Worst Case, Best Case, Doing Nothing and Having a Plan

I was recently listening to a smart guy talking about how we get paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. He was teaching how to use fear and uncertainty to clarify what we want and move forward.

For example, let’s say your inner voice is nudging you toward leaving your current partner but you’re really unsure. You have moments of certainty around leaving…but you also have moments of certainty around not leaving. In other words, you feel stuck.

First, figure out your worst case scenario and what you’ll do if it happens.

Maybe you think the worst case scenario is that you leave and you end up alone and depressed over your decision. Or maybe worst case would be that the loneliness of singlehood forces you back into the arms of your not-so-nice ex. Whatever your personal worst case, go there.

What would you do then? What’s your recovery route?

For example, if you’re alone and depressed you could join a support group, channel your grief and free time into writing or cleaning or dancing or watching reruns of Beverly Hills 90210. You could get help by hiring a coach or making a new friend, take prozac…or any number of other things.

If you’re afraid of running back to your ex you could delete his contact info from your phone, ask friends to help keep you away from him, make a list of all the reasons it’s better to be alone than with someone that’s not right for you… These are just some ideas. Brainstorm your own recovery routes. If it feels too close to home, pretend like you’re helping someone else brainstorm recovery routes for your worst case scenario.

What if you did nothing?

Doing nothing at all is always an option. If you did nothing you might let him stick around forever, always wondering what might be if you had the courage to leave. You might learn to live with the fact that you never took that chance or explored that option. Sure, things might get better in the relationship….or they might get worse.

Would sticking around and wondering ‘what if’ be better or worse than being temporarily alone and sad? That’s for you to answer. Let your mind go to ‘what if I did nothing?’

What if it’s a huge success?

What’s your best case scenario? You might envision yourself a year or two into the future feeling truly happy, proud of the fact that you took a stand. Maybe you’ll be happily single or happily with someone much better for you. Whatever feels like huge success, go there.

And after you’ve answered these questions ask yourself “Now how do I feel about leaving?”

So often when we’re feeling shot down by doubt and fear, the real worst case scenario is doing nothing. The pain of always wondering ‘what if’ tends to be worse than what we imagined as our worst case scenario. Not always, but often.

Even more often, we’ve never let ourselves really visit our worst case scenario long enough to see that there is a recovery route, let alone actually come up with one (or two or 10) of them.

We think we’re visiting our worst case scenario because those terrible thoughts are always there, right under the surface, but we’re not really facing them. We’re pushing them away. Or trying to.

And even more often, we don’t let ourselves sit with the best case scenario and revel in that. We’re so scared and our vision is so one-way that we have a hard time conjuring up a best case scenario, let alone feeling the excitement of it.

But maybe we should, don’t you think?

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