much and go where your heart takes you. Do you find yourself thinking so much that you can’t get anything done or make a decision? Life is full of pros and cons, and we miss many opportunities because of the What if Syndrome? This ailment causes you to second guess everything, especially yourself. Recently, I composed a query letter which took me over a month to complete. It took so long because I was constantly revising it due to the various viewpoints I was reading or receiving on how to write a good query letter. I tweaked and tweaked, and found myself in a constant state of worry and doubt. There I was fretting over a one page query letter when I had written a full-length novel! I was suffering from a full-blown case of the What if’ Syndrome! What if I have put in too much information? What if I have not put in enough? What if the agent doesn’t even look at it? And most importantly, what if they don’t like it? Only when I realized that I was practicing self-sabotage and wasting precious time that I would never regain, was I able to finish it, using my own words to tell my story. Have you ever asked yourself the following, “What if I fail? What if I look stupid? What if they don’t like me? If you have ever asked yourself any of those questions, you too have suffered from the What if Syndrome.
Okay, you have overcome the What if Syndrome and are now ready to step out on faith and change your life. As you begin to formulate a plan, you suddenly catch a case of What Woulditis, an inflammation of the will to change. This ailment is a little tougher to kick, because it usually has contributing factors, i.e. strong outside influences, such as people you love or trust. They may think they are helping you or “saving you from yourself,” but they are actually doing the opposite and acting as Dream Killers. Maybe you always wanted to open a bakery, climb Mt. Everest, or move to Paris, but somehow life and/or people got in the way and hindered those dreams. Then one day, you decide to share your dreams and instead of getting positive feedback, you get the opposite. Are you nuts? You’re going to quit a good job to open a bakery in this economy? Why would you want to move to Paris where you don’t know the language or the people? How are you going to climb Mt. Everest, when you can’t even climb a flight of stairs? Any courage, optimism, or resolve that you may have mustered, dissipates upon hearing responses like that. Suddenly, you are asking yourself, what would __________ think about me quitting my job? What would all those athletic people think about me trying to climb a mountain? What would a 50-year-old do in Paris? What would my family and friends do without me? They will go on living whether you moved there or not. On the other hand, you may not fare so well. You may decide to stay and have to live with regrets for the rest of your life? Or you may be walking down the street and see a new corner bakery selling the exact same items that you would have and reaping the rewards of doing what they love.
All hope is not lost though. There is a cure for these ailments and it is YOU. Only YOU can decide to change and make your dream a reality. Only YOU can rid yourself of the dream killers. YOU have to create a plan and do the necessary work to make your dreams come true. If you want to climb that mountain, YOU have to train for it. If you want to open that bakery, YOU have to create a business plan and learn about what it will take to run a business, and if you want to move or travel to Paris, YOU have to learn about the language and culture. YOU are your greatest weapon or your greatest enemy, and sometimes YOU really have to stop thinking so much, and just do it!