A lot of people ask me where the question “What if it’s easy?” came from. Is it the result of years of mind-body training? Did they teach it in coaching school? Did you learn it in acting classes, on the set of Guiding Light or One Life to Live, or on one of your adventures on Kilimanjaro or Macchu Picchu?
The funny thing is, it was none of those things. It was actually an accident.
It was on a sunny afternoon in Los Angeles. My husband Stephen and I were sitting in a hot rental car on Sunset Boulevard, that famous place where dreams come true…or come crashing down. And that’s what it felt like that day, as we sat there soaking in the terrible news.
He’d flown out from New York City for a meeting with his boss, and we’d been hoping for something good—a promotion, a raise, a new project. But instead, he’d been fired.
And he was devastated.
Looking at him, I saw something I hadn’t seen before from my ambitious, confident, and (until that moment) successful husband. I saw panic.
Our daughter, Kaya, was six months old. We relied on Stephen’s income. I had transitioned from my career as a soap opera star to live out another of my dreams as a life coach. But I was newly certified, which meant I wasn’t making money yet. We had both experienced fame and success in an industry where such things are insanely hard to come by—but now, we were broke.
Did I mention we had a six-month-old?
“What are we gonna do?” he kept saying. “How are we going to make money?”
The gig he’d been fired from was a “first-look deal,” which, in the TV industry, is where they pay you to generate story ideas. A lot of people crumble under such intense pressure to be creative, but Stephen thrived. He can see stories and plotlines where other people see chaos. But that day, sitting there in the sweltering car, he only saw failure.
My heart broke for him. I felt panicky too, but the situation wouldn’t allow both of us to panic. I took a deep breath. I was a newly minted life coach—I could handle this.
“It’s going to be okay,” I said. “We’ll figure something out.”
I could almost hear his eye roll, but I persisted.
“Maybe you can go back to writing scripts. I’ll get a job. We’ll be fine, I promise.”
“I’m screwed,” he said, holding his head in his hands, the universal gesture of Oh, shit. “This business is impossible. How do you make any money in the entertainment industry, let alone a million dollars?”
It may sound crazy, but for as long as I’ve known him, Stephen has held this deep-seated belief that to survive, he had to make a million dollars. Maybe it was his family history. Maybe it was the artist in him, afraid he would never work again.
Whatever the cause, it was the benchmark he'd set for himself, and it was nonnegotiable.
“It’s impossible to make a million dollars in this business,” he repeated.
“Well, someone’s done it,” I said, “so it can’t be impossible.”
“They must be lucky.” He let out a heavy sigh. “There’s just no way.”
We’d had similar conversations before. But this time was different. This time, one little question changed everything.
Sonia, I told myself. You’ve been here before. You know what it’s like to feel like a failure – and you know how to turn it around. Do something!
“It’s just so freaking hard,” Stephen said.
“Well, what if it wasn’t?” I blurted out. “What if it was easy?”
At first, he didn’t respond. He just looked at me like I was an alien.
“What?” he said. “It’s not. How could you even ask that? You know it’s not even close to easy.”
“But what if it was? What would you do?”
Then he did something unexpected: he started to laugh. I don’t know if it was out of sheer overwhelm, or the ridiculousness of the question, or what. But in that moment, the car felt a little less hot, and the panic eased up, just a little.
And in that tiny break from the pressure and heat, I could almost see Stephen’s mind open up, just enough to let in this radical new possibility. He actually tried it on for size instead of dismissing it.
After a minute, the answer came.
“If it was easy, I’d start my own company,” he said, sitting up straighter.
My eyebrows shot up. This was different than anything we’d ever talked about. In light of that answer, the whole energy in the car changed. His body language returned to that of confident man I knew. In his voice there was a sense of possibility.
And that, I could work with.
“What would that look like?” I said. “How is that done?”
“Well, I’d call up Mike and see if he wants in,” he said. “Then I’d, I don’t know. Form an LLC. Start pitching.”
In that strange, in-between place of lightness and seriousness, Stephen and I talked through the logistics. It was all hypothetical, but it was also pragmatic—down to the last detail. If he was going to start a company, what steps would he take? What did he already have going for him? What could he do today to get started?
I kept the questions coming, and with them came more answers. To his surprise, he already had so much of them in his mind, waiting to be set free.
Stephen moves pretty fast. The next day, he called up a partner. Within weeks, he’d started a TV production company. Within a year, he hit his mark: he made one million dollars.
That was the first time I stumbled upon this question. Just four little words, which I blurted out in response to “it’s hard.” And they changed everything. Our entire life, the life our children would know, everything changed with those words.
Since then, I’ve used the question a hundred times: with friends, family, clients, my kids, my employees, with Stephen, and yes, myself. Each time—whenever the person answers sincerely and truthfully—it has that same uncanny effect, that almost tangible shift in energy we experienced that day in the car.
But why? What is it about this question that makes it so powerful?
A lot of people, when they first hear it, think that it’s about pretending things are easy. They assume it’s just about ignoring those heavy beliefs like I can’t do that, it’s too hard or even worse, That’s impossible. They think this question is a free pass, permission to skip along pretending that nothing bugs them.
