- We have control of two things: how we prepare and how we respond.
- Have a better mindset by changing your “what if” thoughts to “even if” thoughts.
How great is that quote? Anyone else feeling great discomfort because everything seems out of our control? Yep. Me too. It’s nearly impossible to feel like we have a firm grasp on much personally or professionally. If you are feeling the same way, a small language shift from “what if” to “even if” may help you lower your shoulders and breathe a bit deeper during this time of uncertainty.
The best part is that it takes 5 seconds or less!
Let’s begin with what we know. We know we can only control two things in our lives: How we prepare and how we respond. Let’s acknowledge that right now, we are preparing for things we never had to think about in December 2019. How we process this can have a profound effect on how we respond.As a rational optimist, I have started to make a small shift in language that has made all of the difference. And it takes 5 seconds or less. I replace 'what if' with 'even if.' Click To Tweet
Around 3:30AM, a little voice often whispers to me, and it sounds a little like this: “What if [insert technology tool] doesn’t work during math? What if my daughter struggles with her ELA test? What if school shuts down again? What if I start feeling sick? What if I can’t see my parents at Christmas and we miss another holiday together?”
If you find your thoughts landing in the world of what-ifs, you are not alone. When talking with colleagues or friends or family, it seems pretty common to get stuck in the land of what-ifs.
As a rational optimist, I have started to make a small shift in language that has made all of the difference.
And it takes 5 seconds or less.
I replace what if with even if.[scroll down to keep reading]
Even if?! Does that sound crazy? It may at first. But look what this small shift in language can do:
EVEN IF [insert technology tool] doesn’t work during math, I will use chart paper to model the concept.
EVEN IF my daughter struggles with her ELA test, we will talk about it when she comes home and share a blueberry muffin. I will remind her that grades are not as important as her wellness during this pandemic.
EVEN IF school shuts down again, we aren’t starting from the same place we were in March. We have tools and know where to begin.
EVEN IF I start feeling sick, I will go to the doctor. I will continue to vigilantly wash my hands and wear a mask.
EVEN IF I don’t see my parents at Christmas, we will call and FaceTime more often than usual so we still feel connected.
Did your shoulders lower at all? Did you exhale even the tiniest bit? When we replace what if with even if, we acknowledge the possible, realistic scenario and think about a possible, realistic response. If we are craving a sense of control, we aren’t leaving it up to the universe to haphazardly figure it out, but rather thinking through what is within our realm of control to respond to that possibility.
Prepare and respond. It’s all we can do.
Even if everything seems out of our control.
Small Shift, Big Gifts!
When you find yourself beginning a sentence with “What If…” see if you can shift to “Even If…” to see if it helps you gain a sense of control and calm.
ABOUT SUZANNE DAILEY
Suzanne Dailey is a proud member of the Teach Better Family! She is an instructional coach in the Central Bucks School District where she has the honor and joy of working with elementary teachers and students in 15 buildings. Suzanne is Nationally Board Certified, a Fellow of the National Writing Project, and has a Masters Degree in Reading. She is dedicated to nurturing and developing the whole child and teacher. Suzanne lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.