Have you ever faced making a choice that would have a big impact on your career? A choice you felt drawn to, but that seemed maybe the less conventional (or unpopular) choice?
Maybe you’ve faced a situation in which you had to reexamine how you talk about your skills to an employer or how you communicate your work in the world (so that people can connect the dots and hire you).
Perhaps you’ve faced important personal decisions or crossroads that weigh not just on you, but on the people you love.
Of course, all of these situations are choices or dilemmas that merit serious thinking and consideration. (And they are ones that my clients have faced recently, too.)
We talk a lot about thinking our way through the big decisions. We make pros and cons charts. We use our best logic. We crowdsource answers from everyone we know (what would you do?). We try to outrun doubt by using our best tricks.
But I believe the real work is done when we connect our way to the answer.
Confusion is often disconnection. From ourselves. From what we want. From what we know to be true.
How connected are you? When examining a big decision, consider doing a connection check-in with a few important areas:
Your core values. What truly matters to you? Examine how your decision will align– or not align– with what you hold most dear and true in your life.
Your decision criteria. Have you outlined specific criteria that you need to have met? How well does each potential path meet those criteria?
Your personal definition of success. This one can require some bravery in setting out what success means– to you, not to someone else, to your extended family or your industry. And weighing your decision against this can be a big eye opener.
Your body. How do you feel in your body when you weigh one choice against another choice? Tense? Relaxed? Joyous? Relieved? Nauseous? Walk yourself down your potential paths and watch your body respond.
Your future self. What if you took one road over another, what’s life like from that vantage point? What advice might the 20-years-from-now you give you on this choice?
Your vision. Which of the potential paths lines up with your future vision? Which doesn’t?
Your emotions. How do you feel about the decisions facing you? Experiment with taking one or more choices off the table, and take an honest inventory of how you feel.
Your story. What are you telling yourself about the decision you’re needing to make and the various options before you?
Your spirit. What do you know about your decision when you’re feeling grounded and plugged into something larger than your indecision? What does your knowing tell you?
Connecting with yourself is the most powerful thing you can do before making any significant decision– at work or at home. Sometimes, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. We might need help getting clear with ourselves. We might need to talk it through. But that’s all fine.
Connect. Plug into yourself first. Decide later.