The What If question
What if money weren’t the problem?
Luigi was at an impasse. Living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, his salary was certainly not enough to move into an apartment, much less afford a single-family home. Part of his salary package with his work at a local church included an apartment. The apartment was located at the rear of the busy local church. That’s right. At the back of the building, with no external doors. To exit his apartment required walking through a communal space. The challenges a pastor faces were literally right outside his doorstep at every waking moment. His wife had begun to find this a less than ideal living solution.
As Luigi began to explore his options with a coach, only problems presented themselves. Finally, at the very end of a coaching session, Luigi got his One Question.
“What if money weren’t the problem?”
Luigi was working on the assumption that he could never afford a home in Milan. But unbeknownst to his coach, Luigi and his wife had a rental property in another country in Europe. While they were living there, property had been much more affordable. The One Question allowed Luigi to dare ask himself about that property. What if we sold it? What if we tried to purchase in Milan?
A quick inquiry to a real estate agent revealed that the housing market in this other location had recently exploded. His rental property was now equivalent value to a property in Milan.
Black Swan theory comes from the idea that at a certain point, Black Swans were considered an impossibility in England. Then a British explorer stumbled on some black swans “down under.” What was once thought impossible now was a reality. “What if?”, the permission to dream, the permission to inquire, these are the foundations of the impossible becoming possible. What if we put a man on the moon? What if we had a phone in our pocket? What if we put a heater in the car steering wheel?
Because “What if” questions are not commitments, they give us permission to try on a solution or persona without committing to it. For Luigi and his wife, simply giving themselves permission opened the door to the possibility of a simple solution to their housing situation. Simple did not mean inexpensive. Their decision was a life altering large sum of money. However, their One Question did what One Questions do. It brought a crystal clarity to what could have been a complicated decision.
One Questions are often “permission to dream” questions. Once we give ourselves permission to dream, it is amazing how the human mind can begin to find ways to make the impossible work. Our limitations are rarely completely as rigid as we think. Being willing to ask a “what if” can unlock someone who is stuck in their problems with no willingness to seriously consider the impossible. TO ACCOMPLISH THE IMPOSSIBLE IS SOMETIMES SIMPLY A MATTER O F CONSIDERING THE “WHAT IF?”
Luigi is now a home owner, and loves his new home. So does his wife. All because what was an unsolvable problem became a solution because they were willing to allow themselves to explore without the commitment. What if…