My client was out of sorts. Her face looked normal, but her voice was an octave higher than usual and she couldn’t get comfortable in her seat.
“I just need to make the decision already.” she angsted. “But what if I make the wrong choice?”
This has been a running theme with many of my clients this summer. There is the pressure to make a choice coupled with the paralyzing fear of making a mistake.
It’s not a good feeling, as I’m sure you know.
My question back is: “What if there is no wrong choice?”
This usually startles them, and it is meant to.
Most people are taught from a very young age that they have to get things right. Being right is held above all else and we are told that wrong decisions will come back to haunt us. It is said that you can miss the boat if you don’t make the proper choice.
But I disagree with this narrow view of decision making. So today I want to question conventional wisdom and ask you to see things from a larger perspective.
The way I prefer to look at decisions is this:
You either win or you learn.
There is no losing or failing or getting it wrong. If it doesn’t work out, there is only learning. You are given the opportunity to shift gears in real time or do it differently the next time.
There is learning in this. Growth.
And let’s face it–don’t we learn our greatest lessons from our biggest “mistakes?”
Did Thomas Edison fail every time he didn’t get the lightbulb to light? Or did he learn from each attempt? What if on one of the hundreds of times it didn’t work, he said “I failed. Better stop now.” Someone else would be famous for his discovery.
Doesn’t having this approach feel more gentle and take some of the pressure off?
If it still feels scary, remind yourself that even after you have made the decision, you can course correct if you need to. You also have the capacity to make the most of situations even when they go haywire.
If 90% of everything you experience is the attitude you bring to it, how much downside is there anyway?
There is a video making the rounds on Facebook right now of the founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely. If you are unfamiliar with Sara, she is the youngest self made billionaire in history.
In the video, Sara talks about how growing up her father would come to the dinner table each night and ask, “What did you fail at today?” and that he was disappointed if she didn’t have a failure to share. Sara learned that failure was not something to fear.
The thing to fear was not trying.
In Sara’s family, to try and fail was to stretch yourself further than you had the day before. Failing big meant a huge stretch and was something to be celebrated.
Is it any wonder that Sara wasn’t afraid to create a new product, get it manufactured and put it out into the world? And look how nicely it turned out.
So if you have been waffling about a decision, I hope this new perspective helps give you the confidence to make a choice and not worry too much about it.
If you are struggling with something particular and want to get a better handle on how you really feel about the options, I wrote about an excellent exercise you can use HERE.
But no matter what you choose, remember, you can’t get it wrong and there will always be another boat. Really.
In order to change your life, you must first change your mind.