What’s the worst that can happen? It’s funny in life how often when we ask this question in the face of our biggest fears, the answer isn’t so bad.
I spent the greater part of my life concerned with what other people would think of me. As a child I was afraid that people would think I was stupid or make fun of me…so I was quiet. As I grew up I was scared that girls I wanted to ask out would turn me down or reject me…so I never asked. As an adult I was scared that if I told other people about my goals and dreams they would ridicule me…so I kept them to myself. I’ve even had a bit of a phone phobia most people don’t know about…I have always been scared to death to call people on the phone who I didn’t know. I would even make my brother call the pizza delivery guy when we were younger because I was scared to pick up the phone and make a simple call. Only recently did I ask myself that question…what’s the worst that can happen? And it has changed my life.
I have been working the last year towards my dream of owning my own specialty wine store. As soon as I started this process fear kicked in. What if I fail? How in the name of god am I going to get half a million dollars…I’ve never seen that much money! How am I going to find investors? How am I going to structure a company, work with lawyers and accountants and start a business without a business degree?
One day I sat staring at the phone. I had the number of a multi-millionaire in front of me. A man I wanted to ask to invest in my company and mentor me. A succesful entrepreneur who had basically achieved exactly what I wanted in life. I sat there…I couldn’t do it…I was frozen. Why would this guy help me? Would he think I was an idiot and blow me off? Then I asked myself…what’s the worst that can happen? And I realized…nothing. If I called this potential investor, the absolute worst that could happen was he would say no. *lightbulb* Wait a minute…I do not have this guy’s help or money right now anyway, so the worst that can happen is that I am in the same spot as I was before I called. No big deal. What’s the best that can happen? This potential investor could pick up on my passion and enthusiasm, agree to sit down and talk with me, and potentially give me a swack load of cash! Why the hell am I not picking up the phone!
So I did it. Picked up the phone and called the guy and guess what…the world kept on turning. A lightening bolt did not smite me. A plague of rabid locusts did not descend on me. The guy didn’t laugh in my face or call me an idiot or yell at me…how weird! Instead he agreed to sit down and talk with me. Although he didn’t hand me a blank cheque this succesful entrepreneur gave me something more valuable…feedback!
Well then, that wasn’t so bad. So I started picking up the phone. I called other successful people…and got the same result. No plagues, no universal collapse…in fact the worst that happened was that a few people did not return my calls. Those assholes! In the end I ended up getting priceless feedback from some exceedingly knowledgeable and succesful people…and all I had to do was ask myself “what’s the worst that can happen?” and make the call.
So the next time you are faced with a decision that requires you to take a risk or a leap of faith ask yourself…what’s the worst that can happen? If you apply for your dream job and don’t get it, then you’re no worse off than you were before and you’ve gained new experience. If you approach that guy or girl you’ve been flirting with and ask them out on a date, the worst they can say is no…and once again you’re no worse off. If you step outside your comfort zone and try yoga for the first time and you hate it, then you’ve successfully identified one more activity in life that isn’t for you. In each of these situations however, there is the flip side. You might nail the interview and get the job of your dreams. He or she might say yes and you could have found the person of your dreams. You might love yoga, move to India and become the Tantric grand master…you never know!
The point is so often we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? Then take the plunge.
27 days down, 4 days to go.