Has this ever happened to you? You know you need to make a move, but you don't know what that move should be?
I think it's safe to assume we've all been there, wishing someone would swoop into our lives and tell us what to do when we don't know what to do.
I've been in this situation. A lot. Last year it plagued me for months and it was Marianne Williamson who snapped me out of it. I wouldn't say she yelled at me (though I kind of perceived it that way at the time), but she was definitely stern and firm. I'll get to that.
Recently, I was interviewing Marisa McClellan for our Culinary Nutrition Conference and I asked her what the most challenging part of being self-employed was. She declared, "Having to constantly be making it up as I go." I loved this so much- it applies not just to those of us who are self-employed, abut also to those of us who are human.
Figuring out which way to go, what to choose, is never easy. Some of us are just better at faking it, better at going through life with grace, with ease, or at least making it look like it's easy.
And so when we find ourselves trying to figure out what to do, we start to ponder our options.
Doing nothing. Going nowhere.
This may seem like the best and most reliable option. It may seem like the easiest.
It's actually none of those things. When something needs to be done and we fear making a wrong decision and instead make no decision, we become a Wishywasherer. Being a Wishywasherer is the surest way to bring forth our own personal suffering. We think that by not making a decision, we eliminate the chance of a making a wrong one, and so by default we remain safe.
Wrong. When we don't make a decision, what we're actually doing is trying to hold the universe just as it is and this is impossible. We're mighty tiny. The universe is mighty grand. We let the contemplation over what to do keep spinning in our mind, and get a case of paralysis by analysis as we watch the world go by. We spend all of our energy trying to work out which way to look first that we never cross the street. We never get to the other side. We do nothing, we go nowhere, and create soul vacuuming stress in the process of stagnating ourselves.
What are our other options?
How do we gain enough courage to leap? Know these truths.
1. The Universe Is Self-Correcting
I hope you know this. There is really no such thing as a missed opportunity. There are new opportunities and there are different opportunities. When you make a decision at any given time, you are doing the best you can in that moment and so in that moment, you are doing the right thing. A little exercise I picked up from Deepak Chopra can be incredibly helpful in forcing us to see, based on facts, or at least our own perception of facts, that the universe is all in balance. Try this.
The Universal Correction Exercise
- On a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and on one side of the line write the heading "Good Decisions" and on the left side of the line, write the heading "Bad Decisions".
- On the "Good Decisions" side, write down three "good" decisions you've made in your life, leaving 3-5 rows below each.
- On the "Bad Decisions" side, write down three "bad" decisions you've made in your life, leaving 3-5 rows below each.
- Now, under each "Bad Decision", jot down 3-5 positive things that resulted from that atrocious decision.
- And under each "Good Decision", jot down 3-5 negative things that resulted from that most awesome decision.
- Marvel at how self-correcting the universe is and how the good is always weighed with the bad and mostly it's just a matter of perception and perspective.
If we train ourselves to stop resisting the way things are, and allow ourselves to move beyond stagnation, we will begin to experience repeatedly that we are in the flow of life. Sometimes that flow is easy and sometimes that flow is monkey balls, but all in all, we come out of it bigger, better, stronger and more awesome.
Try This: We make dozens of decisions every day. Take one. A small one, even. And consciously consider your options. Pick one and go with it - and for the rest of the day, consider how that decision has impacted the flow of your day, other decisions you make, interactions you have and all that jazz.
2. Positivity Is The Most Powerful Currency
The attitude we have going into any situation will dictate our experience during and after that experience. You can wake up and decide your day is going to be rough, and you'll most likely be spot on. The same goes with the flip side. When you find yourself in a situation where you don't know what to do, and you're at a cross roads, go forth with positivity. Going into any decision with a positive and open state of mind will invite your experience to be more positive and open. Our experience of life goes through our own personal filter. We can filter every experience through a positive screen or a negative one - and as such, the very same sequence of events can be experienced by us individually in a massive range of ways.
There have been studies out the hoo-ha that have proven the effects our attitude has on our experience of life, as well as on our physical health, which will also directly influence our experience of life. It's a cycle and we can be the driver of the cycle we want to be riding.
Try This: Set yourself up with reminders throughout your day to take a deep breath, drop your shoulders down, relax and smile. You've got this. You're rocking it and remind yourself that the universe is conspiring in your favour.
3. Dive In
When we were living in LA, my husband and I would go on Monday nights to see Marianne Williamson teach on A Course In Miracles. After her lectures, she invites guests to ask questions - and so I did. This resulted in Marianne Williamson making me cry. It's true.
I was in a situation where I didn't know what to do. I had a decision to make and despite meditating, visualizing, yoga-ing, watching sunsets, being positive and all that jazz, I was completely torn. And so I asked Marianne what to do - How do you know if the doubts you have are fear based, or if they are actually your gut telling you what to do?
When Marianne repeated my quandary back to me, I immediately heard how trivial and ridiculous it was. I also realized that what she was about to say was maybe the most truthful thing anyone had ever told me, which was this (or at least how I remember it):
"Whatever you decide your experience will be with this is the experience you will have. You can be miserable about the process or your can grow up, be the professional that you are, and dive in with your best efforts and your best work. It likely won't turn out exactly as you want it to, but that's part of the process of learning."
- loosely quoting Marianne Williamson as she put me in my place
At this point, I knew everything I needed to do and more. But she wasn't done.
"Isn't this what you've wanted?" was her final question to me.
And there it was. There it continues to be.
What do you do when you don't know what to do?
You dive in. I dive in. We dive in because when those decisions come to us, we are blessed. Our lives evolve in a such a way that they bring us to these decisions. We are blessed to be receiving an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve. We are blessed to be following in the flow of the universe. We are blessed to be made a little uncomfortable. We are blessed to be humbled and brought down and challenged, which is really just an invitation for us to gather our strength and rise higher.
What do you do when you don't know what to do? You take that leap, you dive in and you will fly higher than you ever imagined possible. And if that decision is before you, then you are ready to reach those heights.