Written By: Enuma Okoro
We’ve all been there. Faced with an exciting decision that could alter our daily and professional lives in a big way but daunted by what saying YES could mean. We wanted it sure but not right NOW! Are we really up for the task? Is it biting off more than we can chew? What if we fail? But then again, as the saying goes, “What if we fly?”
Courage isn’t just required in dangerous situations. Saying yes to big potentially amazing life experiences also require courage. And it’s perfectly normal to be afraid in the face of even big decisions that could help you move towards your goals. Change can be scary, even beautiful change. But once we acknowledge that it’s alright to be scared we have to keep moving from there and make the best decisions towards living our best lives. We have to find the courage to say yes in the face of our fears.
WHAT IF WE FAIL? WHAT IF WE FLY?
When an opportunity comes along that could take us to the next level in our career or in our personal lives it will usually require facing down those fears and having to release something in our lives to make room for what’s being offered. When I find myself with a major life opportunity in front of me it can be tempting to spin into over analyzing and worry about whether or not to step out of my comfort zone and into this new space full of so much potential but also so much of the unknown. So I’m learning to ask myself some key questions to help me make the best decision and to move forward towards what I imagine could be my best life. I start by getting to the heart of anything that could keep me from saying yes to my life.
What am I afraid of?
When I really ask myself this question and have to answer aloud I usually find that my fears, if I can even articulate them, are sort of irrational. They don’t make sense when spoken aloud. And as a result, they are forced to diminish in size. If I am able to articulate fears that make sense then I try turning the fear around to see what’s on the other side. I often think that our fears offer us clues to what we really want.
How is saying “yes” to this invitation in line with the kind of life I want to live?
It’s basically another way of asking if this option on front of you is in sync with your sense of purpose and the intention for your life. Asking this question forces me to reassert my values, the non-negotiables, what I believe my overall purpose is (which can play out in different ways over the course of my life,) and the life I want. It’s always powerful to speak aloud the particular things I desire and need for the particular season of my life. If, for instance, I know I’m ready to channel my love for storytelling through travel writing then I also know I need and desire the freedom to travel and curate travel stories. I’d have to keep that in mind when trying to make a big life shifting decision.
Three years from now what would I regret if I turned this invitation down?
I use 3 years because I’ve found in my own life experiences that it takes about that long for a major life decision to show its seasoned fruits. Taking a new job, moving to a new city or country or starting a business or venture.
Is there anyone in relation to this decision that I’m trying to please or that I’m afraid of disappointing?
This can be a tough question to ask because often the answer is yes. Very few of us, especially women, are raised to do things solely for our own benefit or desire. We’ve been falsely taught that is selfish and bad. We subconsciously carry other people along with us and make decisions based on their potential responses to us. Whether it’s a parent or partner or even strangers we think we have to compete with or impress. We owe it to ourselves (and to all those waiting for the amazing things we’ll do when we live from our grounded honest selves) to make the best decisions for ourselves regardless of what anyone else thinks.
We owe it to ourselves to make the best decisions for ourselves regardless of what anyone else thinks.
What added advantages or opportunities could come from saying yes?
Sometimes we forget that life is not static. Every decision we make sets in motion a slew of other things in our lives. One of my favorite quotes about decision-making is from the book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. “Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision." One yes can lead to a million other beautiful yeses.
What could I learn from this new opportunity?
If we’re not learning in life we’re not growing. I think every big invitation in life that I say yes to should not just be an opportunity for me to shine and flourish but also for me to learn and grow.
And finally I ask myself, “Will I be happy?”
Could I wake up every morning and be content and happy about saying yes and going forward with this choice and this change? Life is too short and full of too many other possibilities for anything else.
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