I set out last week to write about how to simplify your thinking. How to enter a situation, dilemma or challenge with the belief that the answer is within your reach, and without the need for overthinking or overanalyzing. The answer falls somewhere within the intersection of mindset, belief and confidence, and as I started to write, I quickly found myself with what could be the first half a book (not really, but the length and content were definitely feeling more manuscript-like than blog post)… so consider this part one, the first of many musings on making decisions, big and small.
I think it’ll be ok.
I say this a lot. It doesn’t mean that things will magically fall into place and it is not a passive statement. When I say this I don’t mean go put your feet up and relax while waiting to see how the scenario will play out. The work of knowing who you are and knowing what you want is what fuels this process. I understand that by telling myself everything will be ok, I’m setting my subconscious up to deliver. I’m creating a mindset where no outcome will be disastrous… because as I’ve just said (MORE than once) it will be ok, and so at the end of the day it will be.
My assumption that things will work out is not blind hope and it’s not me burying my head in the sand. I understand the difference between hoping for the best with my fingers crossed and having confidence in myself to know that if a storm is coming, I can weather it. I don’t need to read everything on the internet to reassure myself of a decision, but that doesn’t mean I ignore facts or details. It’s not a lack of awareness that allows me to stay calm and keep a smile on my face, it’s a keen awareness that freaking out has literally not ever solved a single problem…
So if you don’t freak out about everything, WHAT DO YOU DO??
I make decisions quickly… Not rash decisions where consideration and contemplation are thrown by the wayside, but efficient – get to the point, decide and then move forward. I don’t like that in between stage, the hemming and hawing, the tossing and turning, pondering, contemplating… I may overthink on the execution for a bit longer than I should (that’s a topic for another day) but I think strategically and love to make a decision and set a plan in motion.
I tend to speak, think and act in a way that can sometimes seem aloof, unengaged, or dismissive… My “it’s fine” kind of attitude allows many of the worries of life to roll off my shoulders. It’s not arrogance and it’s not laziness, it’s just that, well, sometimes things really are simple! I approach most things with an assumption that everything will be ok, it takes so much of the worry away. It’s amazing how much your subconscious will delivery on the things you ask for… and so going into a situation with this mindset sets the stage for that outcome.
Last month I was out to lunch with a group of friends when one of them pulled Marie Forleo’s book out of her bag, singing its praises. I read the title and I immediately thought, “duh…. of course it is!” Everything is Figureoutable. That’s not even a word and yet this phrase has been my mantra my entire life. You don’t freak out about things when you believe, DEEP DOWN that you can figure sh*t out and fix any problem that comes along… That includes our own mistakes. That last piece is worthy of repeating – you can fix any problems that come along, EVEN the ones that are your own mistakes. This doesn’t mean, everything IS OK, this means that you have the ability to make things ok. When you know you can fix whatever nonsense comes your way, when you know that few things are permanent, the weight of each decision you make will lessen and lessen. It’s an enormously heavy burden to feel that every decision you make carries the weight of the world. If you approach a decision, an opportunity, a choice as if THIS IS IT and the wrong move will doom you forever then OF COURSE you’re going to freak out and overthink and overcomplicate and stall and delay and wait and seek outside approval. You’re going to waste time… and if you waste enough time assuming disaster, that’s usually what you get.
It’s about being resourceful. I grew up with a mother similar to Marie’s… she could fix ANYTHING! Seeing with my own eyes that the physical resources (before the google machine and YouTube videos) existed, instilled a confidence in the mental and emotional resources. I’ve seen it – I’ve seen a single mother with a Masters in Education (earned amongst countless jobs to pay the bills) fix a washing machine, tune up her car, repair a hot water heater (this one didn’t actually turn out so well for the hair on her arms or face, but we’ll let that one slide…). I know that sh*t can be fixed. And I play to my strengths of strategic thinking and looking to the future well enough to know that I have the mental resources to fix most situations.
By believing in myself and my abilities, I’m not typically seeking outside validation or input on my decisions. This doesn’t mean that I assume I know everything, and I don’t ever discount research or expert opinions. But I don’t need every piece of information, endless research or ALL OF THE ANSWERS to make a decision. I don’t need a million facts and data points to justify what I’m doing, I trust my instincts and I believe in my ability to course-correct as needed. I don’t waste valuable time staying on a path (or standing at a fork in the road) while possibility and opportunity pass me by. By overthinking, over-analyzing and waiting waiting WAITING for justification of the right answer to come from the outside world, we make our instincts irrelevant. Nothing good comes when we can’t even trust ourselves.
Like anything else, this is a learned behavior. I trust my instincts, and the more I trust them the more I can depend on them. I firmly believe that when I’m making a decision for myself or my family that if it feels right (and I mean RIGHT, not good, not convenient, not easy, but RIGHT) then it probably is. This goes for decisions big and small… When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we visited two venues, we met one photographer, one florist, one DJ. When we bought our first house we looked at 2 houses. When we bought our current house, it was the only one we saw. While the houses were obviously a bigger investment, when planning our wedding we took the stance that it was going to be a really really fun party, because we’re fun and our friends are fun, so the decisions about all of the other things were exciting but nothing for us to get bent out of shape about. When you take that attitude towards smaller things in life, it reinforces your ability to do this and makes it easier to repeat with the bigger things (jobs, businesses, relationships, KIDS).
Start small, make a decision, a ROCK solid decision where you trust your gut entirely, seek no outside validation and then pat yourself on the back.
One of my favorite people, my coach and mentor, Heather Quisel, posted this quote today and they are the words I live by… “The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.”