One of the many things that keeps us stuck and in our comfort zone is the fear of making the right decision. Often we don’t make a change we are contemplating because we are fearful. What if I make the wrong choice? What if it turns out to be a horrible mistake? What if everyone will hate me if I do X, Y or Z? However, when we hang on to something out of fear, even though we know at some level that it is time for a change, it isn’t really a comfort zone after all. The limbo of indecision can feel quite uncomfortable. And that discomfort is usually a sign that you are ready to make a change.
The question then becomes, what is the right path? If you have gotten as far as realizing that you want to make a change, then is there really a right or wrong decision path? Perhaps the outcome will not be what you expected—it often doesn’t go as planned. And it is quite possible that the outcome will be downright awful. Nonetheless that doesn’t make the decision wrong. Life is a journey with lots of dips and turns, yet no matter what decision you make, you will learn a lot. I like to think of all choices as perfect, even if they don’t always feel perfect. Although you can’t always undo a choice, quite often if you don’t like the outcome, you can make another change.
Perhaps you have had this experience: You made what felt like a wrong decision, but everything came out all right. For instance, I decided to join a group of executive coaches when I first left my corporate role. I love the work they do, but after I had signed on I felt nauseous. It took me several months after joining the group to fully realize that we were not the right matches for each other. It was an uncomfortable experience. And I am grateful that I went through the experience. It clarified what I wanted for my work—complete independence—but it gave me a safety net when I left my corporate gig. And my body knew before my head caught up that joining their group was wrong for me. What wonderful learning!
Usually when we are struggling to make a decision, we actually already know which way we want to go—we just fear that our want won’t match up to the reality of what we experience. So we stay stuck and waffle on the decision or we make a choice that doesn’t serve us. But if you are already at the point of waffling—hear this—you know what to do and you know that you are ready to make that choice. You just need a little push.
The push can come from your body if you tap into your body knowledge. My body knew that joining the coaching group wasn’t for me even though I ignored it for too long. Here is a method you can try. When you think of the choices you have in front of you—should I stay or leave your job, should I go on vacation or do a staycation, should I eat this or that, should I change fields or not—test how each option feels in your body.
For example, say you are considering whether or not to leave a job. First consider staying and notice any sensations in your body. Locate the body sensation and describe it. Do you feel tension in your chest or pain in your stomach or stress somewhere in your body? Or do you feel calm or relaxed or even find yourself smiling? Now contemplate your other option of leaving the position. Again locate the body sensation and describe it. Do you feel discomfort or do you feel wonderful? Usually the body is very adept at uncovering your true feelings about one choice over another. If you practice listening to your body, it can be very helpful for making choices in support of the life you want.
And the goal is most certainly to make choices that serve you. Make choices that help you to learn and grow and find joy and fulfillment and even make you stretch and feel uncomfortable at times. Just don’t feel trapped in a situation because you believe you have to make the absolutely right decision. Use your body senses and thoughts to help guide your choice, but realize that no matter what, your life will be fuller because you have ventured out of your comfort zone.