What if? Why not?

In meeting with a client recently, we talked about what we do when we get stuck, or come to a fork in the road in terms of which ideas to develop. My client said that making two post-it notes, one that says, “What if?” and one that says, “Why not?” have served to inspire great thinking.

So, I started testing it. I’ve found that I love what happens when I have these prompts in front of me — and use them.

I have found that the questions work in a number of ways. “What if?” can stimulate lots of creative possibilities, which is exciting. And, the question can be turned into a challenge for myself — what if I tried something that feels intimidating, or what if I dared to dream bigger? And, “What if?” can make me test the possibilities of things that are not going so well, and consider how I can respond when that’s the case.

“Why not?” is a good way to test my ideas to see if they may be off base, or could be stronger. The question helps me consider the possible downside of an action or approach. It's also a wonderful way to encourage myself — as in, “Why not give it a try?” (And, if I feel resistance, I can explore the root of that response.)

And, right now these questions are helping me focus on a personal matter. I have a date with a surgeon in a couple of weeks and I’ve been trying to get a great deal of work done before then. At the same time, I realize that this is an enormously important time for me to slow down and take care of myself. So, the questions are helping me think about the big picture implications of my decisions in terms of my health.

“What if” I don't make the time to get extra exercise, in order to be as strong and fit as I can be before the surgery? And, “What if” something on my to-do list doesn’t get done and has to wait until I’m able to attend to it in August?

“Why not” decide to simply let myself take it slow for now, so that I will be well rested going into the procedure? “Why not” give myself permision to use the 4 to 6 weeks of recovery for rest, reading, writing and reflection? “Why not” trust that everything will unfold as it’s meant to, and that I will resume my work with more insight, energy, creativity and enthusiasm after this small piece of time? And, the biggest question: “Why not” put myself first when it’s so important?

As many of my readers have heard me espouse, the issue of self-love is enormously important. It is key to opening yourself creatively, and a foundation for living big. Self-care is always essential. Putting ourselves and our wellbeing high on our to-do lists may feel hard to do when we are busy with work, family and friends, volunteer commitments or personal projects. But taking good care of yourself needs to be a priority — even if your don't have a health matter on your mind.

Try using the two questions, “What if?” and “Why not?”. I have found them to be important and useful conversation starters with myself, and I hope that these two simple questions will help you, as well.