When there are no easy answers- how to make a difficult decision

“I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.” ― Maya Angelou

This week I sat with several clients as they had to make extremely difficult decisions.  There wasn’t an obvious answer for any of them and all of them felt like it was a no win situation.  Sometimes in life there isn’t an easy choice.  None of the options we see currently seem to be the right solution and it is easy to become frozen and just say, I’m not going to decide and I’ll just let it all play out.  I was told when I was a child that if I had a decision to make I should write up a pro and con list and go with whichever list is longer.  What I found when I actually took that advice was that it didn’t work.  I could easily come up with the list, but even though there may have been 10 things on the pro side, the one thing on the con side seemed to direction-1033278_640have just as much weight.  It wasn’t that easy.  Our brains are marvelous tools, but they don’t tend to help very much when we have a big decision to make.  We get lost in overanalyzing and critically thinking about tiny details of each possibility.  It becomes almost impossible to make a decision and so we put it off.  What I have found is that more often than not, I knew the decision that had to be made.  I just didn’t want to allow myself to know the decision, because I didn’t want to do what I would have to do if I decided.  My brain does a great job at trying to convince me that I don’t know what to do, when in my heart I know.  I have now began using a different method to make difficult decisions and it doesn’t make them any easier, but I regret far fewer of them.  Instead of going into my head for the answer I go into my heart.  I get quiet and ask myself how I would feel if I chose option A.  Then I focus my attention on my body.  The pit of my stomach is usually a good place for me to pay special attention to.  I try to tune in to see if I get a light and open feeling or if it is a dark and constricted feeling.  I then ask myself how I would feel with option B.  Sometimes I know right away.  If it is something I have been avoiding, my brain will kick into action and tell me all the reasons why it doesn’t make logical sense to go with that option.  Often times it is right- it doesn’t make any logical sense, but that doesn’t mean it is the wrong choice.  In life we have to take risks.  Sometimes it feels dangerous to take a leap of faith when we don’t know where we are going to land.  Those surprises are often times where we grow the most.  When I don’t get an answer right away I sit with it for a day or two.  If nothing comes to me by then I set a date and time within the week to make my decision.  At that time I decide to decide and go with it.  There are no wrong decisions in life.  Whatever decision we make we are going to learn and gain clarity on what we do want.  I find that often we get paralyzed because we feel like once we make a decision we are stuck for the rest of our lives with that decision.  That is not the case.  There are always other choices that can be made farther down the road.  Look at the decision as an experiment and know that at a later time a different decision can be made, but once the decision is made commit fully to it.  Allow the universe to know that you are stepping out and spreading your wings so that you will fly when you take that leap.

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