Are the decisions we make every day holding us back from achieving what we really want out of life? And are we even aware the effect they are having on our lives?
When we make decisions we are generally faced with two options; try something new or stick with what we know. This is the case for small fairly insignificant decisions like picking something new from a menu or ordering your usual, right through to those large life decisions, do we relocate, switch careers or start a business.
Our decisions can be categorised as fear-based or growth orientated. Fear based decisions feel easier to make, they keep us our familiar environments, they can keep us safe but they also limit our potential.
If you are feeling disillusioned, unfulfilled, fed up, uninspired, bored, angry or trapped on a regular basis, then the chances are this is because of the fear based decisions you have made. Your mind is signalling that perhaps it’s time to make different choices. It’s time to look at that job or relationship and see if it really is what you want or if you need to make some changes. Facing up to realities can be uncomfortable and you will need to ask yourself some tough questions such as, what do I ultimately want from life, will this ever deliver that and am I willing to change to get what I want, even if it means leaving things or people behind? But it is the only way to identify what you need and change the decisions you make from fear based to growth orientated.
Growth orientated – as the name suggests, allows us to grow, explore our potential and lead fulfilling lives.
Growth decisions are hard! They are the tough decisions you need to make. Do you quit your job and retrain? Do you start that business you have always wanted? Or do you leave that relationship? These are the decisions that can really affect your life, self-esteem and happiness. When mulling these over our minds constantly go back to what if I fail, what if it all goes wrong, people rely on me and so on. This keeps you from making these decisions. But it doesn’t have to be one huge life-changing decision, it can be lots of smaller decisions each day.
For example, let’s say you want to quit your job and start your own business. Rather than deciding on handing in your resignation today, you could instead decide to do some market research to check that there is demand for your product or service. Tomorrow you could choose to continue this research. Another day you might decide to attend a networking event or a training session. Another day you might decide to see what support is available for new businesses. Every day you decide to go to work but you are also making lots of growth orientated decisions that are moving you towards your goal. These positive decisions will keep building up until you can make that big growth decision to hand in your resignation.
This is exactly what I did. I knew I was deeply unhappy in my workplace. The department’s values were at odds with my own and that caused real internal conflict for me. I kept turning up day after day trying to make a difference. The drive to work was awful, it showed me just how much I didn’t want to be there but then I’d get in to the office, make a coffee and chat with some of my colleagues and it didn’t seem too bad. But I knew I needed to follow my passion. So each day I made a decision to grow. This could be anything from reading a business book, listening to podcasts, studying or networking. I knew at that point I couldn’t make the big decision and resign so instead I made the decision to dedicate time each day towards personal growth until I could resign.
To start realising your full potential, first of all you need to be aware of the decisions you make and whether they are fear based or growth orientated. Then decide what you really want in life. If you can make the big growth orientated decision now, then go for it. But if, like many people, you can’t make that decision just yet then consciously make a growth orientated decision towards your goal each day. These small daily decisions will collectively make a real difference. Once you are ready, make that big growth decision and take the leap. It’s bound to still feel scary and exciting. The euphoria and sense of freedom you get from walking away from what wasn’t making you happy and towards something that will, is proof you have done the right thing.
Businessman and venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla sums this up perfectly “Most people avoid risk so much in their lives, they fail to try things”
By failing to try things you limit your potential and may miss out on things that could bring you huge amounts of happiness and fulfilment. Step out of your comfort zone, move away from the status quo and start making more growth based decisions today.