“I’m worried about making the wrong decision. I’m paralyzed by fear—I have so much anxiety. What if make the wrong choice? What if I regret it for the rest of my life?” asks my uber-successful, perfectionist PR client.
You cannot make a wrong decision. You can only make a different decision.
Right and wrong decisions don’t exist; there are only different decisions. Every decision in life leads you to an experience. Sure, some of those experiences might feel better than others, but none are inherently better. They just set you on different paths.
“How can that be? I have made really bad decisions and suffered the consequences,” she says.
I respond, “I tell people that the best periods of their lives are actually the difficult ones because they lead to growth. What you might think was one of your worst choices—for example marrying your ex—I would argue was actually one of the best.”
“But I was tortured in that marriage,” she says.
“That relationship taught you what you will never do again. You lost yourself in that marriage. You denied your needs, you accepted verbal and emotional abuse, you condoned infidelity, and you accepted less than you deserve,” I reminded her. “But look where it brought you: You will never make that type of decision again. Now you are empowered, so you make better quality choices. You had to live through the bad in order to bring yourself the good.”
A “bad” decision can bring you to a higher place then a “good” decision.
You may think you made a “wrong” decision, but if you grow from that decision, then you have neutralized its affect. More importantly, you realize that “wrong” decisions are capable of bringing you to a far better place, one with better quality options.
No decision is as important as what you do after it has been made.
“Your decisions are important, but they aren’t as important as your next move,” I tell her.
“So you’re saying I can’t make a wrong decision because the decision is just the beginning of the road? And that if I learn from a ‘bad’ choice, better options will be available?” she asks.
“Yes. When you learn from bad decisions, you will be rewarded with higher quality people and situations,” I tell her. “It’s never just about the decision; it’s about what you do with that decision that determines your next experience.”
“What if I feel like I made the right decision and I’m happy with it?” she asks.
“If you’re happy with your decision, continue on that path until it no longer feels fulfilling, then choose again. If you’re unhappy with your decision, don’t just sit there. Make another decision. Remember it’s not the actual decision that matters; it’s what you do with it. If you just stew in your ‘bad’ decision, your situation will never change. But if you know you are always empowered to choose again, your life can only get better,” I remind her.
Here are three tips to guarantee that you always make the best decisions:
- Do what feels good. Deep down, you know what’s best for you. You can never make the wrong decision if you are truly listening to yourself. If it feels good, rock on. If it doesn’t feel good, change direction.
- Don’t look at decisions as outcomes; see them as part of a process. Don’t expect your decisions to be the be all end all. Every decision you make is a step along the process of your life. There is no such thing as a destination.
- Don’t judge yourself for your decision making ability. You don’t beat yourself up at the grocery store when you pick up a banana that’s spoiled. You put it down and pick up a different one. Life goes on. There are always more bananas.
Based in New York City, Donnalynn is the Author of “Life Lessons, Everything You Ever Wished You Had Learned in Kindergarten.” She is also a Certified Intuitive Life Coach, Inspirational Blogger (etherealwellness.wordpress.com), writer and speaker. Her work has been featured in Glamour, the iHeart Radio Network and Princeton Television. Her website is ethereal-wellness.com. You can follower her on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.