When you stop intentionally making choices, your life halts. With ambivalence and indecision, you become stagnant and lose your ability to act with purpose. When you’re feeling stuck, making a proactive choice instantly creates movement and energy that ripples outward, shifting the terrain so that new opportunities and routes forward are exposed.
This is true for proactive choices of all sizes. Instead of standing paralyzed when big choices feel overwhelming or unreachable, you can create momentum by zooming in on a smaller choice that brings you back into a position of control.
A friend confided that after being with her boyfriend for two years she was questioning if he was right for her. Was he enough? Were they compatible for the long-term? Was she settling based on their differences?
“Are you prepared to make the choice to leave him altogether?” I asked.
“No”, she decisively stated.
“Then consider making a smaller choice that’ll give you answers to your questions,” I suggested. “What about choosing to focus on what you love about the two of you for a short period of time and noticing how you feel?”
“That feels much better and less stressful,” she shared.
Days later, a friend bemoaned how she no longer felt aligned with the other physicians in her large practice, and was growing frustrated with the professional dynamics, politics and corporate structure of their practice.
After the loss of both her father and a close friend, her partners were not understanding of her need to take some time off. This caused her to question who they were as people, leading her to feel she didn’t want to remain in business with them.
“Are you prepared to walk away from the practice? Is that the choice you’re ready to make?” I inquired.
Just as my friend had stated days earlier, she emphatically said no.
“Then what’s the smaller choice that feels best to make now?”
“I must choose to do my own inner work so that I can be fully present and serve my patients.”
Scaling back the breadth of your choice can remove your anxiety while still allowing you to move forward. It may be that while a problem seems large — and it may very well be — smaller adjustments can have a meaningful impact. Should you detect that an element of your life is out of alignment, you can make a smaller proactive choice that will create a shift and put you in control.