Let’s squash that idea right now. That’s not what this is about.
This question isn’t about being Pollyanna. I'm not telling you that everything is a piece of cake and that you’ll never suffer or struggle or want to strangle somebody. That's called denial, and it won’t help.
Denial doesn’t get you a million-dollar production company. It doesn’t get you a new career or a new relationship or an Oscar-winning role or whatever your dream may be.
But stepping into a new perspective does. It opens the door to all that, and more.
That’s why this question is so powerful: it shifts your perspective away from the barriers and toward the destination. In other words…
When I asked Stephen “What if it was easy? What would you do?” he answered right away – and his answer came straight from his core. From his true self. From his innermost, most Stephen-esque desires and talents and wisdom and dreams.
It cut past all the clutter. All that nasty stuff that had accumulated in his mindset like boxes in an attic. He didn’t get all bogged down in the limiting beliefs, the self-doubt, the tendency to focus on what can go wrong.
The question cut straight to what he really, truly wanted.
This is an important truth: that you have all the answers you need within you now.
Yes, you. Even if you think you don’t. (I know – most people’s kneejerk response is I don’t know or No, I don’t.) The answers are there, waiting to guide you toward your best, happiest, strongest self. At any given moment, no matter where you are in life, you know what you need. You know what is right for you.
Yet so many people are walking around dissatisfied and restless, pursuing goals that don’t speak to their heart. They’re spinning their wheels in a career they don’t like, angling for a promotion they only think they want. They’re resigned to a relationship that’s not uplifting or supporting them. They’ve made the “practical” or “realistic” decision, not the one that would light them up.
In other words, they’re stuck.
So many people today are stuck because they’re not listening to their innermost self. They’re listening to the trillions of other messages coming to them – from their parents, spouses, kids, friends, frenemies, social media, the media. And those messages (sometimes even the ones that sound positive) crowd out the airwaves, drowning their inner wisdom in noise.
Yet that innermost self (or whatever you want to call it – your core, your gut, your heart, your soul) has every answer that you need. It is a guide to your highest, most fulfilled, most sparklingly brilliant life.
All you need to do is listen to it.
No matter how buried your inner voice is, no matter how long it’s been since you last heard it – it is there.
And it’s dying to talk to you. To guide you. To point you in the direction that’s right for you. That is what’s going to get you unstuck.
That’s what all my work as a coach, speaker, and human being is about. To help people access their core. To help them clear away the clutter and connect with their true selves.
Why? Because when people start living according to their true selves, something magical happens.
They discover talents they didn’t know they had. They find a deep sense of inner peace that cannot be shaken. They uncover the path that’s right for them. They start making changes in their lives -some big, some small – that energize them, inspire them, amaze them.
What used to stress them out starts to fall away. They begin to astound themselves with what they’re capable of. And they begin to live lives that radiate fun, purpose, and happiness.
You know what?
That’s possible for you.
“What if it’s easy?” is one super powerful way to help you tap into your core. It helps you see what you really, truly want. It opens up the door for you to say what you would do in a world without barriers. Instead of seeing roadblocks, this question helps you see your destination.
Here are some answers I’ve heard in the past:
All of these answers were accompanied by a feeling of fizzy, effervescent lightness. As each person said it, I watched their face light up, their body language loosen, their posture straighten. Each person became energized from within. And you know what?
Each person then went on to do those things. If you met them now, you’d see three happy, fulfilled, radiant individuals – one living in her happy place on an island, one running a successful business, and one blissfully married (after she thought she’d never date again).
All because of one simple question.
If you’re here reading this, I’m guessing you want something more out of life. I’m betting that there’s something meaningful that you want, that on some level you feel called to do. You know you’re capable of more. You don’t want life to be just the same old – you want it to be extraordinary.
Maybe you already have a goal you’re working on. Or maybe you’re afraid to start. Or maybe you have no idea, you just know there’s something out there for you.
I ask you: What if it was easy? What would you do?
You can apply this question to your life in general, or you can apply it to a specific situation.
If you know what you want, but aren’t sure how to get there:
What if it’s easy?
If you’re not sure what you want, but you have an inkling your life can be better than it is:
What if it’s easy?
I invite you to let your mind open, to be receptive to whatever comes up. Don’t force any answers; just let them arise. Try not to censor or judge yourself. You might be surprised by an answer you get, or it might sound perfectly familiar.
Whatever comes up, just honor it.
That’s your core talking to you.
Now I have a follow-up question:
If you were to listen to that answer, what’s one small step you could take in that direction?
Even if it’s something small, like get more information? (Actually, that can be huge. A LOT of the time, what we need most is more information.)
Will you take that step?
Will you go for what you want?
What if it’s easy? is one of my favorite questions of all time, and I invite you to use it as much you as want. Play around with it! Have fun. See where it takes you.
I’ll talk more about other life-changing mindset tools, why they work, and how to use them – so stay in touch! Sign up for my newsletter and be sure to find me on social media so you don’t miss out on more powerful questions, ways to shift perspective, and fun, easy-to-use strategies for stepping into the life you were born for.
I’m cheering for you.
Go out and shine.
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