You’re at a crossroads. You either turn left. Or you turn right. But how do you know which direction to choose? Making the “right” decision is always a gamble. But there are a few ways to ensure you’re making a decision that is empowering you and that’ll lead you into your desired outcome. In this blog, I’ll give you some pointers on how to make the right decision. Whatever that means…
If you’ve never read the fig tree metaphor from The Bell Jar, I highly recommend you do that now. It’s one of my favorite passages. It helped me come to terms with decision making.
Indecision – as you can see in the metaphor above, leaves you with nothing.
And I get it, making decisions is overwhelming. There are a million possible outcomes. Choosing one path sometimes means saying “no” to another beautiful opportunity. All figs in the fig tree are beautiful opportunities. By choosing one, you can have a wonderful next step in your life. Choosing none, means missing out on everything.
What the fig tree taught me
Nothing in life is certain, except for the fact that you come into this life and leave it. Everything inside of that time frame is a matter of choice. Everything is a choice. From big things like deciding to try for children to picking out your dinner in the supermarket. Every choice sets you one step further down a chosen path.
The fig tree metaphor has shown me that it doesn’t matter what you choose, there will always be an outcome. Some more desirable than others, sure. But every choice leads me to a new branch, and eventually a fig.
This metaphor has proven its value multiple times. Especially this year — the absolute shit show we call 2020. (Let’s not get into politics right now…but damn…what a year).
How are you making decisions?
When it comes to making decisions, one thing is certain: you have no certainty when it comes to the outcome. Learning to embrace the unknown is one of the first steps you’ll need to take in order to feel comfortable in your decision making process.
However, we CAN look at the WAY you’re making decisions. What are your decisions based on? And what are your influences?
Are you making decisions based on fear? Or are you making conscious, empowering decisions? This distinction might not always be so obvious. You might think you’re making empowering decisions for yourself, while objectively they’re all just fear based. The ability to raise your awareness and create a helicopter view of your problem in order to solve it is really crucial.
What does a fear based decision look like?
An example of a fear based decision would be not leaving your current job. Even though it makes you unhappy. Even though you snooze your alarm every morning, dreading to go to the office. You’re afraid of leaving because you don’t know what other jobs are available to you. You don’t know if the situation at a possible new job will be better or worse.
You justify this decision in your head. Sure, work sucks. But doesn’t every job? Work isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s meant for making money. And right now, you’re making money.
Does this narrative sound familiar?
There’s nothing wrong with staying in this situation. As long as you can justify it for yourself. It means you are choosing to stay in this place. However, what I often notice is that people in similar situations complain a lot. They complain about their boss. Their colleagues. The lunchlady. The hours. The constant overworking. The lack of opportunities. And the endless wait for a raise and promotion.
Now this to me, doesn’t add up. If you dislike this situation so much, why are you CHOOSING to stay in it. Yup, it’s a decision to go to that workplace every single day.
So now, if you do have the guts to change your situation – how would that look like?
What does empowered decision making look like?
An empowered decision is a decision that aligns with your values, beliefs and vision. An empowered decision is one made from a place of strategy and proactiveness rather than being reactive to your circumstances. An empowered decision focuses on growth. And yes, growth is uncomfortable.
How to make the right decision
Ok, so far we’ve established that in order to make the “right” decision (whatever the outcome is…) is at least an empowered one. Now how do you make the right decision?
You face your fears
Define what you’re afraid of. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Just write down everything that comes to mind. What scares you so much about this decision? Why are you hesitating or procrastinating? There is no “right” or “wrong” answer. It’s just you expressing your fears.
If you can, determine what caused these fears. Dive deeper into the meaning you are giving these fears. You can learn how to do that in this blog/podcast.
You map out your vision
Where do you want to be in 5 years? Where do you want to be in 10 years? What does your ideal future look like?
Now match your decisions to your vision. Are you making choices that reflect and support your vision? Or are you sabotaging yourself?
Reverse engineer your goal. What do you need to do today, this month, this year in order to achieve this vision?
You define your values and beliefs
What do you believe to be true about yourself? What do you believe to be true about work? Money? Relationships? Opportunities?
The beliefs you hold true about certain areas in life is how you show up in the world. It’s what you base your choices on.
If you believe your social-economic status determines your success and happiness in life, you’ll apply for jobs that’ll heighten your status, for example. In your head, the higher the title or the more the job pays = the better.
* Disclaimer – there is NOTHING wrong with that belief. No beliefs are every “right” or “wrong”. It’s just a story you tell yourself because you’ve been conditioned to think this way. Either by your upbringing, culture, religion, the media etc. You’ve been made to believe something is the truth. We all have. So don’t worry. Just focus on uncovering the unconscious beliefs you have. Need help with that? Watch this webinar.
You get comfortable with the uncomfortable
Yup. Growth is fucking uncomfortable. It’s scary. It’s uncertain. It feels like you’re running around like a chicken without its head.
Funny thing is: this will never get any easier. The only thing you can do is embrace it. Be ok with it. Trust yourself. Trust life. Generate more self confidence.
If you do need certainty, talk to people who’ve experienced similar situations. Read autobiographies of famous people who’ve overcome some of the biggest hurdles. Share your uncertainty with loved ones who can provide support. Journal – get to know your thought patterns. Write down a list of 25 things you’ve already accomplished in this life. Celebrate your wins! You’ve definitely got this.
Need help at the crossroads?
If you find yourself in a difficult situation right now, feel free to reach out. Sometimes just talking about an issue with an outsider, lightens the load. It might also give you insight you might have overlooked. Someone from the outside, who is not emotionally connected to your situation, is able to uncover the objective truth behind your fears and indecision.
Just know – you are right where you’re meant to be. Trust yourself. Surrender to the process & timing. Be open to receiving guidance & miracles.
Much love from my side of the screen, as always!