How do you know if you are making the right choice? When you are about commit yourself to something that question can be exhausting to consider; which doesn’t keep us from losing sleep and our minds trying to answer it.
- Do I need to make a change?
- What if I make the wrong choices?
- What if I don’t like what I decided to do?
- Can you guarantee I’ll be happy with the changes I am making today, tomorrow and ten years from now?
These are the kinds of questions that go on in the minds of the people I work with. Aware that something is missing, they are so uncertain of how much change is needed in their life, let alone what kind of change. The cost of change is huge – stress, time, hope, money… just to name a few things that get put to the test with every choice we make. So it makes sense that we should be cautious and thorough in our consideration of whether to move forward with change or not.
Of course, there is nothing like going for it and realizing that you made the right choice, and that you are fulfilled by your decision.
Is Hindsight the only way?
Here’s the truth of the matter, there is NO WAY to guarantee that you are making the right decision. That is what is so infuriating about hindsight, you have all the variables at that point, so making the right choice seems easy, but at the time you were making your initial decision, you only had a fraction of that knowledge and if you are lucky you made the best decision possible given the data you had on hand.
The only way I know to guarantee that my clients are making the best possible choices is to make sure that the changes they are making are a true reflection of who they are today. That’s why looking at your values and needs is such a key component of every Life in Focus coaching program.
Take the Focus Equation, it’s all about figuring out the right choices each one of us needs to make in order to create a plan to thrive. The whole program is about identifying what matters to you, so that you can create practical goals to work towards those needs and thrive. Can I guarantee that those are the right choice, as in there will never be anything you would do differently? No, but by connecting your choices to your needs and values as they exist today you make them meaningful and therefore right for you… Right for you, that’s pretty good, and about a close as I figure we get to “right” without the perspective of hindsight.
Meghan Leatherman’s story
At the time Meghan and I worked together, she was a recently new mom, who had relocated from San Diego to Phoenix for her husband’s job a couple years prior. In San Diego she had worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, a job she loved, and before that she had been employed by the largest PR consulting firm in the Southeast (McNeely, Piggot & Fox Public Relations). Her whole life Meghan had been a driven and exceptionally successful career woman A PR a pro, who once she got to San Diego reinvested that drive into her health and athletics; Meghan began running marathons, joined a CrossFit gym, and enjoyed the competitive aspect of being an athlete.
So far so good, we have a woman who has a clear notion of what she wants, understands which choices she needs to make, and clearly isn’t too worried about the questions I wrote out earlier. Following on this path she and her husband Chad decided to start their family, something she had always dreamt of, and because she is who she is Meghan even wrote about the process, creating CrossFit and Pregnant, a blog that has received national attention. Soon after the birth of her daughter, however, is where things started to get confusing. The role of mother, although greatly desired, threw Meghan for a loop. As she puts it: “For more than 10 years, I wore the titles of “pr pro,” “marketer,” or “communicator” with bravado. I knew what those titles meant and required. It wasn’t until I added the “momma” title into my repertoire that I was navigating new waters and couldn’t paint a clear picture of how to balance the old with the new.”
We used the Focus Map to clarify current values and priorities. It helped us understand what she needed to be satisfied, and gave us a template upon which to base our goals for her. We needed to create goals that, practically speaking, fit into her current life – a life that took into account the joys and the constraints of motherhood – while still meeting all the needs that had previously been addressed by her professional and athletic endeavors.
Back to Meghan’s words: “While it may seem silly, since millions of women are balancing work with motherhood, I was stuck trying to figure it out. I felt like I was failing my family and I knew I was failing my bank account from the lack of sustainable funds.
Using the Focus Map, Alessandra challenged me to answer some tough questions and helped me visualize [the current] me. Once I had my vision as a stay-at-home-working mom, she guided me in crafting a business plan and setting realistic, achievable goals to (re)build my business. Her approach with the Focus Map allowed me to verbalize what my challenges were (ironic, right? the communicator couldn’t communicate!).
Once I could see myself in my new roles and identify with that woman, I was able to focus on a more manageable list of actions. While I am now more comfortable and confident with my blended roles, Alessandra continues to hold me accountable and remains an invaluable sounding board. That accountability has led me to retain new clients while continuing to raise my baby full-time. It’s not always perfect, but I am able to go back to my vision and stay the course.”
Meghan is still working on that balance, but she knows that the goals she is pursuing are not simply right, but right for her. There are months with great momentum and others when life takes over, but at the end of the day she is motivated to regroup and move forward. Meghan is amazing at what she does – I know, because she is helping me with my social media and PR currently – but she needed to combine her professional and the personal roles in order to feel fulfilled.