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Swiss chard or spinach? Almonds or walnuts? Dark chocolate with mint or with cherries?? These teeny tiny decisions pepper my weekly grocery shopping experience, and by the time I’ve made them all, I’m very, very tired. My little brain hurts! And it wants candy, then a nap.
So imagine what happens to my brain when the decision I need to make is actually consequential. Like, What am I doing about this relationship? Or, When do I quit my job?? Or, What color socks shall I wear today?
That is the sound of me shrugging my shoulders and turning on Netflix. Because, first, there’s Avoidance: becoming aware that a decision needs to be made, then taking that awareness…and flushing it down the toilet. The awareness sits obediently in a subconscious corner of my mind, taking up space and energy in my brain while it waits for genuine attention.
This can take a long time. Like, years. You know?
After the Avoidance comes the Agonizing. Why is this happening to me?! This is so difficult! Argh! Can’t someone else decide for me???! I am DONE.
I can throw extraordinary pity parties, although usually I don’t tell anyone about them. Sometimes I bring my bestie or my cat but mostly these soirees take place in my mind, where I am the downtrodden heroine who is seriously contemplating retirement.
This is not a particularly empowered place. (One of many costs of indecision.)
The Agonizing doesn’t last forever, thank goodness, mostly because I get bored with playing the same sentences on repeat, pretending that the rational arguments are getting me somewhere even while I’m still parked in front of the television. So almost by accident I move to the next phase, which is: (…drumroll…) Deciding! Finally!
For me, Deciding happens fairly quickly these days. Once I face up to the actual 3-D reality that a decision must be made, I sit down, and it happens. That’s basically it. At least, that’s how it would look from the outside.
Here’s what happens on the inside, broken down into steps:
Step 1: Sit down in quiet solitude. (No pings, no people, no cats.)
Step 2: Take deep breaths – personally, I prefer three – and focus my mind on the feeling of air entering and exiting my lungs, slowly and fully.
Step 3: Identify the decision to be made, and tune in to what I want.
Step 4: Receive the first intuitive hit that comes through.
(I trust that my intuition represents my deepest, wisest self, the most timeless self that is always connected to everyone and everything through all space, time, and dimension, the part of me that always knows the truth. Just like yours.)
Step 5: Trust what comes through, even if it’s scary.
In other words, what I do is calm down and receive my own inner knowing. I consciously open my mind to the voice of my deepest self. And it often takes just a moment – these five steps can flow in literally just a quick minute or two.
Note that this process is not about “figuring it out.” That phrase brings in the energy of struggle, and it’s not necessary.
Nor is the process a glorious tribute to Rational Thinking. I don’t engage my logical problem-solving brain, creating flow-charts or lists of pros and cons. (That capacity is reserved for important things like crossword puzzles.) No need to do this kind of effort – it’s too much of the head.
For me, the phases of Avoidance and Agonizing are nothing more than tricky little mind traps that build a pretense: a dull masquerade where I sport the mask of not knowing.
When I’m ready to drop the mask – when I’m really ready to know – the decision usually reveals itself. It plops right into my brain, relaxes into the sofa, and kicks off its shoes to stay a while. It’s lovely, and it’s easy, and you can totally do it, too!
In fact, as heroines, we can do this whenever we need. We can intend to receive our inner knowing and let the knowing simply unfold. It’s a magnificent superpower, and you’ve already got it – no doubt.
We’d love to hear from YOU…
What decisions are you struggling to make right now? How could you tune into your deepest self and let the answers flow? Leave your answer in the comments below!