When you’re feeling unsure about what to do next and how to choose the “right” next thing, we often get stuck. We stay in this place of indecision because we don’t know how to make the right decision. Should you go with your intuition or with your analytical mind? What if you make the wrong decision? Today, we’re going to review what’s actually happening in your mind when you’re in this place and how to move forward with confidence.
I remember when I first began to choose various forks in the road in my life. I chose many of the safe roads. Safe schools, safe jobs, safe careers that all led to very certain outcomes. I would ask myself, should I choose this or that and the way I made decisions was based on what brought me the most certainty. Supply chain, business, MBA at an Ivy League school, big name companies and firms. What was all this for? It validated a sense of belonging. A sense of worth. A sense of empowerment that I was a force to be reckoned with because everyone respects the things I’ve done. But what was missing, as you can probably tell, was a sense of internal respect that wasn’t conditional on the outside world.
When we talk about right decisions, we think that there is one thing that is better than the other. We think there is a right and a wrong decision. That it’s black or white, except that we’re the ones that are confused. So we go around talking to different people, asking their opinions, validating all our thoughts, reading reviews, researching more and more and more and more until we’re convinced that we’re making the right choice. What all of that is costing us is our time, our ability to develop inner guidance, and our trust in ourselves.
Decisions can be one of the most powerful forces of your life. When you decide, you move. You stop going down one path and start on another. You do something different than you did a second prior. A decision can be as big as you deciding that you’re going to quit your job, take a job, start a new career or make someone your life partner. It can also be as small as deciding what restaurant you want to eat at, what food you’re going to have today, what you’re wearing, and who gets to do what.
In the beginning, we aren’t allowed to really make any choices. For good reason. As children, we don’t know that there’s danger if we wander across roads, eat things off the ground, or touch a hot stove. We’re guided and told what to do and why. As we grow older, however, the voices of your parents or those that were closest to you still seem to resonate in your mind. You think to yourself, “what would my mom/dad think?” Or “what would my family say?” We are our own sovereign beings but we’re still using collective thinking and approaches. When we use collective thinking, we move slower in terms of change. We are using the energy of the group instead of the energy of the individual.
How then, do we approach our lives as our own individual selves, complete with a life full of experiences and somewhere inside of us, a capable brain and intuition? This is something that I’ve been leaning into for a while now. When I wanted to make some big moves in my life I knew that I couldn’t think the same way I had before. I couldn’t make decisions the same way that I previously did. And I couldn’t be the same person if I wanted to change. The other day I overheard my husband, Jay, talk to someone about my career change and he said, “its like she’s reinvented herself”. I’m still May. A mom, wife, and yogi. But with a changed sense of certainty, approach to life, and set of ambitions.
My work has been to bridge the gap between what is and what can be. To not lose the best parts of my life’s achievements, work and gratitude for the amazingness that is – yet still have fun with ambitious goals. Decision-making was a big part of this change.
What I realized about making the right decisions is one thing. You must make A decision. The right one is not your predetermined destiny. You’ll find out along the way and you’ll learn. But you’ll learn faster and more if you actually make a move. Often, people ask me, “how do I know that what I’m going to next isn’t going to be worse?” I know that it’s tough when you don’t know what will happen, but what is tougher is seeing yourself as a cog in life’s wheel instead of the one that turns the wheel. Stop trying to micro-manage all the tiny minutiae and step into the superconscious, bigger point of view.
Right now, there is something on your mind that you haven’t done. Something you know will make a difference in the quality of your life, but you are putting it off. Most people get stuck here, but I’m going to tell you something now that will change your life. Think bigger and ask yourself, what is the one decision that will eliminate 1000 decisions? Instead of thinking, should I choose A or B, I want you to see the pattern of what you’re deciding upon. If you’re deciding between choosing a food that isn’t good for your body vs one that is fuel for your body, and you’re trying to adopt healthier eating habits, tell yourself that you’ll always choose the food as fuel. Period. End of story.
See the pattern in your decision and if instead of choosing between A and B, you can make one decision instead. We need to cut off the indecision and all the energy that comes with it by just making one decision. This was how I started working out every single day. This is how you will start doing the things that matter most. The decision isn’t about A or B or C, it’s about asking yourself the question, “what is most important to me and how does this line up with what is most important to me?”
Mitigate risks. If this doesn’t work out, what will you do? If you have a plan in place for when the decision doesn’t work out, you’ll be able to move forward with much more confidence. To try a new approach doesn’t mean you have to throw out your rational mind. To follow your intuition doesn’t mean that you have no clue what to do when or if you get stuck. It means that you understand why you want to do this, how it lines up with what is important to you, and then what you will do about it if it doesn’t work. Risk mitigation isn’t a sense of doom and gloom on your decision-making dreams. It’s a way to free yourself from energetically defeating yourself before you ever tried the thing out in the first place. We often skip this step and as a result, never even try that path less traveled. We’re too afraid to take the risk because we don’t know what we’ll do if it doesn’t work.
Actually act on the decision. Making the right decision is dependent upon you seeing results. When it’s all in your mind, you don’t know if you made the right decision, do you? You can play it forward in your mind all day, but only when you’ve committed to acting upon it is it real. Take the action. Make it real and then evaluate what you want to do next.
Right now, I want you to list out all the decisions that you have on your mind. Things that you need to do or don’t do. Remember, not doing something is still a decision. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, write them all down now. Ask yourself this one question, “what if I actually did all the things I’m thinking about doing?” What would your life look like? If you can see lots of beautiful and transformative results, what is holding you back from making the decision to do these things? I can tell you what it is. Fear. Fear that you won’t be loved or that you’re not worthy.
Our harshest critic is the one within ourselves. Now ask yourself this question, “what would you do if your fear wasn’t real?” What if you had a plan to mitigate all risks? Now, let’s take action. Do one thing right after this podcast that you’ve been putting off. Make that decision and do something with it. Call someone, schedule time, invest in yourself – whatever it is, do it while you’re in this place of emotional resilience. You are unstoppable, your fear can be mitigated, and you can trust yourself to make decisions that are aligned with what is most important to you in your life.
If you want help designing your day and learn how I design mine so that I make time to think about the important decisions that will change my life, I’m hosting a Free Design Your Day workshop. RSVP now to get a spot and I’ll share with you the strategies and tools I use daily to shift my mindset, change careers and improve my health. Together, we’ll start the process of designing a magical life. Go to https://mayempson.com/designyourday to sign up.