I think we’re all familiar with the abbreviation “WTF” and what it stands for, including the swear word at the end. Like any other combination of letters, it can mean any number of things you want to change it to. I was listening to an episode of the No Quit Living Podcast featuring former Major League Baseball player Shea Hillenbrand. He used “WTF” in two very unique ways, and I immediately thought of some other things it could stand for. So that’s today’s topic – ways to twist “WTF” into something you can use.

Weary, Tired, Frustrated – This was the first one Hillenbrand used. He was weary from the game of baseball, tired of the grind, and frustrated that he didn’t find the sense of fulfillment he was searching for. He was so frustrated that even though he was in the prime of his career, making millions of dollars, he quit so he could pursue his other lifelong dream of owning a zoo. He realized that dream as well, but it ended in disaster, with him losing the zoo, being bankrupt, and living out of a van for a brief period of time.

Want To Finish – this was one that popped into my head. Most people at least make an attempt to set goals, usually at the beginning of the year. I set yearly goals on my birthday in February. Maybe you start out with a large initiative or dream and you set goals to get from beginning to end. Whatever the setup, how do you respond when something terrible happens along the way? Sometimes circumstances, or even other people, throw roadblocks in your way. They could be simple inconveniences or major, threatening obstacles. You can call on this “WTF” to continue forward. What was the ultimate goal? Isn’t it still worth it? How much better will things be if you push through and finish?

Where’s The Freedom? – This was Hillenbrand’s other new use. Some people feel trapped in the life they are living, and all their effort they have put into the life they have is not giving them the life they truly desire. You can find yourself in this situation of you started with unrealistic or misplaced expectations, such as “This will make lots of money, and with lots of money, I’ll be happy” (not necessarily). This is a hard spot to be in, and is a time for some soul-searching, and crafting a plan to go forward and not stay stuck. Like a lot of other tough times, it’s a good time to go back to your “why” for what you do for a living or are hoping to accomplish.

Where’s The Friendship? – Another one that came to my mind. I wrote a bunch last week about the toxic environment we have now, especially in the online world. People rush to judgment and quickly assume the worst possible motives of everyone they disagree with. How do we change that? Be a friend to people. Christopher J. Wirth, the podcaster that does No Quit Living, will sometimes make up small cards with encouraging or inspirational words and quotes. He’ll make a pile of them, then go to a parking lot and put them on the windshields of the parked cars. He leaves no identifying information. The idea is to simply give someone something encouraging or inspiring without expecting something back.

Will To Fight – This might be my favorite random thought ever. Hillenbrand talked about men who get in whatever version of “WTF” they are in, trying to distract themselves with “booze and boobs” which I think is obvious enough to require no further explanation. But whatever you do for a living, you can – and probably will – find yourself in a spot where things are going badly. At these times, you can employ this version of “WTF.” How do you stir up this will to fight? Go back to your “why” that explains your reasoning for doing what you do. What do you hope to accomplish? Is it worth fighting for? Channel that inspiration once again to move forward. Summon all your determination – as I mentioned in an earlier post, if you have a stubborn streak, use it to create the determination to fight for what you want and need to do. 

Hillenbrand said that people in the “WTF” position often use what he called “the 3 S’s” – sabotage, settle, or start over. Hillenbrand did all three – he gave up his baseball career, went to a second career, and ended up with nothing. Rather than go any of these routes, you should examine your particular “WTF” state and take the steps to get things moving again.