“How do I make a decision that will be best for me and my happiness?”

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This post is an answer to a submitted question. It aims to provide help and solutions to overcome the issue.

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“In life, the meaning we take from the event dictates the emotion we experience. Choose the meaning you make of each situation carefully.”

Submitted Question

"How do I make a decision that will be best for me and my happiness?

For example, I may soon be presented with a few different job offers, and I'm not sure which one I will choose and why. I want to make a decision that I feel good about, that is aligned with myself and my goals, and also with the expansion of myself. Sometimes, I want to choose what feels safe, comfortable, and easy. Other times, I want the best opportunity for professional growth and income, even if it pushes me outside of my comfort zone. I don't want to make a decision out of fear or urgency, where I just need to pick something and start earning an income as soon as possible. I worry about burnout, and it's hard to tell which position has the greatest chance of that.

My Response if we were in a coaching setting. Although without being able to ask questions, I may assume or use scenarios to fill in the gaps.

Feeling torn between two or more decisions is such a difficult feeling to live in. 

More thinking, doesn’t lead to more clarity it makes figuring it much more difficult.

I’m not super clear what your goals are, a good fit, and one that makes you happy are not solid goals. 

A good fit is way to vague. 

A job can’t inject happiness into you, just like a teddy bear can’t inject feelings of love safety and security into any person. That’s what we are conditioned to believe but that’s not possible. 

So what’s your goals? Being super clear with what these are and what’s in your control and clarity seems like what you’re looking for.

Are you trying to control the future? What would occur if you were to approach this with curiosity, excitement and being wildly adventurous? 

I would be curious how you truly feel about this situation, AND how you really want to feel., I get the impression that you’re smack dab in the middle of feeling fear.

Needing to know why it’s a good fit seems to be a lot of thinking, weighing, pros and cons, this is exhausting. 

Seek clarity by trusting your gut and intuition. Quiet your mind and listen to your inner voice. Trust your wisdom and let that lead you. Find answers in stillness. Breathe, let go of noise of your inner narrator go, and follow your intuition.

What decision will make you feel proud right now? 

While it may be tempting to focus on immediate gratification, fulfillment, paying the bills, and some sort of satisfaction, it is crucial to think about the bigger picture and how your decision will impact your overall career trajectory. Where do you want to be in 10, 15 20 years?

 So, after answering what you would be proud of now, answer...

What decision will make you feel proud of yourself later? 10, 20, 30 years from now?

How do you know this?

It's about being able to tell a story about it and being excited to share it with the people you love and care about. If you're not proud of it, you're not going to want to tell people about it. Having pride and doing something you enjoy, feeling honored, feeling as though it's a good fit for you, is better than going off of an impulsive decision.

Notice the two questions pertain to NOW and the FUTRE, not the past.

So these two questions will bypass your overthinking analytical mind, that’s sure to confuse you more.

You just never, ever, ever know how life is going to unfold… resist trying to figure it out.

No one knows what the future holds. No one can predict what the perfect job will be, not me, not a recruiter not you even. 

Understanding the source of your feelings is important here. A job, any job itself does not cause burnout. It may seem like it did in the past, I can understand how it may have appear that way. We humans get confused where our feelings come from, if you believe they start from things externally, this is likely a problem in other areas of your life as well.

Burnout, or being on the fast track to burnout, is NOT generally caused by the job itself. It is the result of the choices we humans make, such as taking on too much work, saying yes to additional tasks, going above and beyond our job duties, and working long hours without taking breaks to eat, hydrate, and recharge. Along with our thoughts and stories we create and evidence that it’s the job, the boss, the co-workers etc. These choices create the evidence and proof that lead people to blame the job. A job cannot make us feel overworked, overwhelmed, and burnt out, just like a teddy bear cannot make us feel loved, safe, and secure. If we believe that the job is the cause, every job will trigger the same negative thought pattern. It is similar to people who jump from one relationship to another and experience the same issues. The common factor is the person who keeps changing relationships, not the people they are dating. 

A job is not going to stress you out; these things come from your own thoughts. It's critical to set healthy boundaries for yourself so you can make healthy decisions in the realm of not working excessive hours, doing more than what your job description declares, resist volunteering to help, and also not working overtime. Having a healthy work life balance means recharging and rebooting, recovering and prioritizing yourself every day. Example, work no more than 8 hours, do what you want for 8 hours and sleep for 8 hours! Easy right? 

Nothing great in life comes easy.

We human beings learn when we are stretched, when we are uncomfortable, in the discomfort. You mentioned wanting to maybe expand yourself but also wanting to feel safe, comfortable and that it's easy? What one is it? You can't have both! It's a choice to avoid discomfort. Will you be proud of a job that is easy? Do you want to feel a job that stretches you, challenges you, helps you grow, has opportunities to advance, promote and train you? Do you want to feel a sense of importance? Then you need to find a job that has a culture that fits those needs, or what ever else you declare.

Being afraid of repeating a past event, such as burnout, is going to cloud your judgment, offer you no clarity, and possibly cause you to miss out on a decent opportunity. This is what I call triggered emotion. It is something that needs to be healed and repaired or seen through the lens of what it really is, lots of thinking. If you continue to believe the story that your job did burnt you out, your brain is going to act like a heat-seeking missile, looking for any signs or red flags that this potentially could be a job that will cause you to burnout. Burnout does not come from the job itself. Certainly there's cases where there's poor leadership but you said, burnout, if it was a demanding boss the story would be fear of working for a mean boss.  

