cascading power of decision

I’ve talked about the power that making a single decision can have before. Probably many times. But I’m struck afresh by reminders all around me. Who says “struck afresh”? Me, apparently.

A year ago, I decided to take a job at a church. I had just finished up a job at a failed venture to launch an online coaching site similar to Better Help, but with coaches trained by a famous coach. There are so many things I could say about what I learned from that experience, but I’ll stick with my favorite question from last week – what did I learn about myself in that experience? I learned that a) I really should trust my intuition (and did I need that lesson again?) b) I’m happiest when I am not hampered by an unqualified “boss” (I found the nicest way to say that) and c) I like to make a difference. Good to know, right?

Anyway, after the job at the failed venture (aka expensive cluster f*ck) ended, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I knew that I wanted to do something with structure. I already knew that I need to be productive. I also knew that I did not want to go back to what I was doing before, but I didn’t have lots of energy yet to figure out the new. I was a little bit stuck. So I made a decision – to take the job at the church. Things were a mess and I knew I could restore order and that would meet my productivity habit.

As always, always, always happens in my life, once I made a single decision other options started appearing. In droves. It’s almost magical. Wait, I think it’s a law, like gravity or something. (That works, because it definitely impacts my experience of time.)

Anyway, as soon as I made that decision and acted on it, other things started rolling in. Things that I really would rather do – and so I added them in. I kept adding. And adding. Until a year later, I realized that my bag was too full and I was feeling overwhelmed. (Yes, life is a bit like a swinging pendulum.)

You know what I did then? I made another decision. I decided to let some things go to make room for the things that I really wanted – things like more coaching and facilitating and traveling and music and writing another book and swimming and cycling. Happy, not stuck.

Here are my three takeaways from this last year (on this topic, anyway).

  • The best way to get unstuck is to just make a decision, go with it and see where it takes us. That starts the chain reaction, casts the spell or invokes the law or whatever you want to call it.
  • From one decision, we will get a plethora (aka shit-ton) of choices – which gets us out of the binary thinking that makes us stuck. (stuck = I can’t move forward because what if I make the wrong choice?) The easiest way to find out what we really want, is to fill up our time with many varied things, with so many options that we realize we’ve crowded out the things that we don’t want! Then we get to make another decision or two!
  • Finally, there’s no point building a scenario of regrets. Very, very few decisions are actually as permanent or life changing as we fear. Understanding that we build our lives through a series of choices is enormously empowering. I think back some thirty-odd years ago when I decided to walk into a room and admit I was powerless over a drug and my life had become unmanageable. In that one decision, I got all of my power back. See? At any moment, we can change things by making  a new next decision.

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love, and light in the shadows,


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