Life Design Coach and creator of The SELF Approach™

This is my corner of the web where I share unfiltered advice, practical tools, and laughter at life's sometimes fuckedupedness - all meant to help you live & love the absolute hell out of yourself and your life.

I'm Jen Vertanen

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Enough Reading, Start Doing: Turning Your ‘What Ifs’ into ‘Why Nots’

Joyful elderly woman with big blue sunglasses and yellow hat, smiling brightly, with text 'Turning Your ‘What Ifs’ into ‘Why Nots' by Life Design Coach Jen Vertanen against a pink background

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.

~ Henry Ford

Have you ever found yourself in a seemingly endless cycle of ‘what ifs’ (especially as you lay awake at night desperate for sleep) with a stack of mostly unread self-help books by your bedside collecting dust?

The books you bought with every intention to read and do the actual work needed to transform your life but right now you’re no closer to actualizing the life you dream of.

😳 What if I’d said yes?

😳 What if I’d said no?

😳 What if I hadn’t taken the promotion?

😳 What if I had the courage to ask for the promotion?

😳 What if I started the non-profit?

😳 What if I dared to leave him?

😳 What if we’d stopped at 2 kids? I love them but…

😳 What if I go for my dreams and I fail? Spectacularly?

😳 What if I DO change my life and it impacts my family and not in a good way? What if I regret it?

😳 What if I hadn’t listened to my mom and pursued what I really wanted to in college?

😳 So many ‘what ifs’…

If so, you are NOT alone. It’s also not too late to turn those ‘what ifs’ into ‘why nots’ and also?

It’s not hiding in the pages of a self-help book.

This journey to creating your vibrant second half requires a vision unique to YOU brought to life through courageous, intentional, and purposeful action that only YOU can do.

Transforming your ‘what ifs’ into ‘why nots’ is available to you and the only question that remains is…when are YOU going to get started?



The ‘What if’ trap

‘What ifs’ usually stem from fear…fear of change, fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear of the unknown and it’s no wonder when we look at things like:

  • the unique characteristics of Gen X (the first generation raised being told we can “have it all” and trailblazing beyond traditional molds)
  • the stage of life we’re in – juggling kids, careers, aging parents – let alone our personal growth and fulfillment
  • society’s general life fuckery and expectations

No wonder our comfort comes in the form of status quo and reliable self-help books that become crutches if we’re not careful.

No wonder when we have decades of self-imposed limitations leading to doubting our ability to change our lives or succeed in new adventures.

It’s comfortable to focus on the ‘what ifs’ instead of paving the way for ‘why nots’.

This thing is..we don’t need theory…we need motherlovin’ action to turn those ‘what ifs’ into ‘why nots’.

The lure of self-help books especially for Gen X women

Being the first generation raised being told we could “have it all” AND having to be trailblazers with very few role models, it’s no wonder we find ourselves with a deep desire for change (more fulfillment, meaning, purpose, joy, happiness, etc.) making self-help books highly appealing.

We’re at a life stage FULL of transitions whether it’s dealing with teenage children, becoming empty-nesters, thinking about post-career life, or caring for aging parents…

…our lives are FULL and self-help books can offer us guidance, a sense of direction, and inspiration because if it worked for the author…surely it can work for me.

Self-help books aren’t good, bad, right, or wrong…I have a gazillion myself and refer to them often!

They provide a risk-free way to explore new ideas, concepts, and perspectives without the immediate pressure to DO anything, and for those who fear change, they provide a super safe way to dream and stay in ‘what if’.

Reading self-help books gives the illusion of progress…of doing the work when all you’ve done is…read.

And therein lies the problem.

The lack of action. The compounding of ‘what ifs’. The staying in the realm of possibility instead of moving to the world of intentionally creating your life.

Shifting from reading to doing; turning your ‘what ifs’ into ‘why nots’

You’re reading this which tells me you’re ready to do the work to create a life you love the hell out of which means it’s time to shift your mindset from one of hesitation to one of possibility.

