My wonderful coaching clients ask me frequently, “How do I know if this is the right step? I’m just so confused.”
To get clear on the next step to take that will be ultimately beneficial for you, answer these three questions first, then move on the path to making your decision.
There are three powerful questions before you address any significant decision:
1) Do you have enough information to make this decision? If not, get it.
2) Is it the right time to make this decision – if not, then wait. If so, take the steps listed below.
3) How important is this decision? If it’s not at all important to your life, stop agonizing, and use your gut to tell you what direction to go in, and just do something.
If the time is right to make your decision, and you have enough information to do it, then follow this process:
1) Shift your mindset about decisions and next steps
First, disengage yourself from needing to believe that there is an ultimate “right” outcome to anything. There isn’t. Life is a cycle, a process, a flow, not a final destination. You’ll never “get there.” It’s all about experiencing life fully, NOW, and loving it. Forget about outcome, and look at “process” – explore what you think this step will bring to you, along with the process of living that this step will allow you to engage in. In other words, will this next step encourage you to grow, stretch, be excited, enlivened, and expand yourself? If so, there’s a great deal of benefit in it.
2) How does it make you feel to consider it?
In my marriage and family therapy training, one professor said that “feeling” is the “F” word – because a therapist and client talking just about feelings can be a slippery slope of not leading to any interventions that truly help a person move forward.
In this case, however, gaining awareness of how you feel is vitally important. Watch yourself as you explore this next step or potential decision. Do you feel energized, excited, with your heart beating? Or do you feel like taking a nap, exhausted, depressed and hopeless. How you feel, and the shifts in your energy level when you’re evaluating a potential decision are highly indicative of what your heart and soul really want to do.
3) Look at what holds you back – is it all fear-based?
Write out all the pros and cons to the decision you’re facing. Then look at the cons…are they all fear-based (“what if”, anxiety-ridden thinking)? If so, you’re most likely getting stuck in your limited beliefs and ego-based thinking that tell you that you simply can’t embrace this challenge or step because you’ll fail or the unknown is too scary. The unknown doesn’t have to be scary – if you embrace it as a way to be more of yourself.
4) What does your intuition/gut tell you to do?
Decisions are best made when you combine logical, linear thinking with intuitive-based wisdom that comes from a higher place. Your logical thinking helps you identify all the pros and cons (see #3) from an intellectual perspective, but your intuition has a farther-reaching view, one that sees a bigger picture of who and where you truly want to go, and what you’re capable of.
Get in closer touch with your internal guiding wisdom and intuition. Start today by developing a deeper inner dialog. Ask questions of yourself on a continual basis, and listen for the answers, then follow them!. Begin by asking simple “yes” or “no” questions (should I take this route or that one to get to my destination, should I stop here or wait a bit, etc.), and begin hearing what your intuition tells you. Find the place in your body where your feel your intuition most (your gut, throat, back of your neck, heart, etc.) and begin incorporating the messages of your intuition in every decision you make.
Ultimately, each decision you make is the right one, because you made it, and you did your best at the time, and because it inevitably led to something that was important for you to experience. Going forward, make your decisions with fuller awareness, choice, and a belief that everything you experience will ultimately lead to something greater in yourself. Then, every decision will feel like (and be) the right one.
If you have a decision to make today: get the info you need, don’t make limiting assumptions about what you’re capable of, do your best, stop worrying, and start living.
Question of the week: What decisions have you made that at first seemed to be a mistake, but later opened up great new possibilities for you?