We’ve all had big decisions to make. Whether it is changing jobs, leaving a relationship, choosing a doctor, or moving to a new city, the one part of life that will always remain constant is change.
I have certainly experienced my fair share of major decisions including moving away from home at 17 years old to leaving my 7-year relationship to selling all of my belongings at age 37 and moving to a new country. I see my clients and friends struggling with similar choices every day.
The main reason that we feel stress at times of transition is because we fear the unknown. What if I make the wrong choice? What if this path leads me to a terrible place? What if I leave and I end up alone forever? What if this treatment doesn’t work and my illness gets worse? Why can’t I just be happy with what I have? Why can’t I make a decision? If you can you relate you’re certainly not alone.
The first thing that we need to understand is that fear, stress, and anxiety come only when we live in the past or the future. In the present moment all is well. Even if we’re struggling with an illness or going through a divorce, in the present moment everything is okay. It is our fear of dying or being alone or going broke at some future time that causes us turmoil. Or it is our memory of a similar experience that led us to a painful experience in the past. How then do we let go of fear while also getting clarity on which path to take when were faced with a fork in the road?
- Get Quiet - I often speak of meditation because it allows our minds to get still. When we get quiet and go inward, we begin to get internal guidance rather than external validation. This means that our spirit, intuition or that part that is all knowing speaks to us rather than being affected by the outside world.
- Baby Steps - While there is a time to remain still, there also comes a time when some action is better than none. If you’ve been feeling paralyzed or stagnant for an extended period, take a step. There is no wrong or right choice, just take the next logical step towards some type of change and you will be guided along the path. Often the big steps cannot come until you’ve taken the smaller ones first.
- Follow the Energy - If we can learn to follow the excitement and energy, we cannot be led astray. When faced with a fork in the road, simply picture yourself in both scenarios. Take a moment to feel what it will be like when you take the path on the left and then take some time to experience the one on the right. Which path brings you the most enthusiasm, excitement, and joy? Which decision feels most aligned with the biggest and best vision for your life? Which one forces you to become all that you can be and which one keeps you playing small? Does one push you outside of your comfort zone and the other keep you complacent?
- Trust Yourself - It is so easy to make ourselves wrong and to use past mistakes as a way of avoiding moving forward. When we can re-build trust within us and become our own best support systems, we begin to trust that WE know what’s best. We begin to let go of the need for others to tell us what to do and while we may still ask for advice, the ultimate decision will be made by us because deep down, we know the truth.
- Embrace Fear - We try very hard to get rid of fear. We have learned to push it away and to avoid facing it at all. When we understand that fear itself is an illusion of sorts and when we actually learn to embrace it, it no longer holds power over us. What if we began to love those dark parts of our self and faced it head on? I have seen people do this over and over again and eventually the very thing that causes fear begins to lose its power. What we resist persists. What we embrace begins to diminish.
- Take a Leap - Eventually we will look forward to taking the leap. Making big decisions will become easier and easier over time. When we learn that there is no wrong or right and when we can listen to that quiet voice inside of us, we realize that as we leap, the net will ALWAYS be there to catch us.
Making big decisions and constant change is inevitable but as we learn to navigate using our inner compass, we become much better at handling these transitions and trusting that they are leading us towards the grandest version of our life. Each of us has been brought here with unique gifts and talents to offer the world and when faced with a fork in the road, it simply means that we are being guided towards that ultimate place of inner power, fulfillment, and mission.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)