Be in the Flow – Follow Your Path!

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Decisions, decisions – what can you do?

Decisions, decisions – What can you do?

We are all faced with 100s of decisions every day. How easily we decide and move on may make all the difference between a “smooth” day and one with anguish. The more Decision-Making-Frameworks we have, the better our day tends to go.

Take the mail for example: Mail carrier delivers mail. You bring it into your home. How do you deal with it? Are there things you can immediately

  • Recycle
  • Shred
  • Things to follow up later that you decide right now when and how they will be taken care of
    • Bills to pay on a certain date
    • Letters to answer and time scheduled on your calendar to write
    • Magazines to read and when and where you will read them

Do you have anything left over that you are undecided about? That may become clutter. Soooo, one of my definitions of clutter is “deferred decisions”.

So, how do we create Decision-Making-Frameworks?

Story: Hey Ref!!

I am a soccer referee. You won’t find me on national television reffing a championship game, but you might find me on a pint sized soccer field. So? What does that have to do with Decision-Making-Frameworks?

The job of a referee is to make decisions – lots of decisions – throughout the entire game. You cannot delay a decision until tomorrow or even think about it for a few minutes. So you have to have a Decision-Making-Framework. It looks something like this:

  1. Is there a situation that requires a decision to be made by the referee?
  2. Make a decision in accordance with the “laws of the game”. Easy! Easy? That’s where the trouble starts. There are only 17 laws of the game. The laws are modifiable by each league and vary based on age. The level of enforcement or leniency may change by age. In the end each referee develops their personal style of refereeing within those laws. Consistency and neutrality is key.
  3. There is no pause or instant replay on a live game. Either the referee catches what just happened anywhere on the field or she didn’t. Meanwhile she runs back and forth, trying to anticipate and be in the best position to see what happens.
  4. When the ball goes out of play, everyone expects the referee to instantly decide how to restart the game. And of course there is a biased audience. Invariably there is someone who is vocal or even hostile if they believe the referee has made a mistake against their team.

Conclusion: as a referee you are in front of a potentially hostile audience who is watching your every move and lets you know if they disagree with your decisions. You are expected to see everything, and make instant decisions that are correct – every time.

Next time you watch a sporting event – please have mercy for the referee. They are human.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

Become aware of your conscious and unconscious beliefs that influence your decision-making.

What if you believe that “knowledge is power”?

Back to our mail example. There may be interesting reading material, an offer to buy some educational material, an offer for something that might be of interest. Your belief may interfere with your ability to decide to let go of a piece of paper and cause your reading piles to get bigger and bigger.

What are some beliefs that may interfere with healthy decision-making:

  • Knowledge is Power (growing reading piles)
  • Waste not, want not (keeping things you no longer need)
  • Money is the root of all evil (trouble with saving money)
  • Expecting things to be perfect (constantly finding fault)
  • Things “should” be this way or that way (frustrated with others)
  • … Insert yours here

You may have conflicting beliefs that keep you stuck. Often limited time or money is seen as the culprit, when in fact decision-making and priority management might take care of some of the conflicts.

Become conscious about your priorities and values, then value-based decisions become easier with practice and consistency. These then form our Decision-Making-Frameworks.

Taking it Farther:

Create your own Decision-Making-Frameworks. You may start by seeing what you do now. Create a flowchart of your decision making process like this example.

DecisionFLowchart

Once you see what you do now, you can see where you get stuck. That’s where you may have beliefs or conflicts that interfere with your decisiveness. As you gain clarity, you will have more things you can decide easily. Discovering your beliefs and conflicts may require help.

Contact me:

Want more help? I’m here for you. Tired of holding yourself back? Get relief! Call to get yourself into coaching and get where you want to go faster. Have questions? Call to get answers. Edith at 847.913.3900

Perfectionism – Does it have to be a “Life Sentence”?

Perfectionism – Does it have to be a “Life Sentence”?

Are you a perfectionist? Does everything have to be “just so”? Are you afraid of making mistakes, of being wrong, of being blamed? Are you your own harshest critic?

One of Webster’s definitions for perfectionism is: “a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable”.

