Last night I was reminded of one of my favorite phrases: It’s not the decision you make it’s what you put behind the decision that counts. When I said it, a friend commented, “I wish someone had told me that a long time ago!”
Sometimes I am accused of being “too decisive,” which really means the choice I made isn’t what that person wanted me to choose. How important is it that our decisions are compatible with those around us?
If I were living with someone, involved in a committed relationship or had daily interaction as a family member, it would be important to include others in my decision making process. One of the great benefits of living alone is that we don’t have to talk about those things with anyone else. Want a new chair? If you can afford it, you can buy it! Want to save money? Want to spend money? It is your decision.
Our decisions do affect others, though, so it makes sense to consider them even if they don’t have “deciding rights.” In dating, for example, to decide to stop seeing someone may be a unilateral decision that all parties don’t agree with. But if one doesn’t, it really wouldn’t make sense to keep dating just so the other person would feel better, would it?
And when you’re first dating someone, it is sort of challenging to figure out how much joint decision making to engage in. Do you look at your calendars and plan times to see each other? Sort of takes away the spontaneity. But then you might make plans that conflict with the other person, so some conversation helps. All this is really interesting to deal with as a dating person in my sixties. Most of my friends, who are married or in couple relationships, don’t even think about this stuff!
Other decisions are challenging to make when you’re by yourself. I can remember when I was married I really enjoyed having a sounding board for all kinds of choices I made. Since I’ve been single for twenty years, I find that I have different friends I go to for different topics–which makes it really great since when I only relied on my husband as a sounding board, we often went in a direction that didn’t particularly work, because we didn’t always have enough information to make a wise decision.
It sounds like I’m touting the benefits of being single, but I’m really not. I would love to have a true companion that can be a great sounding board, yet still offer me the challenge and support I need to grow. But this time around, I wouldn’t even consider giving up my friends as sounding boards also–because they are too much a part of my life.
And, the information and advice I get from my friends helps me put my energy behind my decisions, which is the most important part! The thing about really going with a decision and not doing a lot of second guessing is that it gives me a way to fully experience my choice. I can always choose something else if it doesn’t work out. But if I don’t decide something in the first place, and fully act it out, then I’m just sitting in limbo, which doesn’t work for me.
Which takes me back to the title of this piece, Life Entrepreneurs Are Decisive. If we weren’t we wouldn’t be carving out our lives, we’d be waiting for something to happen. I remember something I got from one of my coaching trainers:
“Some people wait for things to happen; some people watch things happening; some people make things happen.”
I believe that Life Entrepreneurs make things happen. However, from this perspective of having lived a bit more of life than when I first saw those words 17 years ago, I now see a benefit in also waiting for things to happen and watching things happen. As a Life Entrepreneur, I have gained an appreciation for BEING here, not just being the activator—which means a lot happens around me that I don’t need or want to control.
I had to come to a decision about that. I had to decide that I was ready to stop trying so hard in life and allow it to also happen. In the beginning, that felt very risky, but now that I’m more used to it, I’m really glad I put a lot of energy behind that decision. It certainly makes my life more interesting!