It’s safe to say that when it comes to major decisions (like changing careers or starting your own business) most people struggle to make up their mind. If you’re like any other normal human, you want to make sure you’re making the right decision. But… here’s the thing, you haven’t got a clue what the right decision is.
Should you quit the job you hate or just put up with it a little longer?
Should you take a temp or part time job whilst figuring out what you want to do with your life and career or do you take some time off?
Should you really start your own business or do you get a job at a startup first?
Whatever it is that you’re uncertain of, please don’t beat yourself up about it, it’s perfectly normal. In such a turbulent and uncertain time of your life, it makes sense to feel torn between various options and to be going back and forth between what you should be and could be doing. Your thoughts probably go at a thousand miles an hour and you feel utterly confused, right?
You want things to change, but aren’t sure which option will help you to get there. You’ve already done all the usual things you’re supposed to do when making a tough decision, like listing and balancing pros and cons, weighing up the possible outcomes and assessing how realistic these are. After all that, you still find yourself stuck and unable to make up your mind.
You’ve tried to listen to your intuition, but you’re feeling confused because you seem to be getting mixed messages. One day you’re sure you should be doing A, whereas the next day you’re convinced it’s actually B.
When you find yourself stuck, unable to make a decision, ask yourself the following two questions to understand what your intuition is telling you and get clarity about what you should be doing.
Which option(s) are you trying to ‘sell’ to yourself?
When there is more than one option on the table, people naturally tend to gravitate towards one option, but then counter-intuitively start to ‘sell’ the other option to themselves.
Let’s say you inexplicably feel or think you should go for option A, you start coming up with all sorts of reasons why option B is actually better. You’re practically – and this is important, subconsciously – trying to make option B look more favourable compared to option A, so it’s easier to ditch option A and go for option B. In situations like this, option A is your intuition. At a deeper level you ‘know’ option A is what you should be doing, but it’s scary, daunting, uncertain, unknown or simply just more difficult… so you come up with tons of reasons to make it easier and justified to ignore whatever your intuition is telling you.
It’s an extremely clever trick of your brain to encourage you to move away from potentially ‘dangerous’ situations, which was pretty essential for survival back in the old days when we were hunters and gatherers. In today’s world the meaning of dangerous has changed completely, but our brain still processes danger the way it used to. To your brain, danger is still danger and needs to be avoided at all times… so even though your intuition is telling you ‘A’, if it’s even slightly more ‘dangerous’ than option B, your brain will try to trick you into the latter.
It takes some practice, but when you learn to understand which option you’re trying to ‘sell’ to yourself, it becomes easer to make tough decisions – since you’ll instantly know what your intuition is telling you and what you should therefore do.
What would you regret not doing the most?
If you’re struggling to tell which option(s) you’re trying to ‘sell’ to yourself, ask yourself what you would regret not doing the most? With questions like this, it helps to turn it into a so called scaling question. It goes like this:
“On a scale of 1 – 10, how much would you regret not having done option A? 1 being lots and lots of regrets, 10 being no regrets at all.”
Ask yourself the same question for option B – and all the other options if you have more than 2 options on the table.
By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to gain clarity about what’s most important to you and what your heart is really telling you.
Learning to listen to your intuition isn’t always easy. Having said that, if you’re serious about chasing your passions and living life on your own terms and conditions, you will need to learn to let your intuition guide you.
There will be times when logical decision-making won’t work, or you’ll just end up going round and round in circles. At these moments, learn to ignore your logical self, understand what your intuition is telling you and then go and do exactly that.
It’s when the most exciting things will happen!