Archive for choices

How Now, Brown Cow?

Howdy!

Yesterday, I published a post entitled “Are You Playing the Tapes All the Way Through?” In it, I shared about an inner conflict I’d had and how I became clear about the way I could best to handle it. I also promised to give you seven additional strategies for getting clear about your best course of action when faced with multiple, conflicting choices. But I’m not going to do that…

I’m going to give you eight – nine in all! 🙂

Before I get to the list, though, I’m going to go ahead and give you your homework. Just as I suggested yesterday, please begin using these strategies right away. They’ll be useful for you all along your journey, but only if you remember them and how to put them into in play. Plus, using them will enable you to figure out which ones best fit your style. All of them won’t.

Now, here we go:

  1. Ask yourself which choice is more aligned with your long-term goals, and which is choice is more about getting what you want right now, or in the short-term,
  2. Check in with your Higher Power, whether you call that your Higher Self, the Divine within you, God, Goddess, the Universe, the Great Spirit, or some other entity or term more preferable to you. Listen closely, and then be willing to act on what you hear,
  3. Honestly contemplate how you’d expect to feel after having acted on each of the different choices, then be willing to give yourself the gift of acting on the one that genuinely feels the best (In case you missed it, this is the condensed version of yesterday’s “playing the tapes all the way through,”
  4. Imagine you are watching a movie in which you are the beloved heroine or hero, facing the same situation as you’re facing in real life. Ask yourself what decision you’d want your character to take, which course of action you think would do her or him the most good,
  5. Listen to the suggestions of your friends, certainly. Remember, though, that they are only suggestions, based on their own experiences and perspectives of how the world works. You get the final say,
  6. Ponder which choice will further you along the path of becoming who you want to be and creating the life you desire, and which choice(s) would take you in another direction entirely,
  7. Present the conflict to your inner board of advisors or your your inner wise counsel. This entity is made up of people you admire, dead or alive, real or fictional, such as Eleanor Roosevelt or your late grandfather, or like your mentor coach or Atticus Finch. They don’t even have to be people. Sometimes I think about what my dog Little Bit would do, or I check in with the deer or a favorite tree. Think about what you know or at least what you imagine to be true about these beings. Then, make up what you think they’d do in this situation, and thus would advise you to do, too,
  8. Reflect on why you want to do each of the choices, letting the different voices in your head have their say. (No, this doesn’t make you crazy – we all have voices in our heads!) Then, having heard from each member of your *Inside Team, take charge and make an executive decision, laying down the law about the the next step you’ve decided to take,
    Then last, and perhaps my favorite,
  9. Take the time to ponder which choice is the more loving one, and which is more of an indulgence. (Ouch. This one gets me every time.)

Gosh, who knew there were so many different ways to consider the most suitable choice when faced with a difficult (or even seemingly simple) decision? But that’s good. We want to be equipped with a variety of ways to handle inner conflict, because they do and will continue to happen.

Even though I was able to list nine strategies here, I’m certain there are more.

How do you choose what’s next for you when faced with two or more ways you could go? What do you use as the scale with which to weigh your options? I do hope you’ll comment below with your favorite techniques. I’d love to keep adding to my list, both for myself, my clients, and any others who might stop by True Voices’ Be You Out Loud blog for a little love and inspirationg.

One last thing: It may be scary to slow down, in order to make the right decision for you in the moment, but you’re worth it. Don’t think so? Trust me. I know.

OK, my lovely. Get ready, get set, get clear!

*Important note: The Inside Team is a fun and powerful coaching methodology, and the brain child of Master Certified Coach, Cynthia Loy Darst of the Coaches Training Institute, the Center for Right Relationship (CRR Global), and her own company she shares with her husband, Inspiration Point.

If you are an advanced coach, and you’re reading this post on the 17th of September, please know that there is an Inside Team Coach Training Course that starts today! It’s not too late to sign up. Just go to the Inside Team Coach Training Course page on Center for Right Relationship’s website by clicking here and check it out. I’d be willing to bet that if you see this within the week after the start date, and want to join the tele-training then, they would let you in then, too! And, even though I don’t get any money for signing you up for the course, I am one of the Inside Team Mentor Coaches. I would love to have you join me there!

And last but certainly not least…

Cynthia Loy Darst is wise beyond her years, and someone I’m grateful to be able to call my teacher, mentor, and friend. Check out her delightfully insightful and deeply moving TEDx talk here.

Are You Playing the Tapes All the Way Through?

Last night, as crazy as it sounds, I set my alarm for 4:00 am, and actually I got up when it went off. You may remember, in a previous post, I wrote about how, even though I hate getting up early in the morning, I love being up while most of the rest of this part of the world is sleeping.

But today was different.

You see, once I got up, had my steaming hazelnut coffee in hand, and sat down in the (not at all sunny) sun room, suddenly all I could think of was going back to the comfort of my bed instead. I felt as though it was calling to me in that ghostly-yet-angelic-singing kind of way, “Laaaaaura… Laaaaaaaaaura…”

I was conflicted.

On one hand, I could imagine how nice the bed would feel: the sheets so cool, the mattress so welcoming, the blanket so soft. And, of course, there was the additional three and a half hours of sleep to consider…

The name-calling got louder.

Then, instead of marching right back up those stairs, as though to the tune of a pied piper, I paused. Aware that I had at least two choices here, I leaned in for a moment to the idea of writing and meditating in my favorite chair, Dogberry loyally lying by my side, and the pitch black of not-yet-morning surrounding us, just past the many windows on three sides of the room.

