My first time in a Cheesecake Factory was in Union Square San Francisco in 2016.
Being the type of person who would change their mind 3 times at a restaurant with only 2 menu items - I was quite overwhelmed when the 21 page menu was handed to me.
How would I cope, what would I choose?
Making choices like this is one of life's fun things, what to eat where to holiday, what movie to watch - although even these can be challenging at times.
But what about some of the bigger choices or decisions - the actual life impacting ones - is there a way to make these a little easier and straight forward?
Well I'm glad you asked.
I want to share with you 3 things that have helped me. These really are 3 assumptions I had sitting around in the back of my head which I needed to challenge - and then decisions and choices became a lot easier.
#1 My first assumption was that there is a right and a wrong choice.
I had already removed the truly wrong options - the ones that could cause harm or hurt, or simply wasn't good for me.
So I found I wasn't choosing between right and wrong - I was choosing between 'right' and 'also right'
The paths I was choosing between were just different - with different experiences along the way.
For other choices, whichever path I've chosen has had good and bad, laughter and heartbreak - it's just a part of life that we can't seem to avoid - we may just experience it differently depending on the choice.
My second assumption was that I needed to go 100% in.
There was a time I was in paid employment and I really wanted to work for myself and be an independent contractor
So my first move? I quit my job.
That was one of my stupidest moves, but did result in a great 3 month holiday before I got another job.
For most scenarios you can try out an aspect to see if you like it or not. Like choosing an ice-cream - you can take a sample first.
The next time around with my employment I started by learning some of the skills I might need as an independent contractor - taking on some part time work to see if it fit.
There's always some steps in the general direction you can take to 'test the water' and if you decide that it's not for you then you have the freedom to change your mind.
#3 Third assumption was that I had to choose only 1
I was looking at it as an 'either / or' situation.
If I took Option A then I said a firm goodbye to Option B
What I found was that in many cases I could actually have both options - it was just a matter of timing.
Being in paid employment didn't mean I couldn't also have my own business.
Renting a house doesn't mean I couldn't own my own home.
Having a family doesn't mean I couldn't travel.
It was just a matter of timing.
Lastly what I really found motivating to move towards making a decision was this question…
What is the cost of inaction? What did I have to continue putting up with by not doing anything?
Was I happy to accept my current situation for the next 3-6 months? What about for the next 2-5 years?
Thinking about that was a great motivator.
We tend to move away from pain and towards pleasure. However change in itself can be painful, so we need to highlight the pain of doing nothing.
The great thing about life is that we are actually in the drivers seat. We get to choose the path, direction and speed, let's make sure we enjoy the journey!