One of the areas I've worked on the most is around decision-making.
For years, I turned to other people to make my decisions for me. It made logical sense to reach out for advice when I wasn't sure how to proceed. Surely other people would be able to weigh in and guide me to the best decision!
Sometimes it felt like I was asking everyone I knew for their opinion before moving forward. I justified this as research-gathering, but it often led to me feeling overwhelmed by an array of differing opinions — not to mention a super slow decision-making process.
I often wondered, "Whose advice do I take?! Do I follow the route my parents suggest? My closest friends? My mentors? My colleagues?"
WHO TO GO TO FOR ADVICE
Finally, I stumbled across some powerful advice around who to go to for advice (ha!). Here it is:
Only take advice from people who have what you want.
If you want relationship advice, seek it out from someone whose relationship you admire and would like to emulate.
If you want career advice, get it from someone whose career path inspires you and who is clearly doing something they love.
If you want to experience more joy, and lead a happy, well-balanced life, reach out to someone who seems to have all of that figured out for themselves.
So now you know who to reach out to...but there's one more very important thing I must mention, because it's an even bigger missed opportunity if you're not currently doing it.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART
Above all else, at the end of the day, the person whose input matters the most is your own.
As a coach, I make a conscious effort to guide my clients to unveiling their own wisdom all the time. I intentionally ask questions and dig for answers that come from within them, to figure out what their soul is seeking and what life experiences they are most desiring. I never know the depths of someone's heart and mind like they do, and it's magical to see the inner awareness each person has when they're willing to dig a little deeper.
I once guided someone to their own inner knowing, only to hear them say, "Whoa...I've asked everyone I'm close with for advice but yours is by far the best!" Why? Because it was their own advice! When I shared this with them, their mind was pretty much blown.
Who ultimately knows what's best for you? You do.
I once heard that our loved ones want what's safest for us, but they don't always know what's best for us in terms of our own growth and development.
It makes sense that the people who love us don't want us to stray too far from safety. Yet something that may seem risky, scary, or even crazy to our friend, parent, child, or partner might be exactly what we need.
This comes up a lot when people make big life decisions, especially non-traditional ones. Things like...
- leaving a cushy, stable job to start your own business from scratch
- moving across the country, or leaving the country altogether
- selling/storing all of your things and becoming a nomad
- moving in with someone you met just months or even weeks ago
The people who care about us don't want us to get screwed over. Yet those big life stretch moments are often our most memorable and profound learning experiences.
CHECKING IN WITH YOURSELF
Getting into the habit of checking in with yourself and attuning to your own wisdom will change your life. Doing so is especially helpful if you ever find yourself going to lots of people for advice. It's an indicator that it's time to look inward when nobody else's advice feels right.
If you're like me, it might feel like using an entirely new muscle. To this day, I find it so tempting to take other people's advice and run with it. Yet I've learned that taking the time to determine what does and what doesn't feel aligned ultimately saves me a lot of time and energy in the long-run. No matter what anyone else thinks or what has worked for someone else, if it doesn't resonate with you, it won't work for you.
Eventually, you'll get to a point where you'll be able to seek advice from a trusted source and simultaneously check in with yourself as they present their suggestion. You'll know in the moment what feels aligned and what doesn't.
Do you currently go to everyone else for advice? Would you like to strengthen your own decision-making? If so, try it out:
1) Think of a decision you've been struggling with recently (i.e. whether or not to continue dating someone)
2) Bring to mind someone in your life who has this area of their life on lockdown (i.e. my college roommate, who is happily engaged to a kind, loving man she's extremely compatible with)
3) See if whoever comes to mind is open and available to talk sometime soon.
4) Use your time together to gain information vs. having them make the decision for you (i.e. asking how they knew their partner was the one vs. asking if you should stay with your boyfriend)
5) Take the information your friend gave you and sit with it.
**This is the most important step of all! You can skip steps 2-4 altogether, but DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP**
Find a quiet space where you won't be interrupted and feel how the information is landing in your body. Your body always knows how you feel before you're even mentally aware of how you feel.
Bring your decision to mind. You might be nervous to decide "yes" or "no" to the point where you're a bundle of nerves either way. That's okay. Beyond the nerves, consider which decision feels lighter and more true to you, and which decision feels heavier and more fear-based.
There will be one that feels more authentic to you, you just might have to tune inward longer than you're used to in order to come to this realization. It can also be helpful to share with a friend or coach who can stay neutral and listen and reflect as you talk through your thoughts.
6) Honor what feels truly aligned for you! Okay, so maybe this is the most important step 😃 Once you know what to do, there is no time to waste! Do not give yourself additional time to talk yourself out of your decision and taking action. You've already done all of the work up until now. It's time to follow through!
This can take practice, but I promise you, it gets easier.
Before you know it, you'll arrive at a place where you seek the wisdom of people you admire for information-gathering, not decision-making...because the only real decision-maker is you. And that, my friends, is an empowering place to be!
To your most aligned life,