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Made Vibrant

Are Your What Ifs Helping You Or Hurting You?

Caroline ZookCaroline Zook Caroline ZookCaroline Zook

Written by

Caroline Zook

Are Your What Ifs Helping You Or Hurting You?

Good afternoon, friends!

I’m coming to you a little later today because Jason and I spent the morning driving around San Luis Obispo looking for houses to rent…

Wait, what?! I thought you loved San Diego, Caroline! Didn’t you guys JUST move?

Thank you, rhetorical person, and you are correct. We do love San Diego and we did only move about 10 short months ago! BUT our one-year San Diego lease is ending in March and over the holidays, Jason and I found ourselves wondering what it would be like to move again to a completely new city. To experience the magic and adventure of moving to California all over again. And to challenge ourselves with new people, new places and a new environment.

That’s why we decided to take the current week-long trip to visit three areas up the California coast and see how we like them: San Clemente/Dana Point; Santa Barbara; and San Luis Obispo.

Each of these spots has its own charms and its own quirks, and it’s been a short-but-incredible trip for the simple fact that it has forced us to see the world through a lens of possibility.

Every Airbnb we’ve stayed in, every restaurant we’ve eaten at, every quaint downtown we’ve traversed, every stranger we’ve met, every coffee shop we’ve enjoyed…. we’ve had to ask: Could we see ourselves here? What would this look like for us?

What if we found a place at the foot of those mountains? What if we came to this coffee shop every Monday morning to work? What if I hosted art workshops at that cool studio space? What if we took Plaxico for his daily walk with this gorgeous view of the ocean?

What if.

I find myself saying this phrase over and over in my head. It’s so fun to see a blank canvas before us because it feels like the possibilities are endless.

But, believe me, I haven’t always been this comfortable with the notion of an uncertain future.

In fact, I used to be terrified by it.

We’re conditioned from the time we’re young to think sequentially. When we finish 8th grade, we know 9th grade’s ahead. When we finish college, we know we’re expected to get a job. When we get a job, we’re supposed to aim for the promotion.

There is comfort to be found in the predictability of this sequence.

So back in 2014, when I started Made Vibrant and suddenly there was no sequence, it honestly freaked me out. A whole different slew of What Ifs ran through my head…

What if I don’t make any money and the business fails?

What if I’m not cut out for this entrepreneur thing?

What if nobody gets what I’m trying to do and I feel completely embarrassed?

These other What Ifs were a manifestation of my fear of the unknown, and I would spend hours just diving deeper and deeper into them.

That was until I stopped worrying and I started doing. I walked into the unknown in spite of my fear and I found out if my fearful What Ifs were grounded in truth. (Spoiler alert: most of them were not.) The further I waded into uncertainty, the more I actually learned to enjoy it.

The thing is, our relationship to the unknown is all a matter of perspective.

We get to choose whether WHAT IF is a question of possibility or of fear.

“We get to choose whether WHAT IF is a question of possibility or of fear.”

There are constructive What Ifs and there are destructive What Ifs. One breeds possibility and one breeds worry. One chooses to err on the side of hope, one chooses to err on the side of disaster.

And my question to you this week is: Which kind of What Ifs do you entertain more?

The worrisome kind or the possibility kind?

I have absolutely NO idea where I will be living in two months time. I don’t know what my routine will look like or what my favorite hangout will be or how I’ll feel. But this no longer scares me; instead it excites me.

I know not all of us will choose to move to a new place each year. But my hope is that this letter will help you stay open to opportunities you might have otherwise been too afraid to attempt.

I can’t wait to take you guys along for the ride and share with you our experiences wherever we end up!

And I’ll end it this week with one of my favorite quotes from the young writer Erin Hanson:

“ ‘What if I fall?’ ‘Oh, but my darling what if you fly?’ “

Have a great week!

Are Your What Ifs Helping You Or Hurting You?

(Big Fat Takeaway)


This article written by

Caroline Zook

She/Her | Artist, designer + writer passionate about helping soulful creatives grow into their brightest selves. Lover of bright colors + even brighter people! One half of the crazy duo running these parts!

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