A few months ago I started reading Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl to my five year old son. I was cleaning out some boxes in my basement when I came across my copy (which my friend Ellen gave me for my ninth birthday–thank you Ellen!).
I picked it up and thought, “This will be a fun read.”
And fun it is. I think we are on our fourth go-round.
My favorite scene is this:
Charlie, along with his parents and four grandparents are traveling with Mr. Wonka in the Great Glass Elevator when things go awry. They have accidentally left the earth’s atmosphere and have gone into orbit when they encounter a group of United States astronauts aboard a “commuter capsule” en route to the first ever Space Hotel U.S.A.
“What if they come after us?” said Mr. Bucket (Charlie’s father), speaking for the first time.
“What if they capture us?” said Mrs. Bucket.
“What if they shoot us?” said Grandma Georgina.
“What if my beard were made of green spinach?” cried Mr. Wonka.
“Bunkum and tummyrot! You’ll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that. Would Columbus have discovered America if he’d said ‘What if I sink on the way over? What if I meet pirates? What if I never come back?’ He wouldn’t even have started!”
As I chuckled, it occurred to me how many times I “what if” myself out of doing things.
In my business it goes something like this:
What if no one signs up for my workshop?
What if no one buys the new products I designed?
What if I burn out?
What if someone comes over and my house is a mess?
What if we run out of food at the party?
With big life decisions…
What if I screw up?
What if something terrible happens?
All this what iff-ing, has often pushed me to do my absolute best. But it also pushes me to perfectionism and that can lead to getting stuck and giving up, or not even trying at all.
My Dad, who passed away a few weeks before my 31st birthday, used to tell me:
“You can always find reasons NOT TO DO something. Why not focus on the reasons TO DO something?” Tweet this!
I wish I took his advice more often. Perhaps today is the day.
How about you? What things do you avoid doing because your what if’s get in the way?
Please post a comment below.