Do you or do you know anyone who seems to be crippled by “what if?” What if I lose my job, my clients, my health, my partner, my reputation, my money, my phone….? Everything is seen through the eyes of fear; loss, rejection, insecurity, uncertainty.
In many of my sessions I work with clients on limiting beliefs, mindsets, and their ‘what if’s’ This ongoing thinking pattern leads to stress, panic, and anxiety and if left unchecked will lead to chronic stress symptoms which shows up in many ways, and, will lead to a compromised immune system.
As I was going through my files, I came across this story and it sparked something. Often, we, coaches try to tackle things with a ‘proven process’ or sophisticated methodology, when actually it’s best to face our biggest fears as humanly as possible.
Tyranny of What If…? By Charlie Badenhop
A number of years ago I had a client who came to me in a
really bad stressed out condition. He came for one session, and then the next thing I knew I was
told he had had a nervous breakdown.
When I visited him in the hospital, I was quite surprised to
see that his face had certain radiance to it.
I asked how he was doing, half expecting to hear a litany of bad news.
Instead, the man smiled and said the following. “I feel very
lucky right now. Very blessed. I have let go of nearly
everything I was trying to hold onto and I finally became aware
of the mantra that I had been repeating to myself over and over
“What happened to me was so surreal.” he said.
“I was sitting in an unemployment office and I was feeling more
and more agitated. Then all of a sudden, I passed out. Or at
least they told me I passed out because I don’t remember
that part. What I do remember is waking up in this bed, and
for the first time in my life, there was this deafening
quiet inside my head, and a great calmness in my body that
touched my soul. For the first time in my life, for at least
a few minutes time I had no internal dialogue. This was a
very amazing experience.”
“You see,” he said, “When I first came to see you I was
afraid of losing my job, my wife, and my house. I was
relentlessly repeating various ‘What if” mantras. What if I
lose my job?’ ‘What if I lose my wife? As it turned out I
did lose my job. And upon getting fired, because my finances
were already totally frazzled, I soon had to hand over
ownership of my house to the bank. And upon learning about
the foreclosure on our house my wife immediately left me.
And now I feel like a bright and energetic fourteen-year-old
starting all over again! I have new dreams, new ways of
thinking, a whole new life ahead of me now, and perhaps most
importantly I have a new mantra.”
“My only sadness is that I wish I would have had my nervous
breakdown much earlier in life, so I could have much sooner
gotten into living from a place of enthusiasm rather than a
place of fear. I just didn’t realize how fantastic a nervous
breakdown could be! I have lost everything, but in the
process I have gained a completely new way of being in the
world. It is such a joy to know that I no longer need to
live in fear.”
In the process of finally being released from the tyranny of
“What if” this man attained great wisdom and peace of mind.
After chatting a bit longer I finally got ready to leave.
My ex-client said “One more thing if you don’t mind me
suggesting it. When a client comes to you stressed out and
fearful, tell him to take a moment, and take a deep breath.
Then suggest that the best thing he can do is to have his
nervous breakdown right then and there. Invite him to have
his breakdown on the spot, so that he can get back into
living a full life again, free from stress and fear! Believe
me, the sooner you can completely let go, the better. In
math, ten minus ten equals zero. In life, if you take
everything that you have and minus all of it, you wind up
with much more than you ever dreamed of!”
Feel free to share this story with someone you think needs it. Let’s all work together to reduce the virus of stress, fear and anxiety. Let’s all tackle the tyranny of What if..?
Neelam Challoner | Multi Award Winning Master Coach