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What if? So, what!
Have you ever noticed the attitude our children innately have when navigating the early years of their lives? As a mum of seven little ones, I have seen it first-hand time and time again. Very rarely do young children ever second guess themselves. As I write this my 19-month-old is climbing onto the sofa and onto a nearby table. Once standing, he confidently throws himself back onto the sofa again and smiles at his achievement. I’m pretty sure I can summarise his thought process. “I would love to climb high and jump onto the sofa. This would make me so happy.” So he does it. Not for a second does he think “What if I fall?” In fact, if the thought “What if…” came into his mind I’d say he would respond with a “So what” and just jump anyway.
Oh, to adopt that mindset when pursuing our goals as women. I call it the “What if, So what” approach.
Far too often, when taking strides towards my next goal this dreaded “What if” raises its head. It is blatant, pushy, overbearing, and relentlessly pursues me with no relief. And if given any sort of attention, it can very quickly derail me and change the trajectory of my life. Its goal is to silence me and cause me to retreat. Can you relate? I will give you an example.
I recently developed a self-care planner for mothers. I created it from start to finish. The epitome of a labour of love. It was developed out of my desire to see busy mothers hold themselves accountable for their time and choices and use their time to best serve them. To enable every mother to be the absolute best version of themselves within the family unit and access their own version of self-care every day. I used it, I believed in it. It represented everything I stood for. I sold it online and then was approached to sell it at a high-end summer market. Why then, despite my love and belief for this planner, was my mind immediately flooded with these thoughts:
“What if I go to the market and no one comes?”
“What if people visit the other stalls but don’t come to mine?”
“What if I share a picture of me at the market and friends ask me how it went?”
“What if the planners don’t sell?”
What if, what if, what if. If you listen to it, you will talk yourself out of every decision, you will quash every idea, and you will retreat every time your desire is to press on.
So what is the answer? It is quite simple. Every single time the “What if” monster whispers in your ear you respond with “So what”, and remind him of the alternative. So how does this work on a practical level?
As women, these are the top 5 “What ifs” I think present themselves when we set our mind in pursuit of a goal or dream and my advice on how to respond.
Top 5 “What If’s”
1. What if everyone thinks you are crazy for starting something new?
So, what! It takes courage to leave the monotony of the rat race and take a leap of faith. What if you inspire other women to pursue their dreams too? What if everyone thinks you are amazing and see you as an inspiration?
2. What if I get negative comments on my social media?
So, what! The people behind negative comments never take the leap. The easiest thing to do is criticise from the sidelines of life. What if you become a social media sensation and your inbox is flooded with people commending you?!
3. What if I am too old?
So, What! Life is full of endless possibilities. There is no rule book. Life is in session. Join any time! What if all your experiences and life choices have led you to this point? This is your moment. Grab it with two hands.
4. What if It’s not the right time?
So, what! There will never be a perfect time. You may be in the throes of motherhood, but your children know they are your world and priority. You will create the space and time to incorporate your dreams into your mothering journey. What if you become your children’s greatest role model for following dreams and succeeding?
5. What if I fail?
So, what! You will try again, and again and again. You will only ever regret the things you didn’t do, not the things you did. What if you succeed, and that level of success surpasses your wildest dreams?
As women, the seasons of retreating are behind us. Second-guessing and subsequent regression should never be our ultimate story. As a mother to seven young children, I never want them to buy into the “What if” narrative. I want them to view the world through the eyes of possibility, never limitation. I can attest to the fact that you can thrive in the busy season of life that you are in. I am wearing all the hats. Yes, the juggling and sometimes struggle are real but I am still creating, pushing myself, setting and pursuing goals and, even at the age of 40, I say unashamedly, I don’t have it all figured out and that’s ok. I am in the game.
I am currently the best version of myself. So when the voice whispers “What if you don’t become the recognised writer and speaker you want to be – after all, you are a 40-year-old mother of 7” – I say loudly and proudly, “So what”. What if I become the most recognised speaker and writer for women, for mothers, empowering them every day to thrive in this season of their life and inspire them to accomplish the things they once only dreamed about?
What if? So, what!
About the Author
Name: Emma Lewis
Professional Title: Founder of Seven Little Lewis Kids
Bio: Emma Lewis, BA Hons HRM, published writer, motivational speaker, and businesswoman is a busy mum to seven young children. Her business Seven Little Lewis Kids: Mum Like a Boss, is inspiring women every day to live their best life while in the throes of motherhood. She is an advocate of self-care, intentional living, self-accountability for both time and choices, getting out of survival mode and thriving in motherhood, and is challenging other women to do the same.
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