The myth of the ‘right’ decision.
Inertia. Analysis paralysis. Procrastination. These are often the symptoms of clients stuck at a crossroads needing to make a big, calculated decision. And then there are the additional problems they accumulate when the deadline for the final decision comes and goes and still the decision has not been made.
Tips on how to make your life a nightmare: get so stuck in fear that that there is such a thing as a right decision and you are not going to recognize it that you lose your integrity and quite possibly your dignity along the way.
Of course there is no such thing as a ‘right’ decision. That is a fantasy. There is just one thing, or another thing, neither of those things or both of them. Every choice we make will have some benefits and some drawbacks, some advantages and other disadvantages. The best we can hope for is that the choice we make is aligned with who we are and where we are trying to go in life. Therein lies a big chunk of the problem. If you don’t know what makes you tick, what you want for yourself in life, the things you require to feel whole and fulfilled and the self belief to create a life you can enjoy regardless of circumstances- crossroad decisions are a nightmare.
When we are dealing with the unknown there are so many variables that can impact positively and/or negatively that it can be impossible to calculate the risks. Some things are just beyond our control and even outside of our imagination so it is futile to attempt to control an uncontrollable outcome.
The question is not ‘What is the right decision?’ The question is ‘Which disadvantages are you willing to live with? And ‘Which drawbacks can you manage better?’
It reminds me of my decision to have an outdoor wedding and my plans for the perfect wedding day. I created contingency plans and assessed the pro and cons of both; I found an exotic location and kept my numbers down to create a more intimate affair. But life has ways of showing you that ‘control’ is just a fantasy. When the torrential rains hit, when the priest insulted me and half of the wedding party, when the food served wasn’t what we ordered and when my MC used the opportunity of being on stage to roast me instead of toast me, the decisions I made for the perfect day were irrelevant. Would I change any of it? No. (I can say that now 12 years on). I have a good laugh about it now. We survived it and I have many stories to share about that crazy weekend.
Life is a bit like that. It is only with hindsight of many years that we can say whether something was the right decision. Even then, if it turns out badly for us, we can make a new choice for ourselves to accept it as it is, to change it or to let it go. (Thank goodness for Eckhart Tolle and his wisdom). Sometimes the worst things that can happen to us end up being a blessing in disguise.It is all a matter of perspective.
As a coach, a thinking partner, I facilitate a process that intends to move clients closer to clarity so that they can experience some peace of mind when it comes to decision making.
There are some solution-focused ideas (gleaned from some very clever solution-focused people in an online forum- shout out to Yvonne Dolan for the two scales) that you might find helpful in gaining clarity when it comes to decision making:
The question of readiness:
Rate yourself on a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 represents the very early stages of needing to make a decision and 10 represents absolute readiness to make a decision.
• What will make you feel more ready to make the decision?
• What do you need to learn or understand that will move you closer to 10? (explore the logic)
• What guidance do you need from your gut/ heart that will move you closer to 10? (explore your body’s intelligence)
• What or who is qualified to help you feel more ready? (seek its/their counsel)
The question of confidence:
Rate yourself on a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 represents zero confidence and 10 represents absolute confidence in your ability to make a decision.
• What will give you confidence in your ability to make the best choice you can make, with information you have at the time?
• How will you know you are more confident? What will you be doing then that you are not doing now?
• What will you settle for?
• What needs to happen for you to move up the scale over which you have control?
You might notice that your confidence impacts on your readiness scale. Having the confidence in your ability to make ‘manageable’ choices is less daunting than feeling you need to make the ‘right’ decision.
Just decide, one way or another.
There is nothing in life you cannot recover from. I am not talking about silly choices that end up being a game changer, like choosing to drive drunk and then killing someone. I am talking about thought through, well intentioned decisions that can take your life along one path or another. Nothing is set in stone and there are no guarantees with anything. There are very few decisions you can’t undo. You can change your mind if you find it becomes unbearable or unmanageable. You are entitled to change your mind you know. It is a human right of yours.
And of course, if you would like someone to partner you in your thinking- please inbox me.