Don’t spend a lot of time imagining the worst-case scenario. It rarely goes down as you imagine it will, and if by some fluke it does, you will have lived it twice.
I hated my life in Senigallia.
I was tired of hanging out in the same pubs, eating the same pizza margherita with the same old crowd and complaining about an extra unpaid shift at work or an annoying colleague.
I couldn’t take another day of interviews for dead-end jobs I knew deep down I didn’t want, no matter how much I needed the money.
Even my 13 year old relationship with my partner had started to deteriorate, as familiarity and security replaced excitement and desire.
I desperately wanted to move to London and start a new life there as a freelance writer. But, there was always something holding me back…
My partner didn’t want to leave Senigallia and wasn’t keen on a long-distance relationship, either.
I didn’t have enough money in my savings account.
I had absolutely no idea what I’d do there. There was no job waiting for me.
I didn’t know anyone in London who could give me a helping hand while I settled down.
All these fears and what-ifs paralyzed me. What if I took the leap, left everything behind to start again… and failed?
Then, my partner dumped me.
Are You Already Living Your Worst-Case Scenario?
Being dumped was the worst thing that had happened to me until that point. But also the best…
As long as I was in a relationship, I could fool myself things would get better. If only I put up with it a little longer, I’d get married, have a baby, buy my own house… All the things society told me would make me happy.
Now that wasn’t happening anymore, I had to look the ugly truth straight in the face.
I had never wanted any of those things… What I wanted was to write and teach. Hang around ambitious people who didn’t settle for the life they were given. Live in London and make the most of what the city had to offer.
What had I got to lose? If things didn’t work out, I could always come back home and pick up my old life right where I had left off.
You know what that means? I was already living my worst case scenario.
I had to go through a painful breakup to realise it.
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What Would You Do If You Knew You’re Already Living Your Worst Case Scenario?
If you’re here, you know there’s something more you want to do with your life.
Maybe you too want to move to a different country. Or you want to quit your job or start your own business. Or you want to organize events and workshops.
When your Inner Mean Girl rears her ugly voice and starts telling you all the reasons why it’s not a good idea, ask yourself this: “What’s the worst thing that would happen if I failed?”
If you don’t like your new country, you can go back home.
If your business doesn’t succeed, you can go back to your old job or find another one in the same industry.
If your events flop, you can go back to doing what you did before.
I know, failing sucks. And going back to square one with your tail between your legs feels awful.
But if your worst case scenario is your current situation – if, when everything goes wrong, you end up where you were before – well, that’s not so bad. At least, you already know how to deal with it.
In case you’re wondering, “But what about all the money/time/resources that I wasted on this failure?”
You didn’t waste it. This experience made you stronger. It taught you new lessons and skills. And it made you stop wondering, “what if I had given it a go?”
Truth bomb: you’re way more likely to regret the things you never did.
Do you want to spend the rest of your life wondering, “what if?” Or do you want to give your dream a go, even if you risk going back to square one?
When I put it like that, moving to London was a no-brainer.
P.S. Even if you do go back to square one, you can always try again. And this time, you’ll be better prepared for it, too.
Related: How To Reframe Failure Into Feedback
How To Minimize The Risk Of Your Worst Case Scenario Coming True
When I took the leap and moved to London, I knew that if things didn’t work, I always had the option to go back to my old life.
In a way, it was reassuring. But it was also terrifying. I had hated every second of that life. Did I really want to go back there?!
Heck, no. I was determined to do everything it took to give my dream the best chance of success and ensure I’d never have to go back to Senigallia (apart from visiting family and friends, of course).
You can do the same. I’m not telling you to quit your job immediately to start a business if you don’t know how to pay your next month’s rent.
Instead, I’m telling you how to set yourself up for success. Because the worst case scenario is very unlikely to happen – just think of all the times you worried about the worst possible outcomes of a decision that never came true – but you want to make sure of it. Here’s how:
- Do your research: Before moving to London, I researched the best places to live in, how to rent a flat, how to get around town, how to get my National Insurance Number so I could start working… You get the point. Whatever you want to do, do as much research as you can. The better prepared you are, the more problems you can avoid.
- Make a plan: Now you’ve done your research, make a plan. What’s the first step to reach your goal? And the second? When do you need to do it by? You don’t have to have it all figured out, but you do need a clear idea of what you need to do to start. You can figure out the rest from there. That’s what I did. I made a plan for what I’d do the first month in London – get a room, get my National Insurance Number, open a bank account… and figured out the rest later.
- Plan for obstacles: Even the best laid out plans don’t always go according to plan. Think of what’s most likely to go wrong and make a plan to tackle it. When something bad happens, you won’t feel that bad – you already know what to do about it. For example, I had already made a strict budget of how much I could spend every month until I found a job. And I planned a good answer for some of the gaps in my resume. When they asked me about that, I just blurted it out with a smile.
- Don’t go it alone: You don’t have to do everything alone. When I decided to leave for London, I asked my friends if they knew anyone who wanted to leave too, so we could share a room for the first few months and help each other out. If you’re starting a business, you can join a networking group or find a mentor. Or you can ask your partner to help you out on the weekends. It takes a village to make your dreams come true.
I’ll leave you with this: you already know what’ll happen if you give your dreams a go and fail. But oh, honey, what if you succeed beyond your wildest dreams?
You’ve got this.
Over to you, now. Are you already living your worst case scenario and, if so, is that motivating you to take the leap and give your dreams a go? Let me know in the comments below.