Decisions, decisions

Photo courtesy of Lori Greig (Creative CommonsO

Photo courtesy of Lori Greig (Creative Commons)

How do you make the large decisions in your life? And who do you turn to for counsel?

I admit I’ve recently grappled with a pretty large decision that I did not want to mess up. I wanted to be sure to make the logical, informed, best decision I could, taking into consideration all the options and implications. I also wanted to find a balance between making a rash, impulsive choice and dragging my feet so long that I missed the opportunity.

I actually started in prayer, asking God for clarity and reason.

Then I wrote down as much as I could think of that was good and bad. I know people always tell you to do that, and I’ve thought through those things for previous decisions, but this time, I actually wrote it out on paper – with a pen. There seemed to be something very important about doing it that way even as opposed to using my computer.

There were some obvious things in the plus column, a lot of things, actually. But there were also a couple of large drawbacks, which could potentially loom large down the road. I took time to keep coming back to my list, and reviewing both columns until I felt comfortable that I had captured the majority of the elements related to the decision.

Part of what I laid out for myself was the range of impact – both with the team I would be working with and the people we would interact with. There were also short- and long-term effects to consider – how would decisions and changes we make now play out down the road? Would I be using my strengths and skills to a greater degree? What would be some of the challenges that would come into play that might make me fail and some options to counteract that? Was I comfortable with the chain of command both up and down?

These were all questions I considered, but not alone. I have a couple of people who know me probably better than I know myself, and I bounced these things off them as well. It is so easy to get tunnel-vision, seeing only some aspects of the situation, but I trusted them to remind me of the full range of possibilities – even if only to help me realize that something I might have been thinking of as a huge minus, wasn’t such a big deal after all, and vice versa.

One of the most important elements, even more so than listing things in the plus and minus columns, came back to my personal mission. My mission is to “positively impact those around me through connections and service and live with no regrets by kicking Fear in the face every day.”

When I brought my decision back to whether or not these choices would help me live into my mission, it was a pretty straightforward choice. I had to make the decision that best adheres to my mission – that had the potential to positively impact the most people, and that would have repercussions far into the future in terms of creating a better life for those touched – whether that’s my own team or those we serve. And yes, it scares me silly – but I feel like it’s the best thing for me to be leaning into now and I’ll just have to keep kicking!

The sense of peace I feel at having made my decision helps me to know that it was the right one.