A while ago I was in a coaching session with my client and we were helping her get clarity around her next aligned step regarding her professional path. She had a few different ideas, but didn't know which one to choose: "I really want to get this right, but I'm torn between these three options. How do I know which one is the right choice?"
Just like my client, every now and then each of us will find ourselves at a crossroads in life, having to choose between 2 or 3 different directions.
staying in our current situation (relationship, job, career path, location) vs changing to a new one
leaving your current situation and choosing between different new options
Easy and not-so-easy decisions
Sometimes that decision will be clear as day and life is just going to pull you into one particular direction without you having to do much choosing.
I remember last year I received an invitation to join two of my ICM (Institute for Coaching Mastery) classmates in Spain for a virtual 4-day retreat that was taking place within the program.
At that time I had spoken to one of them twice and didn't know the other one, apart from seeing her on our weekly calls, but the pull was really strong and I just knew deep inside that this is what I wanted to experience. It was immediately a 100% yes for me and even though it was scary I bought my plane tickets within a week and ended up staying in Spain for 6 weeks. It was one of the most beautiful summers I've had and both classmates have now become close friends.
Other times the decision won't feel as clear or straightforward and you may feel stuck or find yourself going back and forth between different options.
When we're making big changes in our lives that can bring up a lot of fear and insecurity. That's why it's even more important to slow it down, look and work through whatever is coming up for us (doing the inner work, for example breathing and being with the sensation of fear for 90 seconds until it dissolves) BEFORE making that decision, so we can choose out of our power and freedom vs out of a scared, collapsed place.
💪 When we make our decision from our power we have access to our resourcefulness, we're hooked onto a higher source of intelligence, we are in flow, ideas and creativity drop in, and we see OPTIONS that we didn't see before...
😱 When we make our decisions from fear, we are more willing to settle for less and stay within our limitations because we think that that's safe, not seeing that there's so much more out there than we could have imagined…
Normally when we make important decisions, we rely heavily on our mind (we make pro & cons lists, analyse all the relevant information, etc.), but there's actually a deeper level of knowing that’s available to us that we can access through listening to our body (our emotions and sensations).
I always empower my clients to make an informed decision by including that deeper knowing into their decision-making process vs only analyzing the information because this will serve them in the long run. The mind is limited. Essence/ our deeper knowing is limitless.
👑 I'll give you another example from my life.
Years back I was deciding which university to choose for my Masters's Degree in the UK. I received acceptance letters to three universities in three different cities: Sheffield, Bournemouth, and Nottingham.
Choosing between them was tough. I made loooong lists of pros and cons and prices and accommodation (and everything else you could imagine 😁) to compare them, I thought and thought about them (and thought some more) and in the end, made a reasonable and rational decision based on my analysis (I choose Sheffield). I listened to my mind, not taking my body into account at all.
It made total sense on paper, but that decision didn't feel alive in my body (looking back now Bournemouth was my 100% yes!) and to be honest I found that year abroad very challenging. That was a huge lesson for me at the time: don't forget to include my body in the decision-making process!
Embodied Decision Making
If you're wondering how to do that, here's a fun and powerful somatic (body-centered) process we've been taught within the ICM, which is called Embodied Decision Making.
I invite you to do some inner work first and then try it out. It will help you access a knowing beyond your conscious mind (the body is the unconscious), recognize the subtle differences between how your body reacts to certain options, and show you experientially what lights up your body.
Our emotions/sensations are our guidance: we're wired in a way that what feels good is actually good for us so follow your joy and aliveness - that's your natural state!
If you want to try this out on your own, here's what to do:
1️⃣ Take 2-3 post-it notes (based on the number of options you're choosing from, but not more than 3) and write one option on each note. Put those three post-it notes next to each other on the floor and then step on the first one.
2️⃣ Give yourself a few moments and take in how it feels to be standing on that note. Imagine that this is your new reality.
How does it feel here?
What emotions, sensations, thoughts, and behaviors go with this option?
Really tune into your body and notice what’s present. Is it fear mixed with excitement? Is it worry? Does it feel heavy or light?
From 1-10 (10 being absolutely thrilling), how inviting is this option?
Trust your body.
3️⃣ Write it all down and when you’re ready do the same for options 2 and 3. Know that at this point you're just collecting information and not making any choices.
4️⃣ Now come back to what you've written down and experienced. What are your insights regarding your most aligned next step from doing this inquiry beyond the mind?
A few sidenotes
💫 Remember to always follow ease, joy, and lightness. And if you're a little scared but also excited about your choice - that's exactly where you want to be!
✍️ If you are worried about making a wrong choice, question whether you could ever make a wrong choice. Can you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that any of the choices you ever made were really wrong? Clear that misunderstanding so you're not run by your limitations and fears. There's a spiritual school of thought that believes that we're meant to learn our lessons and that we'll learn them either way, regardless of the road we take.
💯 Make sure your choice is a 100% yes for you! Doing this little experiment, even if it's just for a day or a week, will change your life (it did mine!). I practice this by buying clothes that are a 100% yes, saying yes only to things and experiences that are a 100% yes, going to places that are 100% yes, hanging out with people that are 100% yes! Imagine if you filled up your life with choices that were a 100% yes for you, how do you think you would feel? How do you think your life would be different? You don't have to believe me, just try it.
Let me know if this was helpful and how your experiment went - I’d love to hear your insights in the comments! 👇
With love & all my gratitude