Making Tough Decisions

Earlier this week, a previous coaching client contacted me to talk through a challenge he was facing. He needed to make a really tough decision regarding a new job offer and wasn’t sure whether he should take it, or stay put.

He was about to be promoted and get a raise at his current job, but he’s been unhappy there for quite some time now. Moving to the new job, is uncharted territory, except for the fact that he will be working with a previous manager whom he had always found to be an exceptionally inspiring leader.

This conversation got me thinking about how we all have big decisions that we face on an ongoing basis and how we are all so often paralyzed by our fear of all that could go wrong and a fear of the unknown. We drive ourselves crazy, going around and around in circles with “what if” scenarios and we fear things that most likely, will never even happen.

The advice that I gave him, was to just get off the crazy merry-go-round for a minute and let logical thinking and sanity prevail.

Whether you are contemplating leaving a job or a relationship or relocating or wanting to learn something new, it’s a big decision for you and the stakes are high.

The minute we are faced with that kind of high stakes decision, we feel overwhelmed because of the mere fact that we are emotionally invested in the outcome of the decision.

It’s easier to help a friend decide whether they should walk away from a relationship than it is to make that decision for ourselves.

The minute you are emotionally invested in the outcome of a decision, the stakes are automatically higher, leading to more stress, doubt and uncertainty in the decision-making process.

No matter what the decision is that you need to make, once you stop and get off that crazy merry-go-round of “what if’s”, you need to sit in stillness and you need to gain clarity on what the “ideal” looks and feels like to you.

Is it a relationship you want to possibly end or a new one you want to pursue? Gain clarity first on what an ideal relationship looks and feels like to you. What activities do you do together? How much time do you spend apart and how important is it to have friends and interests outside of the relationship? Do you cook together or are you happy with one or the other taking care of the meals? Do you split household chores?

See where I’m going with this?

You can apply the same process to the decision whether or not to take a new job, by asking similar questions. How do you feel about the commute and the traffic and the time you spend? How do you want to be spending your days at work? What kind of environment would you like to work in? What motivates you and makes you excited about getting up in the morning and going to work?

Create the list of things you truly want and need at work or in your relationship or in your personal health or development. Then make a list of what you currently have. Compare. Highlight the shortfalls. Start taking action to adjust accordingly.

It may help you to complete this exercise alone, away from the influences of friends and family and colleagues who may mean well, but may also have agendas and motivations of their own.

The aim of any tough decision that you have to make, is always to get closer to ‘living your best life’ as Oprah always used to say.

So, opportunities at work or in love or health or personal development that will get you closer to being the best version of YOU, are opportunities you need to grab like it’s raining money from the heavens.

And anything that is draining your energy or making you sad and depressed or making you feel small or negatively impacting your health, is something you’re going to have to turn your back on – even if it’s hard initially. It will be worth it in the end.

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