3 Questions to Shut Down Your Negative “What ifs”

I was recently speaking with a client who reminded me of how debilitating “What if” can be.

The anticipated negative outcomes that we spend too much time thinking about and that lead to inaction.  

Thoughts like:

What if they don’t like it….

What if I fail…

What if I don’t land the client…

It makes sense.

None of these ‘what ifs’ are remotely appealing so why would we even bother to take any action when the anticipated outcome is so negative.


The truth is the outcomes are unknown and we have NO idea…

Yet we are still committed to thinking that the outcome is going to be negative.

We are doing this to ourselves.

I call these Negative Hypothetical Outcomes (NHOs) and we are making them up.

NHOs are autopilot responses that most of us have practiced our entire lives.

It’s NHO that are keeping so many of us within our comfort zones, afraid to do what we know we have to.

NHOs will continue to limit you until you decide to change your thoughts.

Is there something you are shying away from because of an NHO?


If so, here are 3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Shut It Down:

  1. What’s a PHO, Positive Hypothetical Outcome? You are making up the negative, so go ahead, what’s a positive outcome?
  2. Historical Proof? Re: the outcome that you fear, how often has this happen to you in the past?
  3. What are your Truths? What can you acknowledge about your competencies and strengths around this topic or situation?

The details around you won’t change, just how you chose to respond to them will.

It’s up to you to choose to shut down your autopilot responses.  To start to create the change so you can live outside of your comfort zone and achieve what you desire in your life.


Victoria is an expert at helping women Get Out of Their Own Way.  If you like what you’ve read you can register to receive her free weekly Tips and Tools to do just that.  Register in the Top Right Corner of this page.

4 thoughts on “3 Questions to Shut Down Your Negative “What ifs”

  1. I love your posts Victoria! I’ve been struggling with NHO’s surrounding registering my youngest (you know who she is!!) daughter for JK in the fall. What if she regresses? What if they don’t understand her the way we do? Consciously creating PHOs around this situation is on my agenda for the week! What if she starts talking at school?! What if she takes her first steps with her peers?!

  2. Hey Kim I love your week’s commitment! My feeling towards your NHO is that you are on this journey with her and just because you sign up for JK today, doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind as you all move forward…..Another way to think about this is that we can’t control the outcome, but we can know WHY we are choosing to take the action.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s