Every now and then an opportunity will show up on our doorstep and we will need to make a decision. Decisions can be hard even at the best of times, because we’re all petrified of making the wrong one.
But how do we know if an opportunity is really that and not just a glamorous distraction in disguise?
We are all heading towards a certain point in life, some call it their purpose, their mission, their bliss – their nirvana. So a logical way to approach decision-making would be to ask yourself, ‘Is this taking me closer or further away from my end goal?’ And in that case, it’s likely to be pretty clear which road to choose.
But I’ve learned that it’s not always that simple. There is a danger that if we let too much logic take the wheel, suddenly we find ourselves spending years in a job that was only supposed to be a ‘stepping stone’ because it’s good money and it’s funding the end goal.
And this can work out great if we keep that end goal at the forefront, but more often than not, we get taken over with reasoning until suddenly we wake up years later still sitting in that cubicle because that promotion we were promised in 2013 is just around the corner and we couldn’t possibly miss the work Christmas party this year.
And I get it. I do. I’ve been there.
It’s tempting to follow these ‘dangling carrots’ that lead us forward on a daily basis. But what I’ve found in more cases than not is that carrot is more likely to end up tasting like Snow White’s poisoned apple, because all it has done is hindered movement and frozen your dreams so much so that they become impossible to thaw out.
So when it comes to making decisions we stay where it’s comfortable, where we’ve made our nest and developed a beautiful dependency on our co-workers who are similarly waiting for their bank accounts to pad just enough to hit the eject button.
But in my experience, we rarely do leave.
And I’ve taken a hunk out of that poisoned apple more times than I can count. Promotions. Promises. Paid vacations. Social Events. And I fall for it time and time again just holding on, persevering, pushing that niggling feeling of my dreams, slipping so far backwards that I’m surprised they’re stilling talking to me.
But recently something happened that changed the way I looked at decision-making entirely.
I had just moved back to Sydney, Australia and was offered a 4-week temporary office role. It wasn’t something I had actively been searching for, but the decision stopped me short. The money sounded good, the hours worked, there was no long-term commitment, the dates fell perfectly into my schedule, I knew the role inside out. The only thing I would have to do is dust off the cobwebs on my corporate dresses and slip on my heels and I’d be good to go.
But something happened.
My body started to react to the decision before my mind could. I knew immediately something was off and that perhaps this time, blind denial wasn’t going to work for me. So rather than putting together my stock standard pro and con list, I tried something different this time.
I closed my eyes and imagined myself walking through those office doors with my morning coffee in hand, making my way towards the desk that would be mine for a month. I asked myself how would I feel? How would I be? How would I act? How would the weeks play out? What would I gain from the experience?
And the first thing my imagined self did was look at the clock.
Suddenly, my body became overcome with this low, sluggish, uninspired dread that I had 8 hours of the day to get through. And that prior feeling of joy I’d been riding before I’d received this job offer had vanished completely. But it didn’t make sense, I wanted to say. My logical mind wanted to do it for the money – more to the point, I needed the money! It would fund my next steps perfectly. And it would be easy as pie! ‘Please, please,’ I begged myself, ‘just let me do it, it’s only a month and then we will be free again, I promise!’
But then I heard something.
A voice telling me that the money would still come. That should I choose joy over fear it would still appear, just not in the way I’d be expecting. It felt like some ridiculous life gamble and with absolutely no evidence to the contrary, I rolled the dice in blind faith and declined the job.
Later that same day, I got offered a short-term job that still enabled me to incorporate my creative writing with little to no disruption to my joy. Granted, it was only for one day, but I smiled knowing that tomorrow was another day, and hence a new invitation for opportunity.
And all I had to do was chose joy.
So here’s the thing. I’m not saying we should all march into work tomorrow and tell them where to shove it. But when you’re faced with a decision in any aspect of your life. Be it work, love, finance, health, relationships, and so on, rather than getting stuck on logic, pros and cons, goals and plans and roadmaps towards success, when a decision arises simply, ask yourself this:
Will saying yes to this bring me joy?
The body doesn’t lie. You will feel it. Any decision we make big or small – a date, a job offer, a party invitation this weekend. Ask yourself if it will bring you joy. Because joy is one of the highest frequencies we can omit and simply by choosing it you will notice things automatically start to flow. Life becomes fluid, easy– doors open up, you move forward, it’s light, fun, blissful! You meet joyous people and opportunities you’d never considered arise to the surface.
So, does your day-to-day lifestyle bring you joy? Yes? Great. Then keep doing what you’re doing! Keep doing it until it no longer brings you joy. Does moving in with your partner bring you joy? Great! Then shack up as soon as possible. Does the thought of going to work tomorrow bring you joy? And if the answer is no, then there are two roads you can take.
Joy or fear.
The choice is yours.