Turn What If’s into What Is

What if is a question many of us ask a lot. Why not change your what if’s to what is?

What if you could get the job you have longed for? What if you could find happiness in a relationship? What if you could have enough money to not have to worry about the little things and live comfortably? Believe me when I tell you that what if’s are not easy to turn into what is.

I listen to the gurus who talk about how to go after your dreams and achieve the life you want. Part of me wants to yell at them and part of me knows they are onto something. Let’s get realistic. Most folks hear the message and even strive for the what is, but life disappoints. Issues get in the way. Problems continuously mount and it feels that the what if’s will never turn into what is.

The guru’s all say the following things. Change your routine. Ok. That sounds great in theory. But how do you change your routine when you are getting up, getting the kids ready for school, getting your own workday ready, taking care of all the things you normally do, and then if you are lucky making time for yourself? The guru’s would tell you to prioritize. There’s a lot of truth in this. A lot really depends on our mentality and what we believe we can do. If you want a promotion in five years, then what are you willing to change in order to achieve that goal? If you want a degree, are you going to be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen or are you going to have excuses as to why you couldn’t bring that dream to fruition. I’m changing my routine now. My diet and exercise routine is starting to take a priority in my life. Not just because my health is deteriorating but because I want to live long enough to make a difference. I can’t do that if I don’t start by taking care of myself. My goal over the next four months is to lose ten pounds. If I make it to ten, then I’ll set a new goal.

I just applied to graduate school. Lord, I must be insane to take that on but I’m tired of not fulfilling my potential. I’m working, still studying almost daily and doing volunteer work. My routine is starting to evolve in ways I never expected. I no longer want to live in the what if world. I use these things as examples. These are decisions I’ve made that are giving me a new focus and direction. According to the guru’s, these are necessary decision making goals that have to be addressed. When I say the guru’s, I hope you all know that in all the research I’ve done, virtually all the counselors and advisors say the same things. Some of you may feel trapped. You may feel that you don’t have a way to change your circumstance. It may be a serious struggle. But if you are so focused on what you can’t do, then how do you know what you can achieve? Our mindset is critical. I used to think that the power of positive thinking was just something people mentioned but there’s a lot of truth in it.

There’s so many what if’s in life. Sometimes it’s better not to question those what if’s and make the changes necessary to have the what is.

I’ll give you a prime example. Over the years, I’ve made decisions that cost me in the long run. I married someone that wasn’t a good fit. I have often asked myself “what if” over if I had never married, would I have had the family I so desperately craved? Or would I have changed and not settled down with anyone? Would I have experienced the types of things in my life that I have? Or would I be limited? What if I took chances professionally and they paid off instead of hiding behind the feeling that I wasn’t good enough? What if I couldn’t get past the what if’s to create what is the present? I think the answers for me lie in the past, the present, and the future. The past has taught me that just because you think you took a chance, doesn’t mean that those chances were the ones you should have taken. The present reminds me of those previous decisions. Those decisions are helping me to form new ones. Ones that are better informed and better equipped to create a stronger and happier future.

Keep communication open. Find mentors who can help you get to where you want to be. If you want the promotion, ask those in higher positions to mentor you to help prepare you for the next journey. What do you have to lose? A question? Accept the criticism and feedback and grow from it. We all have to do the things we don’t like. Let’s get on the right page with the journey we take. There’s no harm in asking questions. There’s no harm in putting it out there that you want something. What there is harm in is bottling everything up and just taking the same roads in life over and over. How do you grow if you don’t expect there to be some type of construction on those roads and in your life?

Don’t be afraid of failure. If you don’t try something in life, then how do you know if you are doing well with it or not? This is normal. I can’t truly say that I don’t like an activity if I haven’t tried it. Fear and failure go hand and hand. The biggest failure we all face is to not do anything at all. Success is savored after a lot of trial and error. There’s usually more error involved.

Keep learning from your obstacles. Obstacles and mistakes are some of our best teachers in life. If something’s difficult and you keep having problems with it, keep at it until you master it. Don’t let it master you. There’s a lot of reasons for folks to get frustrated. Just know that you aren’t alone. Lots of folks have felt the exact same way as you. Just keep trying and don’t give up.

We can’t control everything in life. What we can control is our attitude and our demeanor. We can control how we approach situations. We can choose to live a more fulfilled life than existing day to day. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s really hard to change from the norm. The question then becomes how badly do you want your what if’s to change to what is. Only you can answer that and only make the changes necessary to help change your life. There are always going to be things that you can do. Research everything. Ask a lot of questions, and don’t be afraid of failure. Sometimes we have to fail a lot before we can begin our successful journey. I hope each of you are able to make your what if’s into a what is for the better.

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