What’s the Worst that Could Happen?
Danielle Lively Neal is a former professor turned entrepreneur who provides brand strategy consulting, career coaching and marketing services for clients.
I definitely tend to be a glass half-full type of person. I have always been an optimist, however, even optimists have times where the glass may really seem half-empty. We all have those times.
I want to share with you how we can struggle through business hardships or failures and especially imposter syndrome in business and in life that we don’t think we will ever make it through by using a practice of catastrophizing things. I know this sounds completely counterintuitive. However, it is something I have routinely done with clients, and personally this year and have found that it provides a sense of ease about how you will get through a situation should you encounter a hardship. This is also a great strategy for planners or people who are always planning or “getting ready” to do the thing, but never take that step to move forward because they don’t think they are ready. Let’s blast you past these struggles.
The first step is to ask yourself what you are hesitating to take a step toward doing or handling right now in your business or something you may be afraid of but that you really do want but have a fear of starting? To use a personal example, I have been toying with various different entrepreneurial opportunities ranging between coaching to branding and social media management. I just kept learning and researching more and more but hesitating to DO the thing because I was afraid of failure, good ol’ imposter syndrome rearing its ugly head!
Next step, ask yourself “So what?” So what if you fail? So what if your idea blows up in your face? So what? It’s easy for people to say you will be fine and you will make it through but when you are staring it in the face I know it doesn’t seem that way. We are already catastrophizing things in our own head, so we mind as well write it down.
Then, make a plan for failure….yep, you heard me right, PLAN FOR FAILURE! So what if you do fail? Let’s say that you have a business partnership with someone and it doesn’t work out, plan for that, what’s the worst that could happen and then plan for it. I am not talking about creating this huge monumental business plan about failing, but rather think through the “so what thens?”. Walking yourself through all the bad things that could happen, write them all down, then brainstorm how you would get through that. Because you will, you have before and you will again, and you WILL fail, failures are learning opportunities and so is setting yourself up for success by seeing that if things don’t work out then you know how you are moving forward.
This strategy gives some people a lot of peace. Personally, I think it’s more effective when done with a coach or even a friend or family member because when they keep asking you over and over again, “what’s the worst that could happen and then what will you do to handle it and move on?” can be a very powerful exercise. But it can also be really impactful to write down and come back to when you are feeling doubtful.
The idea behind this is to show you that if you fail it is ok, you have a plan to move forward, thus it’s not really a failure after all, it’s just a learning experience. For me using this strategy has helped me just do the thing without fear of failure and not worrying whether my branding was perfect or my website up and going. I just made the leap knowing that I will fail along the way and that will be ok, because I am ready for that learning experience and I have planned for it.