First, I imagined how good it would feel to do what I had set out to do, and the reward I’d get from honoring the promise I’d made to myself. I also thought about why I wanted to be up in the first place: to honor my desire for quiet time (while awake) and to connect with myself in a way that I so seldom do in the light of day.

Ahhh.

Then, I thought of how I’d feel when I got up from having gone back to bed, and having not followed through on my promise to myself.

Ick.

You see, after I had thought through the choices to their likely conclusions, I knew what to do. I knew what I wanted for myself. I knew how I wanted to look back on this seemingly small yet pivotal moment. I also knew how I didn’t want to look back on it – as yet another time when I said I wanted to do something, made a promise to myself to do it, and then let myself down by not doing it after all.

So, how did I come to this decision, especially with the bed was calling to me like a beautiful Siren, singing her mesmerizing songs and luring me toward the rocks?

I “played the tapes all the way through.”

(I know, we rarely listen to tapes anymore, but bear with me. Instead of the looking at the literal meaning of the practically obsolete words, let’s explore their metaphorical meaning.)

I see the concept of “playing the tapes all the way through” as similar to how I might view an invitation from a friend, or narrow down what activities I might take on over the weekend, or on any particular work day. It’s an opportunity to fully consider my options, and to make the best decision for myself at that time.

How exactly do we do this?

There are just three steps:

1. We accept the opportunity presented to us as an invitation to create our lives more consciously rather than doing so by default.
2. We take a breath or two, and ponder the action or actions we’re contemplating taking.
3. We consider – and this is key – the likely eventual outcomes for the choices before us, and how we expect we might feel about those choices once we’ve acted on them.

It’s that simple!

Sure, in some instances, we can’t possibly know what the outcome of each choice might be. Most of the time, however, when we’re honest with ourselves, we can make a pretty darned good guess. And that was the case for me with this morning.

After I “played the tapes all the way through,” it was clear what the better choice was. As I said, I chose to stay up. It’s not that going back to bed was a bad choice. There were certainly benefits to follow the call of the bed. But staying up was right for me in that particular set of circumstances. How can I be so sure?

Our Values are Our True Divining Rods™

Our Values are Our True Divining Rods™

I was honoring my values.

By staying up and writing, dreaming, thinking, and feeling, I was aligned with my values of authenticity, connection, contribution, courage, creativity, integrity, and spirituality. Frankly, it’s not very often that all of my top values meet in one decision, but here they did,  hence the relative ease of this decision. More often, my values are separate from each other, and in an order of priority. It’s my job, then, to figure out what that order is. And sometimes, they are in direct conflict with each other. “Playing the tapes all the way through” is an excellent tool for me to use in that particular situation, too.

Can you see how remembering to “play the tapes all the way through” can be helpful to you, too? I hope so. And my assignment to you is to use this tool right away, no matter how large or small the decision. This way, it can become a habit, and eventually, even be second nature to you. And won’t that be nice?

But what if I don’t know what my values are?

Don’t worry! I’ll be writing soon about what values are (and aren’t) and even more about how we can use them in our lives. For now, though, know that I’ll be back tomorrow with seven more strategies for arriving at the best choice for ourselves in situations of internal conflict.

Until then, don’t forget to imagine that we still use tapes, and then “play them all the way through!”

A Post Script of Two More Things to Remember:

1. This is just one example of how our world, our circumstances, our thoughts, and feelings offer us friendly invitations. They invite us to  to dip below the surface of the actions we take without thinking. And thus, by taking this deep dive, we can live fuller, more meaningful lives.

In the example above, I had a choice to make. It wasn’t a life or death situation, but I answered the invitation to go deeper. As a result of that process, and of doing what was revealed to me as the right course of action, I know myself better. In addition, I felt rewarded by my decision to listen to myself and for my motives, and raised my levels of self-trust and self-esteem.

2. And finally, know that these invitations do not demand our attention, nor are we expected to answer them. There’s no need to put that kind of pressure on ourselves. They’re there for us, however, should we choose to remember the age-old adage of  “watch, look, and listen,” and then step out into the world more confident, knowing that we are aligned with authentic selves.

I look forward to hearing what you think, and to seeing you tomorrow!

Eleanor Roosevelt, Goddess of Authenticity and Courage

I have been re-reading one of my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt biographies, Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way, and seriously, this woman rocked!  Hence, I see her as a great choice with whom to kick off Women’s History Month (after my mom, of course)!

I am not going to even begin to think that I can do her justice here, in a little ol’ blog post.  What I am going to do is point you over to her page on Wikipedia.  First, however, I am going to list only some of the many great things she is quoted as having said.  Enjoy!

  • Courage is more exhilarating than fear, and in the long run, it is easier.  We do not have to become heroes overnight.  Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.
  • Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
  • Friendship with one’s self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
  • I you have something to say, you can say it.
  • I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.
  • In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
  • It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
  • One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.
  • People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.
  • Readjustment is a kind of private revolution.
  • Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.
  • The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
  • We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.
  • What matters now, as always, is not what we can’t do:  it is what we can and must do.
  • When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
  • When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
  • Work is easier to carry when your heart is involved.
  • Women are like tea bags – you can’t tell how strong they are until you put them in hot water.
  • Women, whether subtly or vociferously, have always been a tremendous power in the destiny of the world.