“What If? What and If Are Two Words That Are as Non-threatening as Words Can Be”

“But Put Them Together Side by Side, and They Have the Power to Haunt You for the Rest of Your Life.” (Letters to Juliet)

Photo by Marcel Heil on Unsplash

In the film Letters to Juliet, the character Sophie becomes mesmerised by the wall of letters in Juliet Capulet’s Courtyard, where people come from all over the world to write their burning question about their romantic dilemma, which is answered diligently by the secretaries of Juliet.

Behind a brick in the wall, Sophie finds an unanswered letter written fifty years ago by a 16-year-old English girl called Claire who had fallen in love with a young Italian boy named Lorenzo, Claire’s parents were taking her back to England, and away from her Lorenzo, she wrote to Juliet asking her advice on what to do.

Sophie writes to Claire and poses the question, ‘What If? The letter resonates with Claire and brings her back to Italy fifty years later in search of her Lorenzo, and both women are swept along in a romantic venture that neither could ever have imagined.

Sophie’s letter began: “What If?’ What and If are two words that are as non-threatening as words can be, but put them together side by side, and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.”

It’s a question I pose to my clients when they’re considering a change in their current circumstances to allow them to move away from a career that is uninspiring and de-motivating for them, to follow a WorkLife path that will enable them to be more fulfilled and energised in their work and their life.

In essence, they’re looking for their Lorenzo. Some will know what the Lorenzo of their WorkLife is, while others will discover it along the way.

Either way, in a similar way to Claire, they will need the courage to follow their heart and, metaphorically speaking, cross oceans to achieve their dreams. While they don’t always know where their story will end, the important thing is to know that it’s never too late to be true to themselves in their quest for happiness in their WorkLife.

I leave you today with just one question: What is the Lorenzo of your WorkLife and happiness?

The reviews I write are my way of reflecting on cultural experiences to include performing and visual arts that touched my heart and my mind and making sense of them in the context of learning and development in both the workplace and community.

I first shared this story many years ago on my original, now-defunct blog: Evolving Careers. I’m sharing it again because I believe it’s as relevant today, and it was all those years ago.

The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories, I share my own experiences, and with permission, stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of www.schoolofworklife.com My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.