At a recent DrivenWoman meeting in Zurich we discussed what it takes to make good decisions.
Good decision making is like a bucket. You have a certain amount of decisions your brain is able to make in any one day. This may go up or down based on your energy levels and other factors, but essentially you start your day with a bucket full of decision making possibilities.
During the day you use up those possibilities and if you waste your bucket's content on non-critical decision making, such as what to wear, your capability of making good decisions when it matters is reduced. This is why leaders and thinkers from Steve Jobs to Albert Einstein always wear the same type of shirt as it eliminates a need to make a decision. They want to spend their brainpower on more important tasks.
Let's apply the same bucket theory to discovering your purpose.
Many women join DrivenWoman as they want to find a new direction, a dream worth pursuing. Call it a desire to follow your heart, our lives feel more fulfilled when we do something that connects us to a greater cause, something bigger than ourselves and we feel we can be useful to the Universe.
As a major 'doer' I used to fill my days with a lot of doing. I was very proud of the fact that I got a lot of things done. And my 'bucket' was simply full to the rims. But at some point I realised that filling up the bucket was neither hard nor important. It's easy to make yourself busy! What was going to be more important, however, was to fill up the bucket with things that I felt genuinely passionate about and that aligned with who I was and what I was capable of doing.
So I started assessing the elements in my bucket carefully. I have recently done a big clear out of my bucket and taken out everything that is not fully 'me'. I noticed that I had put in a lot of stuff that was suggested by my ego. Ego is a real expert in filling up your buckets, by the way! (Just take a peak at your bucket and you will see what I mean.)
My ideas and dreams were limited to the content of my bucket and when it was full of old stuff, that was reflected in the quality of my dreams.
I now realise that our capacity to dream, to come up with ideas and see the future in an exciting light is limited. It is like a bucket. When our capacity is full it's full.
Julia wrote last week about drifting and how she used to fill her day up with tasks that were important to others. She was very busy doing that and her bucket was full of all sorts of stuff that had been put in by other people.
Her bucket was full of other people's dreams and she couldn't dream up her own future.
If you are keen to find more meaning in your life you have to start by emptying your bucket a little. Take out things that are not truly important to you, assess the content of your bucket based on what resonates with you.
Allowing for empty spaces might mean going for a walk in the forest instead of volunteering to host a cake sale at your local school. This might sound selfish but you have to be a little selfish when you start to make space for your dreams. Don't expect your purpose simply to appear in the midst of the same old stuff.
Start taking out items that are not aligned with you and leave empty space for dreams and ideas to appear. It may feel like a slightly scary process at first as you will have to trust the unknown but it is the only way to slowly fill your bucket up with things that excite you, instead of things that drain you.
Don't fill up your capacity to the absolute maximum. Don't fill up your day from start to finish. It's a way to make yourself so busy and that's a great way to escape who you really are and what you could be.
My bucket is starting to look a lot better now and I'm going to keep only filling in things that are deeply important to me.
What exciting things would you like to find in your bucket one day?