The word decision comes from the Latin root decidere, which means to cut off from. When you make a decision, you cut off all other possibility. Think about that. When you decide, you restrict your choice and have to commit to a certain path of action.
Now there are times when that kind of commitment is vitally important. When my husband and I made the conscious decision that we wanted children, we knew we were making a decision that would, if successful, transform our lives. When I set up my business ‘Choose2Flourish’, I made a conscious and determined decision to be successful. When you commit, you bring focus and energy to that ‘cutting off’ process, which can be highly empowering and motivating.
However, it doesn’t always work out that way.
When you make a decision to change job, move house or leave a partner, you are acutely aware of what you are ‘cutting yourself off from’ with often no real idea of what the other side of that decision really looks like.
How that lands with you really depends on how ready you are for that change, your natural tolerance level of sitting with risk and uncertainty and what levels of ‘perfection’ are you seeking in making that decision. For many, when faced with such a combination of factors, we can freeze up and be unable to commit to any course of action at all.
This can be why, years down the line, you may still be sitting in that ‘making do’ job, procrastinating over whether to leave or to go, meanwhile experiencing a slow, probably unconscious erosion of your self-efficacy and confidence. So based on personal experience, that of my clients and from all the development courses I’ve invested in and books I’ve read over the years, may I offer a couple of suggestions.
1. Don’t ‘decide’. Choose instead. Identify a variety (but not too many as too many choices can paralyse us again) of choices that you can select from. See yourself as choosing a course of action.
2. Make that choice using a small, clear list of criteria based on what you know is truly important to you. That means knowing your values, having sufficient insight into who you are and what will make you happy, fulfilled. Choice suggests there are a variety of opportunities still there for you. You may make a choice now and if it doesn’t work out, you can come back and choose again. That feels different now doesn’t it?
2. Ask yourself, how perfect does your ‘choice’ need to be? That in itself is the topic for another article, so for now, just be aware of your headline criteria and don’t demand too much. Seeing our lives as a learning journey can be very freeing.