The ‘When/Then’ Trap That Could Keep Your Passion Project From Growing
For years, executive and life coach Stef Ziev told herself that when she met her husband, she would go to Paris and Italy, and then she would be happy. “When I get to _________, then I’ll __________.” It’s probably one of the most overused phrases in the English language. Personally, I use it almost every day, whether I’m referring to something as simple as making my bed or navigating what feels like an endless to-do list for work. We’re all multitaskers to some degree. The when/then mindset seems harmless—we wouldn’t keep using it otherwise—but over time, it can be the one habit that keeps you from charting new territory as an entrepreneur.
“I have thought this many a time, when I was starting out as a coach, ‘When I have the clients, then I’ll invest in myself and my business, and then I’ll feel abundant and peaceful,'” said Ziev during BlogHer Biz. “That is steeped in an old paradigm that is untrue and that has us believe in a have/do/be way of thinking. That when I have the thing, then I’ll be the thing.”
The reality is that we create, or should be creating, comes from the opposite of that. In other words, from a be/do/have mindset. “Who we are is the fuel that ignites the action we take, which then creates our results,” added Ziev. It’s easier said than done, so here’s a simple tool for getting out of the when/then trap. “Think about a dining room table,” she said. “Instead of it being your family and friends sitting around the dining room table, it’s different parts of you.”
There are basic adjectives like happy, sad, worried, and confident. For entrepreneurs, there are some other common culprits: perfectionist, the judge, the doubter, and so on.
“The question is, what part of you is sitting at the head of the table? This is what we get to choose and it is from this choice, from this stance, and from this permission we give ourselves to call forth this intention of who we are being, that creates what we are actually bringing to life. That creates our results.”
As you flex your mental muscles to adjust those seating arrangements, you’ll be able to discern what part of you should be at the head. You’ll also be able to identify and eliminate whatever is interrupting your flow. Once you’ve bid adieu to those less-than-helpful guests, create a story from that place. (And, of course, remember that combatting negative mindsets is ongoing work that never truly ends.)
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“We are the author of our lives. We are the authorities and inside that word authority is author,” said Ziev. “If fear is creating the story, that’s gonna be one result. If love is creating the story, it’s another result. If lack is creating the story, that’s one result. If abundance is creating the story, that’s another result.”
By the way, Ziev eventually made it to Paris and Italy. “I actually didn’t go to Paris and Italy until I was 48. Finally, I was like, ‘Screw it. I haven’t met my Mr. Right and I’m done with this and I’m going.’ I went and I was happy in my decision. I was confident in my decision. I had the best time ever. I came back and guess what? I met Mr. Right…for five months. But that was perfect and that’s all I needed. But it was who I was being that created that result that I really wanted.”
Next time you want to put off a dream idea or crucial business move, take a moment to identify which part of you is guiding those steps. You may find the road ahead isn’t as complicated or scary as it seems.