• Abby Locke

What's the Worst Thing That Can Happen?

Everyone makes bad choices in life sometimes.


But before you head down the road of self-pity and criticism, let me show you how to get ahead of the game.


We can drive ourselves crazy by overthinking, overanalyzing or over-processing to prevent making a tough decision.


I say, go ahead and address in the room; instead of going in circles, take out a pen and paper and start asking and answering the question:


"What's the worst thing that could happen if I take that action?"


1) Explore All Options


I mean go through all the options and evaluating the gains and the losses.


For example, if you're trying to decide whether to quit your job and become a self-employed consultant, write down the outcomes for taking the action (quitting the job) and for NOT taking action (staying where you are ). Look at the decision for all angles.


2) See How You Feel About "Doing Nothing"


What if you did nothing and everything stayed just like it is right now? What is the worst thing that can happen if you make that choice?


Writing that down is also crucial because you can see if there any severe consequences for maintaining the status quo.


For example, if you are exploring whether to keep your current job or go back to school and follow a different path.


What's the worst that can happen if you do nothing, get a new degree or choose yet another option?


3) Think About & Write Down Every "What-If"


You keep thinking about them, so write down all your "what-ifs"


Writing down all the what-ifs that you can think of can help you explore potential alternatives, as well as help you in narrowing down your decision.


You will be surprised that when you challenge yourself to identify every possible outcome to each of the "what-ifs", there is less fear. Because you have more data points to make an informed decision.


For example, you are trying to decide when to speak up for a well-deserved promotion at work.


What are all the things that can happen if you speak up and get the promotion, if you speak up and don't get the promotion or if you do nothing about it?


4) Look at Your Mindset & Patterns


Well, you know yourself better than anyone else.

  • Are you really a terrible decision maker? (I know you're not!)

  • What are powerful lessons you can take from the last important decision you made?

  • How do you like to make decisions? Spontaneously? After gathering info?

Even if you made a "poor" decision in the past, what can you do differently moving forward?


And last, but least, what is the worst thing that can happen if you don't make the best decision in the situation?


5) Do Your Research & Due Diligence


Research every single path that you can take thoroughly.


We can never predict or be 100% certain about how any situation can turn out, but we can make well-informed decisions.


Don't take actions or accept offers without having the facts that you need at the moment.


6) Identify the Fear Factor


Fear in any situation is normal. Sometimes fear comes to the surface as a warning to us or as an indicator to slow down and be observant.


What you don't want is the overwhelming weight of fear stopping you from doing anything. Fear can even prevent you from going through the "what-if" exercise.


Determine if the fear validated or substantiated with facts/evidence or just your thoughts taking over and creating a negative narrative?


Study the situation carefully so that you understand the real risks and can make the decision that is best for you right now.


women making tough decisions

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