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Are You Playing the “If Only” Game?

By Joey Havens

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How many times do we say, “If Only?” As I coach and mentor, I see us get hung up on it too often. Here’s a little bit of revelation—each of us has moments, decisions, words, actions and even thoughts where the words “If Only” might fit.  No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. For me, a lot of them.

Making a mistake and then dwelling on it will paralyze us, steal our confidence and only slow down our ability to forgive ourselves and to push forward. Do you find yourself reflecting on a mistake where you relive it over and over with “If Only?” It’s really just one of the ways that we punish ourselves and frankly it does more damage than good.

First, we need to own our mistakes, words, actions or inactions that don’t reflect the best of us or that hurt someone else. We can never be better until we OWN our mistakes. If we have hurt some else, let them down, then we need to ask forgiveness, share our disappointment with them and grow from it. Just demonstrating how much we care will start to dissolve the “If Only” that is following us around. 

Even missing an important goal or performance metric spins us into “If Only.” Let’s own our lack of self-discipline, our inaction and our excuses, to demonstrate to ourselves and our team that we missed the mark. By owning it, we are on the path to #beEvenBetter. 

Speaking of owning it, we certainly give all of our power and future away when we place it on someone else. If only some person would do something differently, I would be successful. If only my performance advisor, my mentor, my parents, my spouse, my managing partner, my CEO, my whatever, would be different, I would be successful or happy or (fill in the blank).

It’s never about changing them—it’s about what we can change. We can change ourselves, our attitudes and our future by owning it. Never give our future to “If Only.”

And if the ole self-critic tries to “If Only” us after we have owned it and learned our life lesson, it is much easier to tell that mean critic to clam up—you’ve got this! Don’t let yesterday’s “If Only” lead to missing today’s blessings. 

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