DO YOU REMEMBER the last time you struggled with a difficult choice or regretted not making a choice at all? We've all been there. I know firsthand that agonizing over decisions is emotionally exhausting, and wrong decisions can bring serious consequences and disappointment. It's no secret that our lives are, and will be, the result of our past and future decisions. Even with the few cases where we have no choice at all, such as our parents, we can still choose our attitudes, what we want, and what we are willing to do.
Since your choices can produce powerful and long-lasting rewards (or consequences), you definitely want to make more "good" ones. As an executive coach, I guide clients to make better choices and, in some situations, help them understand how to minimize the consequences of bad ones.To produce choices that can make your dreams come true, you must first know your dreams and where you want to be in life. Once your desires and priorities are clear, your choices are easier and create far better outcomes.
The following simplified exercises represent some of the best tools successful people use to make good choices. If you choose to use them, make several copies of the format before you proceed. Then every couple of days for the next few weeks, write your responses to the four listed statements of "What I Sincerely Want" Take a few moments to get centered each time. (When I do the exercises, I turn off the phones, take a few deep breaths, and pray for clear insight)
Your answers may be similar in response to more than one statement Go with your first impulse and don't be derailed by the "shoulds,""ought tos:' or opinions of others. If you're not true to yourself you'll regret it later. As William Shakespeare wrote,"To thine ownself be true."
Keep your responses, but do not look at them again them until you've done the exercise several times. It's important not to be influenced by what you have previously written.
View and / or print exersizes >>
After doing the above exercise 5 - 10 times, review your responses and look for a pattern. (The more you do the exercise, the more you'll learn about yourself.) Note the responses that appear most often. Those are your dreams and priorities. Choose your top two to four priorities, and record and review them regularly.
The next time you're faced with difficult choices, consider your dreams and priorities and ask yourself the questions in the second exercise.
To keep on track with your good choices, check out these 7 points of highly effective choice makers:
1. Remember it's okay if you feel scared when making new choices. The title of Susan Jeffers' popular book says it all: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Successful people admit to bouts of fear while moving forward.
2. A choice made under pressure is usually the wrong choice. You're not obligated to make rushed choices based on others' momentary demands. Give yourself the time you need. Unless it's a true emergency, simply say,"I need time to think about it"
3. Don't waste time berating yourself if, in spite of your best efforts, a decision turns out wrong. Absolutely no one is perfect, so learn something from the experience and move on.
4. If things don't pan out exactly in accord with your choice, be flexible. Not every choice is "meant to be." There may be a better option you had not seen before.
5. Celebrate each time you make the right choice by acting on it Making conscious, right choices is incredibly empowering!
6. Remind yourself that whether you make choices or not, it's still a choice.
7. And, finally, no matter what, remember you'll always have more dreams-come-true than those who never get their priorities and choices aligned.
It's your turn now to choose to live the life you want! I'm in your corner!
Note: Dr Sandy pursued a journey of "good" choices based on her top 3 determined dreams and priorities. Within 18 months, all 3 dreams were realized.
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