We are all given so many opportunities in our lives to take action in a big way. One of the challenges that come with those opportunities is the fear that this action will dramatically change things.
When we are faced with a choice that could have lasting repercussions, how do we know when to take the leap and when to stay put?
While I am not a soothsayer and I do not pretend to have any answers for anyone’s life other than my own, what I can offer is what I have seen so many women grapple with as they sort out big decisions. When new opportunities come to our door, they often bring the same party favors with them: self-doubt, fear, and guilt are common accompaniments.
We worry that we won’t have what it takes, what will happen if it doesn’t work out. We feel guilty for contemplating decisions that might upset those around us.
When all of those fuzzy feelings come to the door, it can be very difficult to think clearly and decide whether to act. In those instances, I work with my clients to start getting very clear on what it will cost them to act or not to act. In any choice that we make, there will be pros and cons. There will be consequences of many varieties, even when the opportunity seems too good to be true. In those instances, we have to consider what we gain by acting.
What could we gain if we try and end up failing?
What could we gain if we end up succeeding?
What does it cost you to NOT act?
The answers to these questions are something we all must answer for ourselves but these questions force us to look beyond the negative feelings that accompany change.
Fear, self-doubt, and guilt are all parts of the bargain when we choose to make changes — those feelings do not mean you are doing it wrong.
But we must set those feelings aside and focus on weighing the costs. For instance, when we know with certainty that staying in our current job or relationship will stifle our development and we can see what taking a risk will force us to grow and develop in new ways, we then have the assets we need to push through those negative feelings and take the leap.
When we have clarity about what is at stake with every new decision, that clarity will light the path when things get murky (because they will). That clarity will allow you to keep moving.
So when all those wonderful feelings meet you at the door of opportunity — self-doubt, fear, and guilt — invite them to sit down at the table because they will most certainly be coming along for the ride.
That is simply the price of evolving.
We have to ignore those feelings in the short term so that we can truly focus on and weigh the options ahead of us and make an intentional rather than an emotional decision.