The difference between “If” and “Since” may not be as big as you think.

“If you knew what you were doing.”

I sometimes start lists to myself that way. It’s a way of breaking through some barriers I feel about competence. I tell myself what I’d do if I were competent, and then I do that.

I’m guessing that you know that feeling. (You being most of the people reading these words. (You, however, over there? You already believe you know what you are doing. Or think you do. So you can safely ignore this post.))

Monday morning, I thought about writing a list for the next few days starting that way. I’ve said “yes” to several awesome projects between now and the end of April. Now I need to do the work.

“If you knew what you were doing, you would do this and write that and start there.”

And then I thought, “Since.”

“Since you know what you are doing.”

Because here’s the thing. You and I actually do know how to do many of the things in front of us. Or at least we know how to start them. Or at least we know who to ask.

  • How to sit with someone whose loved one is dying.
  • How to write some helpful essays.
  • How to teach a class.
  • How to pick up a couple extra shifts.

That’s on my to-do list. I know how to do those things. Or at least I have done them in the past. (You can write your own list of the things.)

That said, what I also know is that to finish my list, I need to not do some other things. So I’m going to breathe and then not write much here for the next couple weeks.

Because you might need a breath, too.


The picture? That’s Ben, looking for cats under the bed. Because he knows what he’s doing.