How to make good decisions that you don’t worry about later.
Life is a constant series of choices and decisions. Some decisions are small, including the never-ending series of daily decisions, such as:
Should the kids wash their hair today?
Should I wash my own hair today?
Should I eat that piece of chocolate cake?
Then there are the decisions that feel big, like:
Should I go back to work full-time, or part-time, or stay home with the baby?
Should I introduce by new boyfriend to my kids now?
Should I ask for a pay raise?
Should I go back to school?
HOW TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS THAT YOU DON’T WORRY ABOUT LATER
The big decisions can really mess with your inner peace. The big decisions leave you with this anxiety-provoking question:
WHAT IF I MAKE THE WRONG DECISION?
The anxiety that follows that question occurs not so much from asking that question (it’s a very reasonable question to ask). Instead, it comes from letting yourself spiral into a novel-length drama about how challenging life will be, and how damaged your kids might end up if your decision turns out to be the wrong one.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Rest assured you are not alone. I’ve been a life coach for over ten years so I know this type of catastrophising is common in women. It is particularly debilitating for mums who feel that it’s not only their life that will be adversely affected if they make the wrong decision, but their children’s lives as well.
HOW WOMEN MAKE DECISIONS
I also know these are the kinds of strategies women tend to employ to assist them in making the right decision:
- Weighing up the pros and cons
- Speaking with friends, including those who have previous experience in making the same decision
- Seeking advice/support from family members
- Creating a backup plan
- Speaking with relevant professionals/experts
- Researching and becoming educated on the topic
These are great strategies to adopt as part of the decision-making process. However, the women I encounter rarely need me to tell them to do them because these are the kinds of things women do naturally.
Many women are so good at doing research, they should probably we awarded a tertiary degree for the amount of knowledge gain on the topic.
Women are also great at gathering a tribe around them whom they can give support to and can call on for help when needed. Sure, there are some women who are not so great at requesting and/or accepting help, but on the whole, women tend to do this significantly better than men. And single mums, if they weren’t already good at asking for help before kids, have gotten better out of necessity.
Women are also great at chatting, aren’t we? Especially when we’ve got a big decision to make. At a minimum, these chats can provide an opportunity to clear our heads and increase oxytocin levels, both of which are conducive to better decision making.
HOW TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS THAT YOU DON’T WORRY ABOUT LATER
THE KEY TO POSITIVE DECISION MAKING
After ten years of coaching women, I know they’re not going to need much help to create a to-do list like the one above in order to feel good about their decisions. No, what they tend to need is either or both of these:
- Hitting the go button. In spite of how valuable it can be to get educated on a topic, women can also fall into the trap of ‘analysis paralysis’. They reach a point where there is likely no new information to be gathered and yet they’re struggling to make a final decision
- Surrendering to the decision they’ve made (i.e. not giving large amounts of time and energy to second (and third, and fourth, and fifth) guessing their decision once they have hit the go button.
THE CORE OF THE ISSUE
Underneath these two issues we find the core of the issue:
A lack of faith in your abilities to handle whatever arises from the decision.
Here’s what’s true, especially if you’re raising kids on your own … you’ve handled challenging situations in the past.
You may recollect that the way you handled past challenges was messy, imperfect or flawed. But that doesn’t change the fact that you handled those challenges and you learned from them.
You may also have recollections of handling past challenges in empowering, successful and courageous ways. In which case, there is no good excuse to be pessimistic about your ability to handle the current challenge.
Despite plenty of past evidence of handling past challenges, regardless of whether the handling of the challenge was messy or skilful, women still doubt themselves. They continue to default back to a need that is common to all of us to varying degrees:
The need for certainty, or a guarantee, that things will work out.
But here’s the thing …
THERE IS NO GUARANTEE
No matter how much time, energy or effort you put into the ‘good decision-making checklist’ we discussed above, you are never going to have certainty that the result will be as you hoped. You never have a guarantee that everything will work out. Just as you can never know for sure that things won’t work out.
Experiencing peace during the decision-making process and after having made a big decision requires two things:
- Faith that the results will be as you hoped
- Faith in your abilities to handle any outcome
I find it astounding how often women have seemingly forgotten, or simply disregarded, their ability to handle life’s challenges. When I probe them about their pasts, we inevitably discover and long list of examples of their ability to handle big life challenges.
TRY THIS TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS THAT YOU DON’T WORRY ABOUT LATER
You could do this too. List all the challenges you’ve already overcome and what you learned that makes you qualified to deal with all future challenges.
Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday your kids were taking their first steps or attending their first day of school? Life is too short to give any time to being unfaithful to yourself.
Instead, when it’s time for making big decisions, do a reasonable amount of research and due diligence, then put faith in your number one resource – you.
Keep faith that you’ve make the right decision and know that whatever happens, you’ll handle it, because you always do.