Do you “What if..” a lot?

I had a really funny conversation with a client a while back and it was one of those where we completely forgot about grammar rules and ‘making sense’; We were talking about ‘what iff-ing’ (Yep, I am breaking all the grammar rules here –forgive me!). Anyone around us must have thought “What are these two on about?!!”

Said client was describing a situation in the future and it went like this ‘What if this happens and it all goes wrong? What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What if no one comes to my event? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I can’t pay for Christmas presents? She was what iff-ing quite epically and stressing herself out!

Below you’ll find more about this type of self-talk and how you can transform it to use it to your advantage.


What does what iff-ing lead to? 

It can be a wonderful language tool, because it helps to expand the mind or it can be limiting and disabling.

It can lead to:

  • Anxiety or uplifting yourself
  • Stress or feeling free and comfortable.
  • Building up fear-Fear is not real. It is imagined and stops you living in the real world.
  • Not seeing a situation as it is, blowing it up out of proportion and imagining something un-real.
  • Freedom to be optimistic and positive
  • The Truth-when we allow our imagination to wonder, we can start to convince ourselves of lies. When you ‘What if’, ask yourself: Is this really true?
  • Self-trust. The more you what-if+POSITIVE statements, then notice what does actually happen in real life, the more you build up self-trust.
  • Going round in circles, and creating a spiral of negative thoughts.
  • Physical stress: Headaches, stress, weight loss, comfort eating, feeling of anxiety in the body.


How NOT to ‘What if?


  • Catch your self-talk: Does it not feel good?
  • Check in with your breathing: does it feel effortless or short and shallow?
  • Don’t blow up the image in your mind; Decrease the intensity by making it the size of a dot, taking away any colour or imagine a white blank screen instead.
  • If you have what iff-ed, and you still have to go through the experience (a job interview, a date, a networking event, a party, a conversation, etc) , afterwards ask yourself, did your” What ifs..” come true?
  • Check in with yourself: Are you creating fears for no reason or are you keeping yourself safe from a real and genuine threat? Fear is not real. Instinct is. you’ll always know when to really run for safety.
  • ‘What if’ about the past. It’s done, its over and finished. Not one single thought, or no matter how long you spending thinking ‘What if I had not said that, done that, acted like that“ will ever change the situation. It’s best to ask “What can I do differently next time?”


What’s the best way to ‘What if’?


  • Allocate time to think about and consider a situation from different angles.
  • Follow this equation as far as you can: What if+POSITIVE comment
  • Change your body language: Move your body-distract yourself so you don’t get caught up in a negativity loop.
  • Be persistent about changing any negativity self talk loops.
  • Don’t ask friends what they would do because essentially you’re asking them to share “What they would do, if…(they were you)”.  Trust yourself.
  • Try not to ask the question “What’s the worst that could happen?” Only ask it to get a more rounded idea of what a possible situation could be like. Remember, it’s not a reality until it’s happened, and even then you can still choose to see the scenario in an empowering way.
  • Ask yourself, when do you “What if” the most? After an argument, after a discussion, when you’re on your own in the evening, after you’ve watched the news?
  • It’s the perfect tool for to become a creative thinker by expanding their mind, or it can quickly become a disabling and limiting self-talk tool. Check in with yourself and change the pattern.


Remember, we create our reality by the stories we tell ourselves in our minds. You can train yourself to tell a better story. Your new stories give you the freedom to take risks in a way that feels good for you.


Happy what iff-ing!! And, remember always use this equation: What-if+ positive and nothing is real until it’s happened!


I’d love to read your comments below! Share your thoughts, is this a pattern you have? how does what-iffing feel to you?