playing the downsides

As I help others navigate through transitions and choices and as I navigate through my own, some of the questions I hear myself asking over and over are about defining or identifying the downsides–

So often, we have a longing and are pulled to do something– start a website, write a book, learn something, take a class, but then we don’t.  We decide, somehow, for some reason or reasons, that we can’t. That it is not time yet.  That we won’t be able to do it.  There are other folks out there already doing it BIG and doing it BETTER.

In many moments like these, “What’s the downside?” can be a very useful clarifying question–

Sometimes there is a downside! Sometimes there are collateral issues that need to be acknowledged and addressed:  Relocation, child care, money, time, challenges to identity, fear of failure…

But once brought into the light and put in the perspective of the possibly tender but compelling thing that is pulling you forward, sometimes those downsides can actually begin to feel peripheral or manageable with some mindful planning and strategy.

Identifying the downsides can help demystify the conundrum of wanting to move toward something, but feeling stuck. It can help us all decide whether there truly are obstacles, or if there are other less tangible things that are holding us back.

So, next time you hear your own heart say, “I want to _____, but…”, ask yourself:  “What’s the downside?”

Call out those downsides! Bring them into the light and see what’s really there. You may find there is a lot less in your way than you thought.

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