A few months ago, I was challenged by a situation that started to interrupt my spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional well-being. While this situation, at first glance, appeared to be minuscule, this sleeping giant eventually awoke, and all “heckzy” broke loose in my “not-so-perfect” career.
I’ll spare the details for another day, but have you ever been in a situation where you had to make an extremely difficult decision, and all solutions seemed impossible? Ok. Ok. I know. I know. We’ve all heard it before, the inspirational idiom of “nothing is impossible” so suck it up and stick it out -- which by the way was my first response to this challenging situation -- however, what if this time, suck it up and just deal with it, was not the best solution? What if there was another way? What if this time, work-life-balance, was something you really should consider, and this time, your course of action would result in a greater future?
That’s right, I said it, work-life-balance is real. To put it more simply, making the right decision is all about choosing between two or more courses of action to create balance. Here are a few questions to help you make the right decision:
What’s my gut saying?
When a situation becomes difficult, stop and assess the feeling that you’re experiencing. This inkling of nature is called intuition, or in my world I like to call it, “holy-spirit check.” Although people refer to it in a magical sense, intuition actually pulls past experiences and personal values into your foresight, to help you make a decision. Whether the decision is the right or wrong choice at the time, you will choose a path. Unfortunately, we have to make decisions all day long. Studies show the average adult makes about 35,000 decisions in one day. So how then, are we able to make the right decision? And how do we know when we’re making the wrong one?
Research shows wellness is much more than merely physical health, exercise, or nutrition. It’s the full integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Although our situations may be different, it’s worth the effort of taking your intuition or “gut” into account, when having to make the right decision. Try and assess whether your feelings are based on reality or preconceived notions of reality. Your gut could be emitting feelings from a previous relationship, or previous challenge faced as a child that never got a chance to mature; therefore, continue to seek within yourself to deal internally before trying to deal externally.
What are the consequences of my actions?
Considering the potential consequences to your actions is always a great place to start before making a decision. In my “not-so-perfect” career situation, I really had to think about the consequences of the decision I was going to make. Would I be able to survive financially? How would this make others feel? Is this abandonment? How do I feel? Am I protected? What about my clients?
My decision was not only going to affect me, it was going to affect my entire family (home and work) and my career track. To help make the right decision, I decided (decision #1) to think about what mattered most to me. I wanted to feel safe professionally and I wanted my family to be safe financially. I also wanted to be emotionally and intellectually safe. This particular situation felt like entrapment physically, and left me entangled in a net of instability. There were so many limitations on me physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally that I felt in order to gain safety in those areas, I had to leave. Now I’m not saying to run away from challenges you face, but sometimes, in order to grow you have to. Think of your consequences as actions that bring positive or negative outcomes affecting you, others, and the rest of the world (in that order).
Some actions bring anguish and pain, while others bring blessings and growth. I had to quickly assess my situation and determine what type of actions would result from the decision. Would this bless me or harm me? Will I feel safe staying or leaving? What can I control? What can’t I control? Though it cost me much time, energy, and resources in the short term, I was able to make the right decision, and focus on what mattered most to me, which at the time was safety.
Who do I inspire to be?
Character and Integrity defines my moral code and are my top two values. Hands down. Meaning: no exception to the rule. Growing up, I remember my mom saying to me: “You can do whatever, but the moment you disrespect me or your father, that’s it.” Now my mom wasn’t omitting all of the other rules established in my home, she was simply eluding to the fact that “Respect” hands down was #1. When faced with a difficult situation, try and question how this difficult thing will affect your personal values.
Difficult situations will always, always, I repeat always reveal your character. Some people will keep it all together and remain calm under pressure, while others turn into a rambunctious beast and lose control of their emotions very quickly. Both outcomes will play a major part in shaping the type of person you want to become.
Retaining your personal values and acting appropriately requires discipline, respect for others, an open mind, and the willingness to accept the consequences of one’s actions. Reactivity, indecisiveness, and offensive remarks in response to a conflict rarely turn out well, simply because it’s unethical, unreasonable, and requires lack of deliberation and wisdom. While I understand ethics and morals may not be meaningful to some, I hope you’re reading this post because you value others and want to make the right decision. If a course of action boosts your personal values and strengthens the “future you,” more than likely, you’re on the path to making the right decision.
What are you saying?
Some decisions require prioritizing between competing ethical values and professional principles, especially when the only viable option requires sacrifice of an ethical behavior over another. We can evaluate decisions by their consequences, their effects and defects on our character, and on how they affect others around us. At the end of the day, always act in a way that will create the greatest amount of good and the least amount of harm to the greatest number of people, even if you have to make that choice 35,000 times.
I hope this post encourages you to make the right decision. In the end, doing the right thing is a habit we all should cultivate with practice, succumbing to a future of societal well-being.
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