It’s time to explore, take risks, and bust free from your self-imposed limitations whether it’s beliefs, mindset, stories, habits, etc. that no longer serve you.

You do hard things all the time. It’s time to acknowledge the fear – the fear is VERY real – and act instead to move yourself closer and closer to your life’s vision.

Turning the pages and absorbing ideas aren’t going to get you where you want to go…you have to do the work because transformation requires action.

1. Action over contemplation

Books are just the starting point. Take what you’ve learned and put it into practice.

Experiment, play, reflect, fine-tune…it all counts. Be consistently devoted to taking action no matter how big or small.

They all matter and will lead to the transformation you’ve been craving for possibly decades.

2. Real-world experiences

Life’s best lessons are learned through experiences. Find and engage in activities that are in line with your values and desires. Think about something you’ve always wanted to try.

Try a possible new hobby. Take a course. Volunteer. Join a meet-up. Call up an old friend. Go to marriage counseling.

You literally don’t know until you try.

Try something and it doesn’t give you quite what you wanted? It’s not a failure but a step closer to something that will because at least you took action!

Adopt a mantra of, “What not?!?” and repeat it often.

3. Build your support network

Change is hard and doing it all on your own is hard. I know…I tried and I don’t recommend it.

Have brave conversations with your BFF or spouse and tell them how they can best support you. Join a support group. Hire a coach (hi 👋🏼 I’m a coach). Find an online forum full of like-minded people who value living their most unapologetic lives.

Find people that can lovingly hold you while you push yourself outside your comfort zone.

Support matters. We’re not meant to do life alone.

I KNOW you pride yourself on being strong and independent.

I do too. But support is non-negotiable.

There is strength in asking for what you need and guess what? A side benefit – it gives others permission to do the same – and now YOU get to help someone else on their own personal journey.

Beautiful.

4. Pause to reflect

Reflection is crucial…non-negotiable. It helps keep you on the path of living into your life’s fulfillment, meaning, happiness, contentment, experiences, vitality, etc.

Pause to check-in and see how you’re doing. Is there anything you want to STOP doing? START doing? KEEP doing?

Celebrate your victories no matter how teeny tiny or grandiose. IT ALL MATTERS.

Pivot. Course-correct. Experiment. Play.

Have fun. Enjoy the journey. This is your one precious life…make it count and live the hell out of it.

Wrapping it up with a bow – get out there and DO!

It’s time to move from the passive – reading self-help books without taking action and staying in the trap of ‘what ifs’ and move into doing.

Use your life experiences and hard-won wisdom to intentionally create this next half full of meaningful change.

Be the woman who lives a life she loves the hell out of.

YOU get to be the creator of your life and it’s not hiding in the pages of the latest self-help book (though fun to read!) or in the land of ‘what ifs’ but in asking ‘why not?’ and taking action.

You are holding the pen in the book of YOU. Get to writing that next exciting chapter.

I help Gen X women create their vibrant and unapologetic second halves in record time. If you want to get there faster, explore ways we can work together. I’d love to be part of your support network!

Hey there!

I'm a magical mix of coach, perspective-shifting mentor, hair-holder, consultant, wing woman, get shit done'r, silver lining finder, & slightly annoying cheerleader

I'm Jen Vertanen, Make Shit Happen Coach + creator of The Fuck Yeah Methodology

I used to roll my eyes at the notion of self love and loving my life because it felt so far outside the realm of possibilities. I thought both were saved for those who'd escaped childhood unscathed.

But a perfect storm in 2015 had me wake TF up and heal my childhood ish. Along the way, I started to not only love but LIKE myself and I stopped wanting to escape from my life and instead, intentionally create my exciting future. That's saying a lot when you read my stories!

And now? I get to help women all around the world fall in love with themselves, their lives, and create the future THEY want. How cool is that?!?

Make Shit Happen coaching to help you bring your Big Ass Goals w/Soul (BAGS) to life and live your Fuck Yeah. Life doesn't wait. Give your fucks wisely & live your life fully.

© 2024 Jen Vertanen + A Fuck Yeah Life

An ADHD &  LGBTQ+  woman owned business