Whether you are planning a career change, are thinking of going back to work after spending time with the family or considering if you should start your own business big life decisions can sometimes feel too much to handle. You may feel there’s no point in thinking about your ‘bigger life’ when the next step and getting it right takes up all your energy.
Here are some messages I’ve received recently from our fantastic community, thank you for sending through your thoughts:
“I did a long career in hospitality and then decided to take a one year sabbatical. I thought I’d just go back to work and carry on where I left, but it’s more complex than that. I now want to evaluate also other options.”
“My career got suddenly interrupted due to an accident and I find it hard to motivate myself for the next step. I know I need a completely new strategy but I don’t know where to start.”
“I’m struggling to make a decision if I should go back to work or stay at home with my kids. None of the options seems ideal.”
I created this list to help you make those difficult 'life' decisions. I draw on everything I have learned in business and in life and also on the wisdom of thousands of women I have met at our events in the past five years. I have a good idea what strategies work for women who want to get out of a rut and are feeling stuck. Let's put them into action!
There’s no need to stay stuck, life's simply passing you by.
Here are the top 11 strategies for women who want to move forward and start making good decisions. Good-bye overwhelm and stagnation, hello ‘bigger life’!
1. You don’t have to make a perfect decision
It’s more important to make a good decision quickly than it is to find a perfect solution. Remember that when you start doing things the first decision will lead you to new avenues and you get to make more new decisions. I have been ‘wasting my time’ on seemingly wrong choices, like building a fashion tech start-up that didn’t eventually succeed. But being on a ‘wrong’ path did not only teach me a lot, it also made me even more convinced that the path I'm on now – to build DrivenWoman – is the right path. Even a step in the wrong direction is better than no steps at all!
2. Take the pressure off
If we only make one decision then there'll be a lot of pressure that it has to be right. Understandably a career choice is one of those seemingly ‘big’ decisions you’d like to get right from the outset. However, it’s not always possible. Accept that you may have to course correct and that’s ok. When you get used to making many small decisions constantly then you can take the pressure off from choices that go wrong. For example, if I was going to do just one video recording in my life it would better be perfect. But I have taken the view that in order to learn and grow I’ll have to make hundreds or perhaps thousands of videos and therefore I can give myself a break every time something goes wrong. It’s not about being sloppy, it’s about giving yourself a break and creating emotional space for learning.
3. Accept your journey in its entirety
You are in this crossroads for a reason. It’s easy to look back and start thinking that if I’d only done something differently then I’d already be in a different situation. Or to focus on past mistakes. Whatever the situation you're in right now it is exactly where you should be. Try to see how all your experiences (good and bad) can be useful moving forward. Many people have turned adversity or a struggle into success.
4. Make decisions out of opportunity, not fear
We all have heard the saying “what’s the worst that could happen”. I don’t like it because it comes from a place of fear rather than opportunity. Instead, try to picture the best case scenario. What is the BEST thing that could happen to you? Unless you are about to jump off a cliff, most bad case scenarios aren’t irrevocable. Nicola, a DrivenWoman member in Switzerland, was in the crossroads to accept (or not) a new job outside her comfort zone. She struggled to make a choice until she pictured what'd be the best that could happen for both scenarios. (She ended up taking the new job!)
5. Get clear on your values
Spend one hour getting clear on your values and how you want to live. It’s this lack of overall vision that makes it difficult to make key decisions about our direction. You can use this article about one of our key exercises - 'My Life Matrix' - to guide you. Marisa, a DrivenWoman member in Switzerland, told me in this video that as soon as she had gotten clear with her values and how she wanted to live she started making better decisions for herself (and found her dream job!).
6. Trust your intuition
Women are increasingly looking to create a life with a deeper meaning (= follow their heart), yet only using logic to make decisions. Sometimes it’s difficult to separate if it’s fear keeping you away from embracing opportunities (outside comfort zone) or intuition telling you this really is not your path. In this great video Marie Forleo shares 'four tests' you can use to know if to trust your intuition.
7. Rely on your past experiences
What has worked you before? Try to recall when you found yourself in a positive flow and things were happening easily. What talents were you using? What was the environment like? What kind of people were you working with? What was your role? It’s important to understand our ‘sweet spots’, those situations and environments where we are happy and function to our highest capacity.
8. Create the right environment
When you are running around like a headless chicken you are unlikely to make any decisions, good or bad. It’s easy to fall into a survival mode, pushing aside anything ‘extra’. This will create even more frustration as life seems to be passing you by. Try to create space for reflection and journaling. Go to a café or sit in the park. Lifeworking groups are there so that we have a safe space to reflect on our decisions and hear our inner voice.
Your body and soul already knows what you want but the mind is so busy making other plans that it’s impossible to hear your inner voice. If you want to follow your heart you should stop using your brain (too much)! Meditation cuts out the stories your mind is telling you and helps you to detach from the everyday hustle. Clear some space not only in your physical environment but also spiritually to make the right decision. Deepak Chopra has great guided meditations that I use daily to give myself a better chance to make the right choices as I move forward on my path.
10. Don’t follow other people's advice
I believe we often rely way too much on people around us or external gurus to guide us through life when the best teacher is already traveling within. Family and friends are biased and though probably want the best for you, they don’t always understand what is going on and why you need to make new choices. It’s good to talk to other people and to reflect, but don’t ask for their opinion. Try to find people with similar mindset with whom you can air your views and who can share their experiences in a very honest and vulnerable way and approach things without any judgement. Your local DrivenWoman group can also be great help!
11. Make a decision to make a decision
Even when you don’t know what you want you can still give yourself a tangible goal. Read this article ‘How To Set Goals When You Don’t Know What You Want’ for more tips. Many women ask me if it's ok to join a DrivenWoman group when they don't have a clear goal. Of course it is! If you feel like this you may not have realised that this is your goal -- your goal is to make a decision. By committing to starting your journey you will move from frustration to clarity and from procrastination to taking action.
To get started on your journey to a 'bigger life' join DrivenWoman's FREE community here: Doers Tribe, or find out more about Lifeworking here.