If everything goes wrong, what is going to happen?
If you struggle with severe anxiety, this probably isn’t the exercise for you. But if you are just a typical person avoiding an average risk like starting a new blog, launching a new business, asking that person out, or asking someone to be your mentor, it is a critical question.
Chances are, you could live with the worst-case scenario. Knowing that ahead of time doesn’t make the daunting task more accessible, but it does make it known.
The upside you already know about, or you wouldn’t want that thing. But the downside is often an invisible Bogeyman waiting around the corner of defeat with an ax, or maybe it is just a feather.
I don’t know about you, but I can live with being embarrassed. I can live with hearing no. Or the chance no one cares that I created something. Or that they just didn’t get it. Figuring out the worst-case gives momentum to the best case.
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An Embarrassing Story
There was a tradition of engagement level stunts at our high school to ask girls to the formals. I figured this was my chance to ask Meghan to the event. I penned a song – which I am sure was not good – and had someone bring her to the Biology classroom (at least it wasn’t the lab room where we dissected frogs).
I am sure the song was a shaky mess. And I can only imagine listening to it was even more embarrassing than singing it to an audience of one. She said no.
These stakes were super low. Pretty much being embarrassed and hearing yes or no. Plus, I already knew the answer had to be no; Meghan was a grade older than me, for starters. Secondly, she was waiting for someone in her grade to ask her. Despite that, I wanted to take the risk even with the odds against me because I considered the most severe outcome worth it.
I still think back on this story with slight embarrassment and awe in my 15-year-old conviction that I had to take the chance despite the outcome.
Explore the Options – Choose Your Adventure
In scarce circumstances, you may find the potential failure is unbearable to you once explored. Great! Unless the potential reward is massive, you just saved yourself a heartache.
So, what is the worst that can happen? Is it enough to hold you back from the life you imagine yourself living. Remember, you choose what your life looks like – and, in the end, that isn’t scary after all.