It’s only been a couple of weeks since I wrote a post on how my superpower is self-doubt.
I received several lovely comments on that post, with others saying they struggle with the same thing. Stephany‘s comment, in particular, stood out to me. What if, instead, I asked myself what would happen if something actually went well?
A few days later, I got the weekly edition of an email newsletter to which I have subscribed for years, written by a life coach. It opened with this quote:
What if we had an unwavering belief in ourselves? What if we always knew that there was nothing too big to stand in our way? What if we truly believed that against all odds we will always figure it out?
– Jess Ekstrom
Which, of course, got me thinking, well, what if?
What if that manuscript that I submit is accepted (with revisions, come on, let’s not get too crazy here…)?
What if the grant is funded?
What if I actually manage to shift my program of research out of neutral, where it’s been stuck for a few months?
What if, instead of running scared from the “big things” on my to do list, I actually, you know, did them?
What if I wrote the email that I have known for weeks that I need to write?
What if, instead of thinking that my students secretly hate me, I think that they actually value the content and insights that we share each week?
It won’t happen overnight, but yesterday, I did have a bit of an epiphany (while cleaning the bathroom, of all things…). (And yes, I was cleaning the bathroom on Thanksgiving morning. I was alone. I usually clean on Thursdays. Why not? :>)
My mini-epiphany: I have been avoiding the “big things” related to my work because I am convinced that I will fail. I haven’t succeeded to the degree I anticipated I would up to this point in my career… so what will change this go-round? And I realized that I was tired of thinking that way.
I literally looked at myself in the mirror and told myself to stop. To just do it. That if I don’t do it, I’ll never know if my hypotheses actually hold up. No one else is asking these questions, so why not me?
It’s a small step. But it’s a step. I made my to do list for today and the weekend, and it includes several of my biggest projects right at the top.
Because what if?