What If You Were Wrong?

The Song

The first and only time I heard the song was at my friend’s home in April 1975.  Well, ‘only time’ meant I played the song about 10 times that day.  It was on an LP (long-playing vinyl record album) which I tried, without success, to find so I could add it to my own collection.

I recently discovered why all my efforts to locate this album, which should now be available as a CD were futile.  I discovered why no record store in Jamaica had the LP back then. You see, I knew, beyond reasonable doubt, that the song was on an album by Aretha Franklin, so why couldn’t I find the album or CD with the song I fell in love with that day? Over the years I forgot about trying to acquire the album, but from time to time the song would come to mind. I did not think of doing a search on the Internet until today.    As I searched through songs by Aretha Franklin, I still could not find it. I thought: “This is ridiculous!”

Now I understood why no one knew what I was talking about. Not once did it occur to me to ask myself, “What if you were wrong?” “What if you were wrong about who the singer was?”

Then I typed into Google what I hoped was the title and there it was – Getting Ready for the Heartbreak.  For 43 years I held on to the belief that the song was by Aretha. It was actually sung by Dionne Warwick! Now I understood why no one knew what I was talking about. Not once did it occur to me to ask myself, “What if you were wrong?” “What if you were wrong about who the singer was?” Too much time has passed, and the memories have become blurry, but loving the music of Motown, and similar styles as we did back then, we were probably playing albums by several artists. For some reason, I attributed that song to the wrong singer.

This made me reflect on another belief I carried with me almost all my life.  The belief that my mother wanted me to be perfect and I could never measure up to her high standards.

My Mother

I was my mother’s only child and the only child of my parent’s marriage.  My father had four older children from another union.  My brother, who was closest to me in age, was seven years older and he lived with us until he was 12 years old and I was five. My parents loved me and I loved them both, yet I always felt my father understood me better than my mother ever did. I could talk with him about a lot more than I felt comfortable talking about with her. Perhaps because of her very strict upbringing, as well as the fact that she was 42 years old when she had me there always seemed to be a gap.

Even though my mother was my primary disciplinarian, she was also my teacher long before I set foot in a classroom at 2 years and 9 months.  She instilled in me scriptural values and values for living.

My parents were just above ‘poor’ because my father had a job for many years in the Banana Industry until I was 16 years old. However, they managed to send me to one of the best girls’ boarding school in the country.

The Problem

At some point, I began to believe my mother expected perfection, and I felt I could never achieve it.  Thus, I made the conscious decision that as I entered the workforce, I would give 110% to every job.

For as far back as I can recall, regardless of how well I did in school, I never heard, “Very good” or “Well done.”  Instead, my mother’s comment always was, “Well, let your good be better, and your better best!” At some point, I began to believe my mother expected perfection, and I felt I could never achieve it.  Thus, I made the conscious decision that as I entered the workforce, I would give 110% to every job. By doing that, I assumed I’d get the praise and recognition for doing a good job. It paid off. The promotions, accolades, and awards did come.  At 18 years of age, I was promoted to Secretary to the Branch Manager of an international bank!

All of the approval and confirmation that I did great work came to a screeching halt when I started my online business.  Programs were created that could have changed lives, but I did not release them because I did not believe they were good enough. It would take about five years in my journey as an Online Business Owner to be helped to get over my desire for perfection so that I now embrace the mindset – “Better done than perfect.”

The Question

A few months ago, I was sharing my story with a coaching partner when he asked THE question.

“What if you were wrong?” Huh? Wrong? How could I be wrong? I lived it!

He quietly waited until I got over myself then asked, “What if your mother was not expecting perfection? What if she just wanted you to do your best and not be like everyone around you? What if she realized what you were capable of and wanted you to maintain a high standard?”

My head began reeling and over the next few days, as I reflected on different situations, I could not help thinking that those were possibilities. From a young age during the summer holidays, she’d take me into the capital to places of culture, always pointing out significant places of history wherever we went (much to my irritation). Reading to me and teaching me to read fluently by the time I was 3 years old. Her refusal to accept my father’s thought that I should become a hairdresser or a dressmaker (occupations only – not as a professional) and instead insisted that I got excellent schooling.  Reminding me of when I was 5 feet 8 inches tall at 12 years old to always walk tall and be proud of my height and proud of who I was. Teaching me memory gems from the Bible and other famous quotations that I could recall when faced with challenges!

