If you have a hard decision to make — or an area where you aren’t sure WHICH path to take — keep reading. While being stuck in indecision can feel defeating, below are three questions to help you gain clarity, choose how to decide, and move forward with the option that’s best for you.
How to Decide: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself
What Would You Do if You Weren’t Afraid?
I learned the power of this question when I was 25 years old, debating whether or not to move across the country to New York City without barely knowing a soul there. I had spent the day apartment hunting, following a broker up dozens of stair wells, hopping on and off subways, and navigating the unfamiliar city, after an eventful red-eye flight in which the passenger next to me immediately downed four airplane bottles of vodka and woke up the entire plane over a faked medical emergency. It was an eventful day, to say the least.
As I lay on the floor of a friend-of-a-friend’s Brooklyn apartment, looking up at the ceiling while everyone else slept, I asked myself: “Could I really do this?” Could I really leave behind my friends and family and new boyfriend? Could I afford the high prices — the apartments that cost over twice what I was used to paying? Could I learn the subway system — the same one in which I had accidentally just taken the train to the Bronx instead of the opposite direction to Brooklyn? In the words of Frank Sinatra, could I make it here?
And then, and a thought surfaced: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
And instantly, I knew.
I would take the chance. I would make the friends. I would learn the subways. I would live out the dream I had in my heart since I was a little girl, taken aback by the lure of the big city for the first time.
My time in New York City turned out to be one of the most magical, wild, unexpected, exhausting, EVERYTHING memories of my life. I always smile looking back at that time. Because it was a lot, but I had never felt so alive.
And so, my dear reader, maybe the choice for you isn’t New York City or any city at all. But get silent, and ask yourself: What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
And there may be your answer. I know it was for me.
Do I Feel Expansive or Contracted?
In our culture, we spend so much time focused outside of our bodies — on social media, computers, iPhones, televisions, busy schedules — that it can be hard to distinguish, or even notice, that our bodies are speaking to us all the time. And they usually have an opinion on which path we choose and try to communicate it to us.
Whenever I’m faced with a tough decision, I try to get outside of my head and consider: Do I feel expansive or contracted when I think about this option?
Expansion feels like lightness. Like hope. Like peace. Like a rise in my body. Like excitement. I can still be nervous, but the nerves feel more like excitement than burdening anxiety. Expansion is a YES from the body.
Whereas, contraction feels like heaviness. A sinking. A tightening of the chest or shoulders. Maybe a clenching of the jaw or a congestion in the throat. Contraction feels like an uneasiness — a ‘not this way, something about this is off.’ Even if you aren’t sure why logically, something about the decision feels off. Contraction is a NO from the body.
So, when you think about saying YES, does your body agree with you? Do you feel expansive? I can’t explain why this works, but my intuition has never steered me wrong. Whereas, not listening to it has gotten me in all sorts of trouble.
Consult your mind, of course, but don’t discount your body. It’s wiser than you know.
What Would You Regret More?
There’s an 80-year-old version of yourself somewhere who is going to have all kinds of opinions about the things you did — or didn’t do. There will come a day when you dont’ have any more time to book the trip, write the book, experience the romance, or any other of your dreams. When you imagine that person, what will she regret more: going for it or not?
Yes, the idea of failure is scary. Losing your money. Embrassing yourself in front of others. Feeling the sting of rejection. But I have found that you can recover from almost anything, and even a wrong turn has a way of winding you to the right one. I’ve started businesses that I’ve had to pivot. I’ve racked up debts I’ve had to get out of. I’ve fallen in love and experienced heartbreak so crushing I’ve wanted to be on another planet.
But, I’m so proud of that girl for GOING for it. For taking the chance. For putting herself out there. For risking it all. For burning the boats. For being brave with her life. For trusting herself to get through anything. And THAT is what I want for you.
So when you think about this dream… about the decision to go for it or not… after you’ve made pros and cons lists until you’re blue in the face… it really comes down to:
What would you regret more? Going for it or wondering what could’ve been?
I hope these questions serve as guiding lights to your next right step. Staying in indecision can be a special kind of torture because there is nowhere to go — it feels like pergatory. So once you make a decision — even if it turns out to be epically wrong — you can at least take action. Move forward. Take the next right step. And wind up where you’re meant to be.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Do you feel expansive or contracted when thinking about taking the leap?
What would you regret more — going for it or wondering what if?
Let these guide you to a big, brave life of your dreams.
Ready for Your Biggest, Brightest Life?
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