Every day we continually make decisions.
Do I get up when the alarm, aka Emeril, does? No.
Do I eat breakfast? Yes.
Do I go for a walk? Yes. No. Let me check how I’m feeling. I feel okay. So I don’t have an excuse to not go for a walk. No stubbed toe or anything debilitating. But if I feel so darn good – I probably don’t need to go for a walk. So today no, but definitely tomorrow I will most likely go for a walk, unless I don’t feel good.
Okay, there was some waffling on the last one, but I still made decision with relative ease.
Other times, not so much.
I’m trying to figure out the next stage of my life, and fear is rearing its ugly head. I find myself seeking any excuse to back out of my plans and take the safe road. Then I’m reminded the danger in doing so.
Give your best and always be kind.”
I read the above quote today in Oprah’s February issue of the O Magazine. After a deep breath, I reminded myself I can do this.
I’ve done this before with a little help from O Magazine.
Years ago, I read an article by columnist, Martha Beck where she explained a process to help people make decisions. It worked for me then and still does today.
Here is the basic premise, you’re faced with a decision and are unsure what to do – you think about the consequences of your decision in the next 10 minutes, the next 10 months and the next 10 years. You do the exercise in both the affirmative and negative.
I used this when I made the decision to move from Minnesota to California. I always dreamed of living in California, but when offered the opportunity, I didn’t automatically say yes. I was flattered. And paralyzed with fear too.
I really wanted to say no, because it was the easy, safe decision. I also knew that wasn’t right. Not because “no” was necessarily the wrong answer, but because I making it for all the wrong reasons: mind-numbing fear.
Thankfully, I remembered Martha’s exercise. My version went something like this:
Yes to California:
- 10 minutes: Utter chaos. Everyone freaking out, especially me.
- 10 months: Unknown. I would have adjusted to a new position, a new boss, etc.
- 10 years: Unknown. I might still be California or not. But I would have given it a chance.
No to California:
- 10 minutes: Peace. Calm. Get up and go to work like nothing happened. Because it didn’t.
- 10 months: Well, I’d probably buy a home. So I’d be dealing with home stuff.
- 10 years; Unknown. But I would live with the knowledge that I passed up my childhood dream because I was too scared to grab it.
Well, you know the choice I made, since I regularly flaunt my ability to wear flip-flops year-round. Did I ever regret it? Yes, of course. High rent. Gridlocked traffic. Missing out on family functions and holidays because it’s not feasible to fly home for every gathering hurts too.
But would I regret it even more had I not moved here? Yes. Fear would have won, which would have resonated in all my future decisions.
Now I am once again trying to move forward and figure out where I want to go next. I’m reminded that when I become overwhelmed and lean towards the easy decision – to remember the power of 10/10/10.