So many areas of my life that now stood out.

My mother was a beautiful woman but I don’t think she was ever told that when growing up.  She was raised by her paternal grandmother in a household with no other young person, and where she was expected, from nine years old, to be on her best behavior.  She grew up in a household where education was stressed, and there was a degree of wealth, but very little outward show of love. As my coaching partner wisely observed, her words were probably her way of showing me she loved me even though she did not verbalize it often.

I wish as an adult I had asked her.

Your Beliefs

Many people fail to achieve success and discover their greatness because they embrace certain beliefs that hold them back. My favorite client is a highly motivated professional or entrepreneur 50 and Wiser. I literally cringe whenever I hear a woman of this age say, “It’s too late for me to…” or “I’m too old to…”

What if you are wrong?

It’s never too late to find fulfillment in what you want to do or to stop dreaming.  It’s more important to take action and make those dreams a reality.

You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.

~ C.S. Lewis

Another: “I could never write a book because my teacher told me I did not have the gift to write.”  How many years ago was that?  Are you prepared to let the words of someone who long forgot she or he ever said them to you shape your entire life?  Would you not rather prove to yourself that you can do it, thereby rebuilding any self-confidence you lost?

Another is, “I could never compete in a world with so many people younger than I am.”  Great! Don’t worry about competing with anyone but yourself.  This is your life and your business.   You are responsible for your successes.  Others can help and support you, but they cannot do it for you.

I  am in no way minimizing serious trauma in someone’s life that may have had a negative impact on  them. There is a place for that. However, the next time a limiting belief comes up, stop and ask yourself about the source of that belief.  Do you find yourself blaming someone for your thinking or way you see life?  Ask yourself, ”What if I’m wrong”?


Yvonne A. Jones
Yvonne A. Jones
YVONNE is a Personal Business Coach | Relationship Marketing Strategist| Amazon Best-Selling Author| International Speaker. She is the Founder of the 50 and Wiser Community on Facebook – a Group of women who want to DO more, GIVE more, and BE more. As a certified Strategy and Accountability Coach, she helps Entrepreneurs, Coaches, Consultants, and Small Business Owners eliminate limiting beliefs, create a business they love, and have fun doing so. Her favorite client is a highly-motivated woman 50 and Wiser who has been in business for approximately one year and is ready to empower herself and move to the next level. Yvonne’s background is in banking, Human Resources, administration, and Customer Service. At 52 years she handed in her resignation and walked away from Corporate America to start her own business full-time. She has experienced the joys and challenges of owning multiple businesses. She was listed on as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter” and on “One of the Top 15 Most Influential Customer Service Experts to Follow on Twitter.” Despite the recognition and promotions received while in corporate life in Jamaica and America, she now considers herself “unemployable” due to her love of being her own boss and inspiring others to pursue their passion and dreams. Yvonne’s mantra: “Focus on relationships; the money will follow.”

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  1. As I go back and write the stories of my life on the farm and talk to family I find that I missed a lot. Now I only have my childhood memories all of my family are gone. All I have are my stories. Reading your story again really touched my heart even more. I write so they want be forgotten yet am I wrong? I guess in the end we do the best we can with who we are. Thank you again for sharing your gift of storytelling with us

  2. Excellent thank you Yvonne. The stories we tell ourselves can be very different at source. I recently asked my Dad, who is “big” on education, why he’d not encouraged his children to go to Uni and to my amazement he explained, my mother had told him “this was one decision he wasn’t making in his own”. As an overachiever ( dad) she said to him I don’t want that for my children. Let them make their own choices without pressure from you, based on your measure of success. I was staggered to learn it was my mums decision and while I have no regrets about that, I told him I was surprised he’d accepted her decision so easily; to which he replied, because she was ordinarily so easy going and she felt so strongly about this, I knew it really mattered to her and so I was happy to support her especially when she said; trust me if they want it they will choose it in their own time. We all chose vocational paths early on and yet all went on to Uni much later of our own accord… she was right!

