Everyday I see people at a crossroads of change. It looks different for everyone (big life decisions, health, letting go of the past), but I’ve observed that there are people who consistently navigate change very well and those that stagnate on a regular basis. The funny thing is that they all are desiring a better life, so why do so many stumble along the way?
COMMIT AND GO
Early on I was fortunate enough to have a mentor that drilled this into me: success = decisiveness. The only wrong decision is simply not making one. What you can do is be prepared and informed, knowing that either choice will have things you are thankful for and things you regret, things that are hard and things that are easy. But the key is committing and not looking back - No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God – Luke 9:62.
By moving forward – even if you are failing forward (cue Michael Jordan) – you are succeeding, you are growing, you are changing. Need help making a decision? Consult Ben Franklin’s method. Don’t have time to deliberate? Then go with your gut, knowing that the trial lies more in making the decision than the outcome.
Personal Experience: As I was finishing up grad school, I spent the last 6 months agonizing over what to do when I finished. I could take a job and return to my hometown in Illinois, or I could move to North Carolina where I didn’t know anyone and open up a business. I made list upon list (and lists for my lists!), analyzing, deliberating, and ultimately worrying about what would happen. I didn’t trust myself to make the right decision, so I asked everyone I knew (not a helpful exercise). What did I accomplish with all this focused thought? Wasting a chunk of life by standing still. I returned to Illinois for a year, and then moved out here to NC and have not looked back since (which provided me with another lesson – there are times you do put all your eggs in one basket, because you will try harder. Don’t hedge against yourself).
IT IS LESS ABOUT YOU THAN YOU THINK
As part of human nature, we tend to make our decisions and our lives about how things affect us. Without a purpose we default to selfishness, which is myopic as it is hard to see outside of our own circumstance. Those who are truly successful devote themselves to a calling, a purpose, and make decisions that transcend themselves and support that purpose.
Example: The book of 1 Peter says that we are called to purpose, and tells us of Jesus’ purpose (He died for our sins so that we die to the power of sin’s deceit which tries to persuade us that a better future can be had through sin than through righteousness) and devotion to that purpose until the end. That kind of faithfulness changes the world.
When you remove yourself from the equation, it also serves to strip away conflicting emotions that you feel associated with the outcome. Your purpose and values can quickly determine what is congruent for you to do, eliminating the “tyranny of choice” that can be felt from having too many options. This has proven true for me time and time again, as I am prone to getting too wrapped in up my own head projecting what may happen with each possible choice. It is not until I remove my own attachment and emotional investment that my purpose shows me the way. Ironically, it seems like an epiphany every time this happens…you think I would have learned to get out of my own way by now!
What keeps you standing still in the face of change? What strategies do you use in decision making? Have a good story about failing forward? Continue the discussion in the comments below.