For many years I struggled to claim my power of decision. MANY years. I waffled and went back and forth and talked all about my ideas with my friends as if talking about them would somehow make them real. But I had no idea how to make a decision that would lead to a result.
Even as I say this, I want to rationalize to you about how I was really effective at my job and I got things done easily. And then I imagine how much MORE effective I would have been had I known what I know now.
And knowing what to do in a job is so much easier than knowing what to do in your business. Because someone else has set the direction for you. Even if you are at a level at which you get to decide the direction for your company, in most companies there are checks and balances. There are goals and measures to hit that tell you that you’ve been successful in your job.
In business we have none of that. We get to invent it. We decide what we want life to look like and set the goals accordingly. This is ultimate freedom, right? Or is it? It can also paralyze.
Choices Lead to Freedom
I remember when I first started my business it didn’t take long to realize I needed to give myself a schedule. Endless days of no structure and ultimate possibility are actually really bad for my mental state. When I’ve got too much open space on my calendar I can quickly get depressed. Yet I was resistant to creating structure since I left my job for freedom. Can you relate?
What I found is that the more choices I made to define my schedule, the more free I actually felt on a day to day basis. I was free to make choices about whether to attend events or schedule ‘coffee dates’ because I knew I had time set aside for these things. I didn’t have to spend time emailing back and forth about plans because I knew that every Tuesday and Friday I had set aside to have lunch with partners or prospects, for example.
This is true also for making choices about what you want to create in your business.
Hard to Admit, Important to Remember
This is hard to admit but important to remember. About 12 years ago now I took a course in which I learned an approach to making things happen that today is so obvious and clear, yet at the time it completely confounded me. I spent a long time beating myself up in fact because I felt I had “failed” the course and I was terrible at failing.
The general premise is to start from your goal of what you want to create and work backward to what action you need to take today to make the goal happen. Pretty simple and straightforward, right? The problem was that it was all about creating an outcome that was unpredictable and something we’d never done before. So how do you make an action plan for something you’ve never done before?
Learning to Make a Real Decision
I was stuck because in order to create benchmarks for reaching a goal you’ve never reached, you need to know how to make a real decision.
The word decision comes from “de-cide” which literally means to kill off any other option. To decide means you are not leaving it open that it may go the way you want but it may not. You are deciding the way things are going to go and making the rest of the plan as if this were true.
If you’ve never done something before and it only exists in your imagination, how do you make that leap to operating as if it were true? This is where I struggled. I had lived in a world of proof and evidence. I had also allowed my choices to be dictated by popular opinion and what other people expected of me for so long I had never even considered the idea of deciding what I wanted and making it happen.
Calling on Faith
The difference between where I was then (I literally chose not to complete my project I created in that course because I just couldn’t “get it”) and where I am now is one small word – Faith.
Back then I literally had no faith in my power to create. I knew I could get a lot done, but I couldn’t imagine making a plan that involved assuming other people would do things that I had no control over. Or that the “Universe” would deliver the results I imagined. NONE. So I was paralyzed. I could see the next two steps I could take, and I could see the result I wanted, but I couldn’t imagine anything in between. I would sit there and say to myself, “But how do I KNOW how this step is going to work out?”
I got angry at the instructor and the whole idea. I thought it was a complete waste of time to map out a future that I couldn’t count on. And I hated wasting time. So I stopped. Until I worked out my faith muscle and learned that I could point the direction (with my desire as a guide) and hold the expectation of it happening by planning on it happening, and then attract the exact result I intended. It was not easy at first.
How Faith is Developed
What I have found is that faith is generally not developed in those times when you are sitting in class mapping out your plan. Faith is developed in what I call the “Hallways.”
The Hallways are the times when a door has closed (by your choice or someone else) and you’re waiting for the next one to open. For me it was death and divorce hitting all at once. It was during this time period (the proverbial dark night of the soul) that I developed faith – I had to, I needed it. I began to believe in a loving Universe that was supporting me in having the life that I wanted. I began to trust, because it was the only option to keep my head above water, that a greater force was indeed guiding me to better life.
It wasn’t until I began seeing and experiencing the unseen force that is greater than me that I began to have faith in making plans that felt greater than me. And I had to start there. I find this to be true with many of my clients that ‘problems’ help create faith. If you find your faith sooner, I love you for that – congratulations on your wisdom. For me desperation created faith, and for that I am forever grateful.
Today I am constantly making plans and declaring how things are going to go, because I trust my own inner knowing and I have complete faith in the Universe to partner with me on the next step (90% of the time anyway!) However you get there, please allow yourself to do this too. The world needs your genius – and doesn’t need you stuck in that loss of power.
I’d love to hear your strategies for co-creating what you want! Where did you develop faith? Please share below!