    • Dee, Your mother sounded like a very wise woman, and what’s more is that your father understood her well and knew when to listen to her advice. You’re finding out about something that affected you and your siblings years ago, yet the results were just as your mother said – you all attended University later in life at your own pace. Who knows? Had she not said those words to your father, the results could have been very different, and not necessarily for good. Yes, we’re great at telling ourselves stories that may not necessarily empower us. Important to find the source and meaning. Thank you for your fantastic comment.

  3. Yvonne, your storytelling gift coupled with your gift of writing has created another awesome article that touched me in so many ways. “What if I am wrong” is such a profound question to ask ourselves and one that many may find threatening until they grow into it. Thanks for starting that journey with your article.

    • The phrase you used about growing into it is profound. So many times we’re afraid to ask ourselves searching questions, almost as if we’re afraid to hear the answers, but this is something we must continue to do as it’s the only way to acknowledge what’s the truth within ourselves and seek help from others. Thank you, Kat.

  4. It is never too late to follow your passions in life! My mother has been my biggest supporter and my biggest critic. She has always taught me the power of being honest. In a world full of people amazed at what you can do, I always appreciate the ones that can challenge you to do better. The strongest of relationships in life are the ones that you can be completely honest and know that no matter what you do, that person will always be there for you. Loved this piece!

    • Honesty is an essential ingredient in any type of relationship. As you wisely noted that when it’s coupled with love, it forms the basis of a really strong relationship. Humility is also essential to willingly accept the counsel. You brought a new dimension to the article with your comment. Thank you, Raissa.

    • Thank you for your comment, Emma. Yes, it’s important to lay the right foundation with the ultimate goal of giving thanks.

  5. Hi Yvonne,
    You really have an awesome storytelling gift and what you shared truly resonated with me.

    For years I wondered why my mother could never tell me or my 2 brothers that she loved us or even give us a hug.

    This inpacted on me far more than I initially realized in many ways. It was only when on her 85th birthday that she actually told us boys that she loved us but thought she never had to say the words as her actions showed that she cared for us. And she did but we would still have loved a hug!

    Thats probably why in my family I go over the top and tell every one every day I love them and make sure a day never passes with a big hug for every one of them.

    • That was a sad experience for you and your brothers, but am so glad you got to hear it from your mom before she passed away that she really loved you all.

      Your outcome confirms that situations in life can paralyze us or empower us. You used your experience to empower yourself to give more love and assurance to your family so there’s no doubt in their minds how you feel about them.

      Thank you, Peter, for sharing your story.

    • Kerrie-Ann, Your comment gave me a chuckle. We don’t often think we need to get over ourselves, do we? Yet, that awareness allows us to open up to a new thought process as well as appreciation for what’s possible. I hope you’re able to arrive at empowering answers. Thank you for adding to the conversation.

  6. Changing our limiting beliefs is not easy. Limiting beliefs, like many of our mind’s traps, carry out a precise task: they give us security, make us feel at ease.
    I’m not a psychologist but I think a system that can work is as follows:
    Become aware of your limiting beliefs. In any journey of personal change and growth, awareness is the first step. To identify our limiting beliefs it is sufficient to observe our thoughts.
    Reframing our limiting beliefs to the contrary.
    Look for confirmations for new beliefs, endeavoring to look for evidence of their existence. Giving concreteness to the new convictions, we will begin to think that in the end they are not so unrealistic, but above all, we will dismantle, one brick at a time, the old convictions.

    • That is a simply beautiful breakdown of how someone who becomes aware that they are allowing certain beliefs to limit their success can overcome them. I really like the steps you outlined: awareness, reframing, replacing, and dismantling/discarding the old beliefs. Easy? Not always. But it can be done. Thank you for your contribution.

  7. Each morning we start the day with a blank canvas and we get to choose if we will paint our day with brilliant and vibrant colors or will we chose the gray tones or sepia colors. Both are beautiful yet we will make a choice. Great article. You are a gifted storyteller.

    • Larry, you made my day! Over the past few days as I read your stories, that has been my conclusion of you. You are a great storyteller! To read that from you is highly appreciated. The imagery in your comment is profound. Thank you.