“Choices are the things of destiny” – Edwin Markham
It was Mothering Sunday here in the UK and I had a couple of days with my lovely Laura doing not a lot really. Funny isn’t it that when we have a space the decision of what to fill it with can feel quite confusing. The decision of ‘to Do’ or ‘to Be’ looms large when you can’t think of anywhere to go that won’t be cold or crowded, and is it even necessary to join the throngs anyway? Isn’t being together wherever you are enough without buying into the commercial hullabaloo?
Every moment of our lives gives us an infinite choice of variables Click To Tweet
and yet because of the way we’ve been raised and conditioned most of us behave in predictable, repetitive routines, like we’re traveling the same road, grinding a deeper and deeper rut over and over – I suppose you could call it following the path of least resistance and that’s where the difficulties lie – do we step out of our norm and dip our toes into the rivers of the unknown or do we stay put and vegetate?
Decisions, decisions … some are easy – very black and white – like if a bus is hurtling towards you, you’re going to move pretty quickly and instinctively. It’s when we have time and alternatives that lack of trust and paralysis creeps in.
I’m a bit of a split personality where decisions are concerned – either quick as a flash, calm as you like, think of it and it’s done, with the ensuing nail biting “OMG did I really do that?” – or completely the other end of the debating spectrum – to-ing and fro-ing between should I, shouldn’t I? -whipping up a frenzy, sharing with anyone who’s close enough to be in ear shot, making up all kinds of reasons – which are really dressed up excuses – blaming circumstances for my indecision. Eventually I have to remind myself that even doing nothing is a decision in and of itself so I might as well get on with it.
Do you have this dilemma – to do something or stay put and remain where you are? Would you like a process to help you through the agony of your unsureness?
7 Steps to Making a Decision (without boring the pants of all and sundry)
Last year when I was considering up leveling my own personal mentoring support it was like being on an emotional see saw one minute up in the air listening to my heart humming a warm honey like ‘Yes’ and my head persistently bringing me to an abrupt drop with scary thoughts around how I could possibly afford such a commitment, what it would involve and what if it didn’t live up to it’s promises!
Then the confusion of the yeh buts – “What will others think or say” – I cannot tell you how big that one was for me, and “What if I’ve made a mistake and it’s not as good as I think it is?” with the opposing thoughts of “Where will I be in 6 months, a year, or 5 years if I don’t go for it ?” – “Well, I ‘d still be stuck in the discomfort of my familiar rut I suppose”, and “How can I expect other people to invest in themselves if I’m not prepared to do the same thing for me?” On and on it went … boy, did I have to do some EFT tapping for all of this!
Here are some thoughts that were whizzing around in my head. I wonder if you recognise them for yourself?
1. Wanting certainty before taking action – yep, that ‘s the perfectionist bit
2. Being scared of making an emotional decision based on a whim – that’s often the slippery path to making big mistakes and then of course having to justify it over and over to myself and others (who are the ‘others’ anyway?!)
3. Believing it can only be right with the approval of significant others. What’s that about then? Being scared of the responsibility and having no one to blame?
4. Being fearful of repeating past mistakes (well, being aware of them is a big first step!)
If this sounds like you, try these steps as a way of speeding you through the agony
1. Listen to your body – It is overflowing with wisdom and retains the energy and emotions of past experiences both pleasant and unpleasant which can interfere with clear decision making. When you tune in your gut instincts will guide you.
2 Make a list of your alternatives – write down every option available to you.
3. Ask yourself the question in 3 or 4 different ways. Be creative – looking at things from a different perspective and even through someone else’s eyes can yield alternative solutions.
4. Remember what happened on previous occasions in a similar situations.
5. Go inwards. Take a moment. Close your eyes. Breath deeply. Place your hand on your heart and connect with all that is you.
Ask – what it is you truly want. Listen inwardly for any insights. Look at your decisions in your mind’s eye. Which choice contains the energy of both lightness and possibilities? Which feels dull or lifeless?
6. Give yourself some time and space between now and when the decision has to be made. Distance gives perspective. It separates you from the emotions of the situation.
7. Make the decision! Make it concrete – stop agonizing over it. Make it real, write it down. Once it’s out of your head you can stop and let go. Only make decisions you actually want for yourself. And remember, 90% of what we worry about never happens!