Something that came up this last week in a conversation with a client was the question of “when is the right time” to do something? It led to us exploring the concept of CHOICE and why it’s so important to master if you actually want to accomplish anything.
How many of you have struggled over trying to determine what is the right choice to make?
I know I have! Historically, I could spend WAY more time and energy on a choice than I ever needed to—and it’s one of the primary ways we get in our own way as heart-led leaders and women in business.
As our impact or business grows, we have this sense of responsibility that even MORE people are affected by our choices. This can tailspin us into a hurricane of trying to figure out what’s the best option.
It’s valuable to understand and develop a plan for how you’ll make decisions, as decisiveness is an important quality for a leader.
There are many logic-based ways to make a choice:
1. A tried-and-true pros and cons list.
2. A cause and effect list (tell me I’m not the only one who gets a headache trying to think of every scenario)
3. Good, old poll the audience tactics. (This is probably the least effective for 90% of decisions, by the way, because when you are ALREADY ungrounded and questioning yourself, asking other people what THEY think can make it even more confusing. I know this one can be pretty tempting because, wouldn’t it just be so easy sometimes to be told what’s the right decision is? But alas, no one except for YOU can choose what you want.)
Now, we also have CHANCE-based decision making (believe it or not, this one is perhaps more valuable at times than logic-based. For example, this is someone who can talk themselves INTO and OUT OF any decision.)
1. Flipping a coin.
2. One two three: GO!
3. Pulling straws or anything else we do as superstitions… or as Michael Scott from The Office would say “Only a LITTTTTLE stitious.”
Logic-based decision making is okay and it’s sometimes appropriate, but it’s rarely the best first option. In fact, psychology supports the hypothesis that we as humans actually make decisions on what we FEEL and then use our minds to justify it. (Have you ever noticed that it makes no sense to buy that pair of shoes, but you did it anyway because you WANTED to? I rest my case!). The quality of our “logic” is only as good as the clarity of our mind in any given moment. Our minds can be complicated.
Chance-based decision making can be fun at times because it will directly reveal what you want.
Flip a coin. And then when you are disappointed it landed on “heads,” you’ll know you really cared about the “tails” option. However, some decisions are just too important to use chance to decide.
So then, what’s the decision method I most use?
The Inner Wisdom decision making method (aka: grounded, clear, aligned decisions). It’s actually extremely simple once you get the hang of it. Maybe not always EASY…but simple.
What we WANT is a direct line to our own most authentically aligned direction. That direction is tied into what we care about, what we are passionate about and what we believe in.
This isn’t EMOTION based. It’s related, but not the same. It’s INTEGRITY based.
Our emotions are ever changing like water. We feel “aligned” and then we don’t. We feel “clear” and then we don’t. That’s why it’s so important to have concrete practices to understand your emotions and understand the deeper sensations and wisdom beneath them. We don’t have to negate what our feelings are telling us, but we also don’t need to be a victim to them either.
True “WANT TO” alignment is RELATED to feelings but it’s steadier. It’s connected to our own inner wisdom. We can only hear that inner wisdom truly though if we are first quiet from the noise of insecurity and fear driving us.
Do you know what your Inner Wisdom sounds like or feels like?
If you’ve never first learned to see and address the subconscious fear driving you—you might not. That’s ok. No one teaches us this stuff in school. But, if fear is driving the show—what you WANT is likely clouded with your primal drive to feel safe and supported.
Your decisions will then be based on…
“What will make this go away.”
“What will make me feel better.”
The first step to making a grounded decision when you are in the hurricane swirl of options and pressure is to
Then, once you are quiet, centered and calm in your spirit, you can now ask quality questions like:
What do I want here?
What do I REALLY want?
Why do I want that?
Is there a more direct path?
What do I know?
Where do I start?
If this is different than what you typically do, don’t be surprised if answering these questions is challenging at first.
If that’s the case, don’t waffle. I repeat, don’t waffle.
Which brings us to the third step of making a grounded decision:
Decide! Make the call and act. Then get back on the path of movement.
The real secret to making a “right choice” is what you do next. What you DO with that choice after you make it will make your break you. What you do next will determine whether it was right or wrong.
So, what decision is in front of you right now?
Are you coming from fear/anxiety or calm?
What do you REALLY want?
Are you willing to make the choice and act on it?
Would just CHOOSING make your life 10 times better?
If so, start there.