When we go around and experience life and have a bad experience, and put that experience like a rock in our backpack that we have on our shoulders, and have a habit of looking for bad experiences and gather each experience, our backpack gets really heavy. When we avoid any chance of pain, our world becomes rather small, and our shoulders become weighed down by these boulders of bad experiences. Keeping and holding onto these bad experiences not only weighs you down, but it also greatly limits you with each bad experience that you collect. If you keep doing that, you're going to keep collecting bad experiences and it's going to get heavier and heavier. Harder and harder. You'll miss out on living your life fully. The answer is to have the willingness to let go of each "good or bad" experience that we may label as bad or hard and frame it as a learning lesson, and let them go. Put down the backpack and put down all the heavy experiences.

You are the writer of your own story; no one can make the decision of what job to take and what job to turn down but yourself. If you continue to carry around all your past pains and hurts, all it does is continue to poison your thoughts and your feelings today and in the future. You've got to heal, look at what you learned, see the gifts and opportunities you have now, and grow from your past. Use life experiences as lessons to better yourself today and moving forward; put down past hurts and pains. Fearing what's been done in the past, avoiding, worrying about being put in a similar situation again is only increasing thoughts of fear, creating feelings of fear. You see, your feelings come from you! You've got to move through the pain and the fear in order to take away its power from those fear-based stories.

What is the ONLY two difference between a high-performing employee and a low performing employee, how they think! Be careful what thoughts you feed and hang onto. 

High-performing employees possess a growth mindset, whereas low-performing employees tend to have a fixed mindset. A growth mindset entails a belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, hard work, and continuous learning. High performers embrace challenges, view setbacks as opportunities for growth, and constantly seek to acquire new skills and knowledge. On the other hand, individuals with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are fixed traits and cannot be significantly improved upon. This mindset limits their willingness to take risks, learn from failures, and expand their skill set.

What one do you have, fixed or growth mindset?

When someone is battling the pros and cons of a decision it’s a mental conflict. Your “mind” isn’t in alignment with your core beliefs and your values. It sounds like you wanna have a job and be financially stable but your mind is convincing you you could potentially put yourself in a position of burnout.

Your mind is not working for you. It’s working against you.

Problems need energy to live.

If you want to use your energy wisely, focus 90% on the solution instead of the problem.

Most people make the mistake of getting it backward, putting 90% or more energy toward the problem, giving away their power to the PROBLEM. They obsess, dwell, and ruminate over the problem. The problem consumes vital energy and it expands, it grows, it needs energy to survive. Resulting in the problem getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, and the solution becomes more and more difficult to access. You see, your solution isn't in your left-brain survival fear-based mode. It's in your right brain, where creativity, wisdom, openness, expansion, open-mindedness are. We can access our creative mind when we are focused on the solution. Individuals that have a habit of focusing on the problem or problems find themselves repeating the same patterns and problems over and over and over again.  

In life, let's face it, you're always going to have problems and challenges. It's how you think about them and navigate them in a way that maintains your goals, values, principles, and well-being. It's what I like to call the bounce-back factor. Being able to navigate life's challenges with your chin up and facing them with clarity, wisdom, and using your inner knowing and wisdom to see all the options. Having the tools, strategies, formula and a mindset that will help you live your life from how you want to feel, from the inside out.

By magnifying the problem, we aren't able to be innovative and creative to create realistic solutions, we deplete ourselves of vital mental and emotional energy.

Make a decision that’s align with your goals and who you are and your identity.

Don't expect yourself to always be right; it is only human to make mistakes. Be open to change because you will not improve if you don't make adjustments after being wrong.

Choose conviction and remain dedicated. It is impossible to achieve success while doubting oneself. Embrace the belief that things will work out, or else you will gain valuable lessons along the way.

Those who procrastinate on the problem, ignore it, or think it might go away, give that problem time to magnify, fester, and grow into a bigger problem and anxiety than it ever needed to be. If we dwell on and focus on the problem, it increases our stress levels so high that now the problem is impossible to solve because you've lost perspective and you're fully engulfed in left brain survival mode.

Get clear on your situation and look at the problem from an independent perspective, removing all emotions, look at it from an unbiased perspective. Looking at the facts and what's within your control. Defining the problem without telling stories about it magnifies the situation with loads of drama and fear. This clouds our solution-gathering process. Get SUPER clear on your vision of what you want and HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL. Not how you will feel working there, that’s for another day, how you want to feel in the space of being proud of your decision, dedication to working for the company and it’s culture, or how ever you’d describe it.. 

Remember to consider the work-life balance that the job offers. While it's essential to be passionate about your work, it's equally important to have time for personal interests, hobbies, and relationships. Look for a job that allows for a healthy work-life balance and provides flexibility when needed. This will contribute to your overall well-being and happiness in the long run.

No one maximizes life by making "all the right decisions." Clarity and learning come from taking action, taking the first step. Your greatest superpower is when you can view problems and challenges as growth opportunities. When things pop up, because they will, you can't avoid problems forever. When you see that you are strong and capable of navigating issues, you can view problems from the lens of "how can I learn and grow from this?" Seeing each situation as a means to learn and grow from and having and growth mindset.

You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength. Marcus Aurelius

I would also like to add anything that you allow to do the impossible, inject feelings into you, it becomes your master.

I hope this helps. I wish you all the best. Please share this with anyone you believe would benefit from the insights. Post a comment, I read and reply to them all. Thank you in advance!

If you want to send a question, please send to hello@katherine-hood.com please include: 

  • A coachable question (something that addresses what's in your control, your thoughts, feelings or actions.)
  • And context, explain a situation in the past, currently going through, or worries/concerns of the future, giving me some details on your thoughts and feelings about it. 

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