If this feels like you, then you might feel
• fear of making a mistake
• fear of making decisions
• prefer procrastination and inaction to “wrong” action
• fear of being wrong
• fear of being found out or admitting a mistake
• fear of being punished for making a mistake
• fear of self judgment and harsh self criticism
• fear of seeing mistakes in others, especially people you care about
• condemnation of others’ mistakes and a sense of self righteousness

What’s the source of that? Let’s look into where we learned criticism, judgment and to condemn —- and how much it hurt. Maybe as children we just wanted to be loved. So we had to be perfect – as often as possible – or so we thought.

Do you feel guilty; that “it” is your fault? IF you had just been more perfect, then things would be different? Children often blame themselves for something they had no influence or responsibility for. Have you?

Story – My uncle died. I was sure it was my fault

When I was young – may be in first or second grade, my uncle died in a car crash. Technically he was my Mom’s uncle. He was one of the most important people in my young life. I loved him and felt loved and cared about by him. So how was his death my fault? It wasn’t, but I didn’t know that.

See – he had a laundry business and he picked up dirty laundry and delivered clean laundry in our little village. Sometimes he happened to catch me walking to my Mom’s work after school and gave me a ride up that steep hill to where she worked. That was really special. It didn’t matter that it was only a few minutes walk. He cared about me and showed it. Unfortunately I didn’t feel that from anyone else. So it mattered even more. When he died, I was sure it was my fault.

It was winter and he died in a car crash on that icy slope – I believe. And I believed that if he hadn’t driven there at that time, then of course he’d still be safe. And he must have been on that road because he was looking to give me a ride. It was the main road through town and I suspect now that he drove it often.

Then for a while I had the fantasy, that if I had just been there the way he was there for me, then he’d still be alive. I had heard that people get incredibly strong when there is an emergency like that. So I fantasized, that if I had been there, then I could have lifted the big delivery van off him and saved him. I was probably six or seven years old when it happened. It’s unlikely that he was under the car since he was the driver. But I didn’t think about that – until just now while writing this down.

How did I first realize that maybe it wasn’t my fault that he died? I was visiting my mother about 30 years after the accident and somehow the topic veered to our uncle. Well, she talked about how it was her fault that he died. I was incredulous! We both had the same idea and when we explored it, neither one of us realistically could have had any blame for his death.

Ask yourself: Do you have something in your life that you have blamed yourself for or been blamed for? Was it really your fault?

Call to Action and Why This Matters

If you are a perfectionist, you might have a HABIT of accepting blame – whether it is your fault or not. People around you will blame you. Or you will feel blamed. You may believe it, you expect it and accept it. So the cycle continues.
As a result you may avoid making decisions and procrastinate about taking action. You may avoid trying anything new. You may shy away from things like public speaking or anything else where people might be watching “for your next mistake”. You avoid and fear change. And because it feels terrible enough to make a mistake and blame yourself, it might be almost impossible to admit one when you really should say, “I am sorry. I made a mistake.”

This week, I encourage you to observe your patterns of behavior:
• why and when you procrastinate
• your willingness to try new things
• your ability to make decisions easily and decisively
• your ability to take reasonable risks

Taking it Farther

If perfectionism stalls your ability to move forward, you may want to look deeper. In what area of your life do you get stalled? Is there a clue in your past? Was there a traumatic event that caused you to become that way, or did you have an important person in your life early on whose lack of approval and constant criticism caused you to become shy and reticent to take any risks or make any mistakes?

Some people can heal this through journal writing or other self-help techniques; others may choose a trusted friend, a support group, therapist or coach to release this pattern over time. Others can change their HABIT of perfectionism with sheer effort of will. Whatever works for you – do it. I’m not saying to get sloppy, just to ease any stranglehold that perfectionism may hold over you.

You deserve to be free from constant self-doubt and harsh criticism by yourself or others. You deserve to be free to try new things, learn from your mistakes and “get messy”. Perfectionism doesn’t have to be a “life sentence”.

Contact me

Want more help? I’m here for you. Tired of holding yourself back? Get relief! Call to schedule some coaching sessions. Have questions? Call to get answers. Edith at 847.913.3900


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