Happy Valentine’s Day! The fact that we’re celebrating this day, whether with a romantic dinner out or with hand-written love notes (written by my daughters) adorning the kitchen, is a reflection of someone’s decision to make a new holiday. In this case, maybe the decision was Hallmark’s, but I’m so glad of it; your decisions have far more impact than you think!
This is what my mentor Christine Kane says about decision:
Decision is a lot about loss. It’s about being strong enough in your choice to allow a loss of other options. (The word “decision” comes from the Latin ‘decisio,’ which means “to cut off.”)
In other words, when you decide, you no longer have "all your options open."
The thing is, while making better decisions definitely moves you forward and enriches your life, the path to your dream life is not the one you’re most comfortable with. Life gives us chances to coast downhill, but not very often.
Get out of your head the idea that IF i get this decision right, THEN everything will be easy. There is usually more than 1 correct answer in the real world and good decisions make you grow, which is not always a comfortable experience!
5 Warning Signals You’re About to Make a Bad Decision:
(Note: bad decisions can teach you, so you’fe fine either way, it’s a matter of moving forward or staying stuck for the moment.)
1. Making a decision when you’re exhausted, sick or feeling low, is never a good idea.
Short of taking serious mood-enhancing narcotics, you’re not going to feel like you live on cloud nine every single day. Even if you’re in robust health, some days you’re going to feel tired. (I hope today is not one of those days.)
In any case, having a bad day means a day not to make major decisions.
That’s because on a low-energy day or when you’ve been hit on the side of your head with some unexpected catastrophe, your ability to reallty think is limited, you’re not accessing your natural creativity, and you’re probably making negative projections into your future (like, "crud, my life is over!")
The best decision on bad days to make is to get some rest and lay low.
2. If what you’re thinking is "what I should do is X," this could be a warning signal of a bad decision about to happen.
There are times when your sense of "should" or duty, leads you to make a wonderful decision. Like when you need to change a baby’s diaper: you really should and you do.
A lot of times your "should" masks what you know deep inside you want to do but you’re too scared to admit it.
BTW, that’s totally normal!
If you’re thinking, "I should go to the gym," you may be right but you’re unlikely to motivate yourself that way.
If you can take the time to really think about it, and realize that you WANT to go to the gym because you value your health, you’re more likely to get there.
If you’re saying "I should lose weight" because someone else wants you to, I don’t think you’re going to succeed in that.
If you hear yourself saying, "I should…" take another look at what you’re deciding. You may be about to shoot yourself in the foot.
3. If you’re deciding a certain way so you don’t have to ask for help, it’s probably not a good decision.
A lot of times I’m looking at what my 16-year-old daughter is doing or thinking, it’s like looking in the mirror. I’ve seen her go through all sorts of gyrations to avoid asking for help from a classmate or even her teacher. I also see her waste time because she wants to resolve a complex situation through texting because she’s "uncomfortable" with picking up the phone!!!
Life is a contact sport and to transform your biggest dreams into reality, you need help from other people. If you feel nervous about asking for help and that’s pushing you to decide a certain way, think again!
(Or am I the only introvert here?)
4. Limiting your decisions to your pay grade.
This is about contorting yourself to fit other people’s expectations of how you should behave.
Making decisions that make other people feel comfortable around you is a definite warning signal.
Here’s an example from my own life, from many years ago:
When my youngest child was 6 or 8 weeks old, we were preparing her christening party. We had family visiting from other states, and from Venezuela. It was to be our biggest family fete ever.
As you know, the biggest thing on my mind was….what to wear. Especially since my normal clothes didn’t fit yet, and this was definitely a special occasion.
When I mentioned the possibility of buying a new dress, my then mother-in-law suggested that I wear one of her dresses. (Let me point out that she was well into her 70’s at the time and I was in my 30’s.)
Her son thought it was a fabulous idea.
I hated the thought, but knew they would be pleased to see me wearing her not-my-style-at-all clothes. They would be happy, and I would NOT be making any waves.
It still makes me cringe to see those pictures…
Live and learn.
5. Decisions taken from "well at least I" are usually not the best.
….Well, at least I have a job.
….Well, at least I have a boyfriend.
….Well, at least I won’t look stupid.
….Well, at least I’m safe.
This kind of thinking is CYA-ish….saving your butt but endangering your soul.
That’s not your best frame of mind for deciding.
If you could have the guarantee of success, how would you decide?
There is a guarantee available to you. It’s called "committment". If you commit to the project UNTIL it succeeds, it will. Perhaps it will look quite different from what you have in mind right now, but it will become reality.
What’s your warning signal that lets you know you’re about to make a bad decision?