Is Intentional decision making easy? Why do decisions matter? Every conscious and unconscious choice you make impacts your life and the lives of your family, friends, and everyone you meet.
“Your life is a reflection of every decision you have made and your future hinges on all the decisions you are going to make”.
Do you find yourself at intersections in your life stuck ruminating about which way to go, or choosing so quickly that you take a wrong turn? Making choices can be difficult and downright debilitating, exciting, and exhilarating or somewhere in between. Living life with intention is a choice and requires a lot of mindful decision making along the way. The challenge is most of us don’t give ourselves the time to pause and process long enough to make intentional decisions. So, why not pause more when you get to those important intersections in life and process your thoughts and emotions by practicing the art of self-study. Taking time to do introspection and embracing the self-discovery process is important but learning to do it through the lens of compassion, curiosity, and courage takes practice. Translation… it is not that easy. Often your thoughts can be clouded by judgment and fear, which can cause you to fight, flight, or freeze in your tracks. If you can stay in the moment long enough to do more inquiry and feel your way to greater awareness the dust will often settle, and the right path will become clear. Just the act of pausing and processing before taking immediate action will help you to live your life with greater intention. This works sometimes but…
Is it really that simple? Do you get stuck in rumination loops that seemed to be fueled by fear or uncertainty? Thoughts are powerful and when they get stuck in the land of self-doubt, it can be hard to break the negative cycle of thinking and you can find yourself wandering down the wrong path. However, you can choose to turn around and head in the other direction, but you must be aware of what is going on and have the desire to change your course. I invite you to ask, why is it important to break this vicious cycle, and how can I do it? First, it is important to know that your mind gets flooded with thoughts, which impact your emotions and influence the experience you are having in the moment, and gone unchallenged can dictate your thoughts and decisions which can feed split-second reactions. I wish there were a quick fix to break this cycle. One good course of action is to simply pause and breathe, in order to become more aware in the moment. This is a healthy strategy because awareness is the first step towards intentional change.
How can I be more proactive? What you feed your mind matters. Who is in your circle of trust, and how do you spend your time and energy are important questions to process. I also invite you to ask yourself, what I’m I feeding my mind? The person you listen to and hear the most is yourself, so it is probably a good idea to take notice of what you are saying. If your mind is filled with a boardroom of amazingly supportive people great, but if it is cluttered with negative thoughts from the “shitty committee” (thanks Vanessa for keeping it real with your label) it is probably worth taking notice. There is always going to be a battle and sometimes one that is raging inside your own mind between dark and light, faith and fear, and good and evil, but you ultimately get to decide which one guides your life. I love The Tale of Two Wolves because it illustrates poignantly what you feed your mind does matter.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, forgiveness, truth, compassion, and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which Wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Which Wolf are you going to feed?
This beautiful and sometimes messy thing called life is full of joy and sorrow, twists and turns, and it will require you to make choices every day. So, when you feel yourself feeding the dark wolf, try and pause and become more aware of what’s coming up for you. Rather than being critical, stay curious, remain open to new ways of processing what you are experiencing, and above all meet yourself with patience and kindness. Changing patterns of thinking and behavior is not easy but possible, so feed yourself things that bring you joy and fulfillment. Show yourself grace and compassion, trust yourself and the process, and have the courage to ask for help if you need it. To be human is to be vulnerable and to be vulnerable requires courage. You ultimately get to decide which wolf you choose to feed, so make the wise choice, because the quality of your life depends on it.
Learn how EHA is empowering individuals, leaders, teams, and organizations to THRIVE.