5 minute read
Let’s clear something up right out of the gate:
Being decisive does not equal being difficult.
For some reason, we have created a culture that usually pegs women who make decisions with confidence as being difficult; not playing for the team. We are selfish. We’re not considering everyone’s feelings. God knows that we can’t have that as our image, so we second-guess. We become anxious. We fear regret. We fear not being liked. We stare holes into ceilings at 3 am which results in facing the day a few hours later with mental and physical exhaustion. Do this enough, and our freak outs blur into burnouts, and we lose a total sense of self. We forget why we are here…but it’s okay because we’re not bothering anyone.
It’s time that we remember why we’re here and start bothering people. Because when you are true to yourself, decisions that you make will annoy people. Of course, it’s not your intention, but it’s bound to happen.
If you’re going to upset people, wouldn’t you rather bother them from a place of integrity rather than from a place of indecision?
One of them builds respect while the other erodes credibility. Wild guess which does what.
So, what’s the number one starting point in decision making?
Know yourself. Know yourself hard.
Build from the inside out. Who are you and what do you want? It may sound like a tall order, but it’s worth taking the time to do. Your livelihood depends on it and so does ours because once you are clear about who you are and what you want in the grand scheme of life, you can make every day and the ever big decisions from a place of integrity. They may not always be easy breezy, but they will be easier.
The problem is that we are in the thick of living at a time where instant gratification, external validation, and debilitating competition is at an all-time high. We knee-jerk into looking outside of ourselves to know how we are stacking up. Am I doing enough fun stuff? Am I working hard enough? Did I sound like an idiot? What did that eyebrow raise mean? Why is she so quiet? Why didn’t I get enough likes? Why didn’t she respond to my text? It’s been 2 minutes, C’mon!
We are told to be a team player and get involved, so we jump in before we even know why we showed up. The pressure to be part of something for the sake of fitting in is creating devastating results with no time to step back and check in with ourselves. After all, that would mean we’ll miss out on something. #nowayjose.
Anxiety is the new It kid, and we’re all striving, subconscious or not, to have our own Britney sized breakdowns. Because, hell, if you’re not mind-numbingly fried and anxious, ready to combust by the end of the day then what good are you?
Calm and steady have been given a Beyoncé size hip-check for the stadium packed center stage angsty jitters of unease and it’s ruining us at our core.
It drives me straight up bonkers, and yet still, I can relate. My consistent feeling of fogginess and loss came to an all-time high within the last few years. I had no real sense of self, and I felt like I was inside a snow globe being shaken up beyond my will. I felt trapped, and that wasn’t gonna fly.
So I decided to do two things: spend time alone and pay attention. Now for someone who is the farthest thing from a badass, this felt incredibly rebellious since the powers that be abide by The Mushroom Theory; keep them in the dark and feed them shit. (Thank you, Adrian Grenier, for this token of wisdom (17:15).) Lost between what I believed versus what I was being led to believe, I needed to make some drastic changes to take the reigns back and understand what I wanted and why.
“Confidence comes from stepping out of your own comfort zone and working towards goals that come from your own values and needs, goals that aren’t determined by society.”
I made a decision to go digging for mental gold in search of “The Big Why?”. I created an experiment of documenting why I was doing what I was doing. I set timers to see where my mind was focused. I paused to see if my intentions were from a place of fear or courage. I took timed breaks to stretch, go for walks, and meditate. I called myself out when needed and listened in for nuggets of truths that came to me clearly and gently. I took a month long hiatus from all social media (yes, creep-free). I began to pay solid attention. I made a pact with myself that I would bravely face decision making from an intimate place of center versus an external point of focus. The best part? I didn’t tell a soul. This was for me and me alone. Until now… I share this with you because it works. It clears away the muck so that you can uncover what has been there all along. And, if you’re lucky, you may even hear a fiery internal voice that says, “Hey, you found me! It’s about time.”*
Yes, it was incredibly uncomfortable at first but having already done the work on why I was doing this in the first place, it helped me stay on course. Once again, the power of intentions always leads the way. I began breaking the habit of looking outside of myself for answers and gave myself credit for slowing down and following internal hunches. I spent much time alone, and I began to be kinder to myself. This, in turn, led me to people who I formed rich personal and professional relationships with through choice and not out of obligation.
This technique as a whole is not for everyone, but if you’re interested at all, start small. Set a daily timer, ideally on a phone-free device so you stay focused, a few times a day. Stretch for five minutes. Go for a 10-minute walk. Breathe. Check in with yourself. All you need is you. The continued practice of it has allowed me to create a newfound, appreciation, respect, and loyalty to who I want to be and make sure I’m staying on the right path. Plus, a mini daily retreat? Sign. Me. Up.
The need for alone time is a common theme that runs through all of my writing and my life. The importance of spending time in solitude to reassess and course correct is not an option; it’s a requirement.
From this place, decisions are made that have to do with a deeper why. So, while at first, it may seem like a “selfish” act, we are teaching ourselves how to tap into a more vibrant part of ourselves that in the end will help us make decisions from core beliefs of our own creation. Then when we reenter the group, we are contributing and collaborating with more insight, truth, and love.
Will you be seen as difficult? Will you face disapproval? Will you disappoint people? Yes. This is inevitable and uncomfortable. However, once you align with who you are, these moments in life are easier to take. How do you know when you’re aligned? Oh, you’ll feel it, baby. And you’ll want more! There will still be times of tears and frustrations, but you will seek solace in knowing that you are anchored in something that no one can take away from you – a true sense of your self.
Inside Out (2015, Directors; Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen. After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.)
*Side note: If you decide to take a social media break, whether, for a day or more, it’s an incredible test to see what kind of hold it has on you and how to ease back into it with intention. If you’d like more tips here, please contact me. I’d be happy to share what worked for me.