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January 18, 2015

What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

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Whenever we embark on a new project or a new path, there is an inevitable sense of fear.

We have all been there.

Whether we have launched a business, quit a job to go freelance instead or simply put ourselves out there into the creative market, there is always that part of us that says, “This is scary! Do you really want to do it?”

We go back and forth between our options. We make lists. We try to think rationally. We ask friends for advice.

But what is it that we’re scared of? That’s what we have to figure out before we can move forward. In the face of any tough decision that involves following your dreams, take the time to ask yourself one simple question: “what is the worst thing that can happen?”

Some endeavors involve a large investment of money, and in this case the answer can be, “I will be in debt.” But a lot of us find ourselves in situations that involve minimal upfront economic investment. Most of us are in the “time is money” category, our energy spent on passion projects adding up to much more than we have invested money wise.

What is the worse thing that can happen?

What if you launch a business and two years into it it doesn’t work? You can start over. Has anyone ever looked at someone who tried to launch a business and said, “oh you spent two years working on your own project and it didn’t work out? Wow, you must have really done something wrong!”

No, because most people have a lot of respect for people who challenge themselves and do something scary. They say, “wow, you were brave enough to launch your own business? I could never do that.”

I committed to freelancing full time over two years ago. A few years before that, I launched a business with a friend. In both cases, I had to stop and ask myself, “what’s the worst thing that can happen?”

I feared not making enough money. I feared not having enough clients. I feared going out on my own and not having anything to fall back on. Which meant that all the worst case scenarios came back to money.

Essentially the worst case scenario that I could come up with was that what I was planning wouldn’t work out and that I would have to find a regular job. If finding a regular job is your worst case scenario, nothing should be stopping you from pursuing you from what you want to do.

You have to ask yourself what the worst case scenario is because it doesn’t just make you think about the worst thing that could happen, but it makes you think about what your response would be to get yourself out of the situation. It forces you to be proactive. If you know that going into the risk—if you already have your plan B, plan C and plan D, you’re literally unstoppable.

Sure, life may throw you a curve ball and hand you plan E, but I am going to bet that if you have already thought about and worked through your worst case scenarios, you are going to be better able to deal with a new one.

I will never argue for throwing all caution to the wind and making irrational business choices just because they seem to be a path that will bring you happiness. But I am willing to argue for building a clear and sustainable path into the unknown, even when the unknown scares you. Because if we don’t believe in ourselves, who will?

Will you fail? Maybe. Do you have a support system that can help bring you back up when you when you do? Probably, and if not, start building one today. Do you have a plan of how to move past said failure? No? Then make one now.

What’s the worst thing that can happen? It doesn’t work out and you’ll have to do something different. You’ll have to be flexible and change.

Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

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Author: Anna Brones

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: Jennifer/Flickr

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