Wide-Eyed and Wondering

That guy you’ve been flirting with finally asked you out. Booyah!  That promotion you worked so hard to get is now yours.
Nailed it! 

So after you’re done with the obligatory happy dance and calling all your friends with the awesome news, out of the corner of your eye, you catch a glimpse of uncertainty sitting smugly at the corner table, sipping on some tea and graciously pulling out a chair for you to take a seat.  

Uh oh…I hope this (the date, the job, etc.) turns out well.  And now the joy you were feeling has been hijacked by the uncertainty of hope. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I have nothing against hope.  But hope can be a bit of a trickster if you’re not careful.  I always say that hope is merely worry decked out in her Sunday finest. To the outside world she looks like she’s got her act together, but inside, there’s a bit of fearful hand-wringing going on with a dash of false bravado.

So, rather than hoping, I encourage you to look at the situation from a different perspective.
This summer I will be moving across the country to my new home in California. I don’t know how my cross-country trip is going to turn out, but rather than saying I hope my drive out to California goes well or I hope I find the right home, I prefer to step into the world of wonder.
When I feel fear or uncertainty trying to creep in, I stand back and ask myself, Gee, I wonder how that road trip is going to go?  Hmm, I wonder what my new home is going to look like?

This simple shift opens up endless possibilities for my mind to go play in wonderland.  

I recently had a client tell me she was feeling a little nervous about an upcoming trip to visit her boyfriend’s extended family.  When I asked her to elaborate a bit more on the discomfort she was feeling, she replied, “I hope they like me.”  Ding, ding, ding.  And there it was.  She said the secret word – hope.  That was my cue to guide her into the world of wondering rather than hoping.  

I had her tell me what she hoped would happen on this particular trip.  She told me…

I hope this trip goes well. 
I hope his daughter likes me.  
I hope they accept me.

I then had her come up with several I wonder questions:

I wonder how this trip is going to turn out?
I wonder how my meeting with his daughter is going to go?
I wonder how much fun I’m going to have meeting his family?

A smile swept across her face as she closed her eyes and visibly relaxed.  In less than a minute, all the worry she was carrying around was gone.

You see, hope creates fear around uncertainty whereas when you chose to wonder, there are no expectations or opportunities for disappointments to bum you out.  You now have curiosity on your side.   And as an added bonus, there’s no pressure because hey, you’re just wondering. Easy-peasy.

So the next time you’re hoping for something to turn out well, be like a kid who’s been handed a beautifully wrapped gift; shake the box around a bit if you must, but let your imagination take you to all the marvelous possibilities of what might be inside, by simply asking yourself, I wonder …?

In the comments below tell me your experience with turning hope into wonder.