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As we head toward the end of the calendar year our focus shifts to goal setting for the following year and meeting people that we don’t see very often whether those meetings are at networking events (virtual or in-person) or at family gatherings.

We’re also likely to make up stories about our potential to achieve those goals (we won’t) or how those interactions, especially with family, will go (poorly).

Based on our belief that we will fail to achieve our goal(s) or that an interaction, which has still only happened in our head, will go poorly, we say or do things that aren’t in our best interest, like lowering our goals or avoiding a gathering. This creates (negative) results, which reinforce the belief that caused the story to appear in the first place, which makes those stories harder to shake next year.

David Sandler said, “consider the worst-case outcome. If you can live with that outcome, act. If you can’t create a worst-case outcome that you can live with and act on that.”

The thought of considering the worst-case outcome may be paralyzing, but the true worst-case outcome, just like the true best-case outcome, rarely happens. The result is usually in the middle and acceptable to us.

Best practise when considering the worst-case outcome is to write down that possible (likely not plausible or probable) outcome. This avoids us getting trapped by our brain, which is wired to keep us safe and will create bigger and bigger worst-cases if we attempt to work through this in our head. Once our worst-case is down on paper we can consider it and create plans to reduce its probability of occurring.

The end of a year brings on extra pressures and anxieties. By considering the worst-case, writing it down and making a choice based on a possible worst-case outcome that we can live with we will create new results, which will bud new beliefs and erase the stories that are holding us back.

Until next time… go act.

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