In this new phase of upscaling my platform to help other people arrive home and into themselves, I always look back on my own inner travel and journey: there’re still ripples following my boat’s tail end because, no, it was not a smooth sail. It never will be.
Every week, as I share through my podcast, I bring on people with whom I’ve shared campfire stories about their own no-smooth-sailing journeys (on health, wellbeing, and self-discovery) but have come (or are coming) happily and fulfilled to where the waves and winds have taken them now. And it’s such a pleasure to have these conversations because I get to resonate and validate the principles I coach people about with the wider, collective experience of people wading the water, even the big, turbulent waves.
So this post is dedicated to helping you navigate the big decisions you have in front of you and, hopefully, inspire and support you in investing in your health, wellbeing, and overall self.
In a previous post, I talked about the gut being your “second brain.” Gut reactions can be important in this process because they cut to the chase and reveal how we really feel about the choices we have to make.
But of course, we don’t have to argue that important decisions often benefit from careful consideration and analysis of our situation and options. So we will also talk about harnessing the power of your mind—meaning, your thinking brain as the source of slower, thoughtful responses.
But first, let me ask you, how do you go about big decisions? Or maybe, let’s go back further and ask, how do you know you’re making a big decision?
Well, let’s deal first with the latter. One of my mentors and inspiration, Cate Stillman of Yogahealer, has a good piece about this. She said:
The kicker about big decisions is they cause you to pause. They scare the pants off you. You get a sinking feeling in your gut. Big decisions by their very nature will turn your world upside down. Big decisions must bring you out of your comfort zone. If they don’t, then they aren’t a big decision. (They’re a smaller decision, or simply a next logical step.)
And according to her, who has coached many in their health and career, the signs that you are making a big decision is that it’s either a decision that is a financial stretch or a decision that is a stretch for your time. Or both!
So when you have those big questions in front of you, going now to the former question, how do you go about it?
Well, I’d bet many of us (including myself) would spend days weighing it in. Of course, take all the time that you need; the power of the mind, remember? But sometimes thinking seems to get us nowhere. Even after days of analyzing the options, we can’t pinpoint what it is we want and what we ought to do.
So the next question is, how do we stop going around in circles? How can we be sure we’re not mistakenly rationalizing one option over others due to unfounded fear or just some hopeful thinking?
Being conscious and aware. Being present in the moment, and able to calmly observe and accept all your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Mindfulness is being able to pause, reflect, and listen to your inner wisdom. Focusing on the relevant information, know when to cut your losses, stay aware of your biases, and check your ego.
So now, here are some tips on how I and other people I’ve worked with have managed to mindfully wade through some of the biggest decisions we’ve done:
Let the water get still. Let the dust settle. Your slow, deliberate reflection can grant you clarity.
Mindfulness means taking your time. Of course, there are times when we don’t have the luxury that is time. So mindfully gauge your gut reaction. Otherwise, take the time you need to reflect on your priorities, your goals, and your values.
Accept that making important decisions can be hard.
As Cate said, if big decisions weren’t so big, they’d be easy to make. So instead of wishing a big decision were easier, honor the fact that it’s not, nor should it be. Embrace the thoughts and feelings you have as a testament to the significance of this crossroads.
Aim for integrity.
Be true to your authentic self. Hold firm on your purpose and values. If an option requires that you compromise any of it, or go against your nature, that should be a red flag.
Understand that there are many paths that can nurture your soul.
There’s no one way to your inner self. Like what we always talk about in the podcasts, people have gone through different travels and paths, in search of their true home that is the self. So when multiple options are “right,” but you’re forced to choose just one, you may feel angst contemplating “the path not taken.” But this angst doesn’t indicate the potential for a bad decision. It just means you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by viable options.
Trust the process.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s never a wrong decision. Even if you have regrets with hindsight, you can learn extremely valuable lessons from mistakes and failures—lessons that can lead you down a path of even greater fulfillment.
And this very process is a journey in itself. You’ll discover a lot of things about you, your wants, and your needs as you go through it. So if you’re contemplating a shift or a BIG plan for yourself, do these tips and take the plunge to whatever answer you came up with at any stage. One thing’s for sure, it’ll be one heck of a journey and you have all yourself to enjoy!