When you have a big decision to make, it can wreak havoc on your life. It doesn’t matter what the decision is – it could be whether to go back to school to get that master’s degree (so you’ll actually like your job) or it might be trying to figure out if getting divorced really is the best thing to do. Or perhaps you’ve fantasized about sending your hormonal, defiant tween or teenager off to boarding school in a far, far away land. I’m mostly joking about that last one.
Whatever the decision is that looms for you, you’re probably experiencing some anxiety in having to make a choice. As humans, we can drive ourselves crazy as we stand at that fork in the road pondering the what if’s of each potential choice. What does your internal voice say? Might it be something like, “What if I fail?” “What if they laugh at me?” “Will they think I’m crazy?” “Will my husband/kids/parents approve?”
We spend so much time focusing on “What if I make the wrong choice?” I’ve found that there’s very little in life that can’t be changed or undone. As an example, I know a woman who thought she was ready to go back to school. She enrolled, bought a stack of books, and did the work. After the first semester, she discovered that it was just more than she could handle at that time in her life. It was taking too much time away from a job she loved and time with her husband. She withdrew from school and went back to the life she loved.
This was neither a weakness nor a failure on her part. To thine own self be true! Knowing your limits and having the courage to admit that you might not be quite ready to travel a particular path is a strength – not a character flaw. Often times, we may have the information to make a decision, but we don’t know how that decision will actually FEEL until we are already invested. There are no dress rehearsals in life – we must do the best we can and acknowledge we may have to change course along the way.
So what if you make a decision you have to change course on? We can only make decisions based on the information we have RIGHT NOW. Although we may frequently dream of having a crystal ball, life would be a whole lot less interesting if we had one. And here’s a crazy thought…if you’re deciding to do or not do something, you have a 50% chance of making a decision that’s right for you! Instead of focusing on the thought that you’ll make the wrong choice, think about how you’ll feel if you make one that feels amazing!
When making a decision, gather as much information as you can, analyze the pros and cons, and pay attention to your instincts. Embrace the uncertainty, venture into the unknown. You’ll find your way back. And when you do, you’ll realize that whether the decision was right or not quite right, you’ve gained some wisdom along the way.