Vail Valley living on purpose: Take small steps toward a decision
Vail CO, Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” “I ran into someone I used to work with,” Sheila began as we started our coaching session. “She is on the board of a non-profit organization and they are looking for a new executive director. She said I would be perfect for the job.”
“What do you know about this opportunity?” I asked.
“She and I met and I got information on the organization, a job description, and a list of board members,” Sheila said. “I’ve weighed all of the factors and compared it to where I am now. I’m stuck and I don’t know what to do. I feel like I am in quicksand. The more I struggle the more I sink.”
“Why are you struggling?” I asked.
“I’m looking for the right answer. It’s like I’m on a game show and I have to pick between curtain No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3. I don’t like games of chance. There’s too much at stake.”
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“Why wouldn’t you take the job?” I asked.
“I’ve been in my job for five years and I continue to learn and grow. The staff feels like a family to me. I like going to work. It’s close to my house, and I am due for a promotion in two months.”
“It sounds like there are many reasons to stay. Why would you leave?” I asked.
“The organization’s mission is close to my heart. I could expand my skills and meet new people. Who knows where it would lead?”
“If we had an imaginary set of scales here, which way would it tip?” I asked.
“It’s balanced,” she said and began to run through the reasons again. A minute later, she looked up at me and asked, “Can you see me sinking in the quicksand?”
“Let me see if I can throw you a line,” I said. “For the next minute, why don’t you release any thoughts of reasoning? It doesn’t have to make sense right now. There are no curtains to choose from and no right answer.”
She closed her eyes and I saw her body relax into the chair.
“Take the pressure off. What’s here for you now?”
“When I stop thinking so much, I feel still and I’m not sinking anymore but I’m still in quicksand.”
“Without referring to either job, what are the characteristics you envision for your ideal job?” I asked.
Sheila described how she wanted her career to be.
“Is this new opportunity within the scope of your vision?” I asked.
“Yes but so is my current job,” she said.
“If you had to decide right now from this still space, without any more analysis beyond your thoughts, if you had to reach into your gut, what would be your next step?”
“I would take the next step towards the new job,” she said. “What’s keeping me stuck is the possibility of making a mistake. But how will I know unless I try?”
She paused and then said, “I was getting lost and comfortable in the struggle ” all at the same time. I know that sounds weird, but it felt safer to not take a risk, even if that meant giving up something good. I am now willing to take a risk and move forward.”
We closed the session by creating action steps. After some reflection, she said, “It can’t hurt to take one baby step forward. I trust myself that even if the worst thing happens, I will be fine.”
“Even if you don’t pick the ‘right curtain?'” I asked.
“There isn’t really a ‘right curtain.’ It’s just a series of “right for now” baby steps.
When faced with a decision, which option takes you closer to or further away from your goal? If it takes you further away, it may not be worth considering. If it takes you closer, trust yourself. More often than not, you do know what is best, especially if you tune in and listen. Look for one baby step to move you forward. A baby step is so small that even if the worst thing happens, you can handle it. Keep walking through these steps with each decision you face to avoid feeling stuck and to continue moving forward.
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction. Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. If you have topic suggestions, e-mail or comment on Sheri’s blog, http://www.coachwithsheri.com/blog. Sheri can be reached at email@example.com.