by Amy Wong, author of “Living on Purpose: Five Deliberate Choices to Realize Fulfillment and Joy“
When faced with an important choice, the decision-making process can be crippling. Many hold that if we don’t make the right decision, we’ll start a domino effect of less-than-ideal circumstances and consequently live a failed life. With the stress of having to make right decisions, we tend to immediately paint the “what if” picture in the worst way.
The reason that we get so caught up in decision-making is because we firmly believe there’s an absolute right decision and an absolute wrong decision. We live as if there’s an official playbook out there that we’re supposed to align with in order to live the good life. But in reality, there’s no playbook. Our best course is to ease up on trying to figure out how to make all the right decisions.
Trust your instincts
To rid yourself of the anxiety that accompanies decision-making you must adopt the idea that there isn’t such a thing as one right decision. There’s only a decision. So pick something and then pursue it to the best of your ability.
The key is to make your choice and then put your energy into following through with it in the way in which you’d like it to manifest. Once you’ve decided, stop trying to determine whether you chose correctly. Quit imagining possible horrible outcomes from taking the path you’ve chosen.
Here are the reasons why this approach works:
– Any decision can be right or wrong. The imaginary playbook telling us what’s better, best, right, or wrong doesn’t exist. A decision is “right” by virtue of the fact that you made it.
– Choosing purposefully leads you on the right path. Living Always on Purpose is the art of accepting what is and creating what will be by removing the perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors that get in the way of living your life powerfully, purposefully, and joyfully.
– All that is real is now. You can never really accurately predict your future. How much of what you anticipated 10 years ago is true for you now?
The reason that anything fails is not because of the decision you made, it’s because of the conflicted attention and energy you give to it by doubting your choice, keeping you from full engagement. (This is how you ultimately realize that awful future you hoped wouldn’t happen).
The right path is the one that you’re on. This is because it’s made up of a bunch of choices you’ve already made (and are still making) to the best of your ability with all the information and instincts that you have available to you. There’s no determined ideal to follow. Being on the right path is about fully aligning with the choices you make. And ,if you find you don’t like the decision you’ve made, change it and try again. Life is an experiment!
Apply the strategies of making purposeful decisions using the following:
Practice believing in the choices you make.
Do you have a dilemma on your hands right now in which this perspective could help? Try stepping through the process of boldly making a choice without deliberation and notice how it feels.
Reflect on how it feels.
Take time to consider what becomes available to you in the absence of decision making turmoil. What resources appear? What’s now possible without the stress of worrying about “what’s right?”
See your decision through.
What would it take to align fully with the decisions you make? What will keep you focused on living a decision fully and keep you from doubting your choices?
Use an affirmation.
Try coming up with a statement to get out of stalling over the occasional choices that life inevitably presents. Mine is, “There’s no right path, only a path.” It never fails to bring me true relief and remind me that I’m always living on purpose. I can save myself the energy spent on deliberating, trust my instincts, and act.
When we’re able to rid ourselves of the anxiety that accompanies decision-making, we can then use the mental and emotional surplus to actualize a reality we want to see. To me, that’s the good life: living fully with no hesitation or regrets.
Amy Eliza Wong is a certified executive coach who has devoted more than 20 years to the study and practice of helping others live and lead on purpose. She works with some of the biggest names in tech and offers transformational leadership development and internal communication strategies to executives and teams around the world. Her new book is “Living on Purpose: Five Deliberate Choices to Realize Fulfillment and Joy“. Learn more at alwaysonpurpose.com.