Life does not come with a guide book. It is filled with choices and the need to make decisions. Should you take that new job offer? Is the person you’re dating really right for you? Should you move into that new house?
Don’t you wish someone could just TELL YOU EXACTLY what you were supposed to do with your life? If only there was a step-by-step playbook guiding — no, scratch that — directing you on each and every decision you needed to make with the GUARANTEE that things would work out perfectly.
Those darn choices are never sure things—what happens if you make the wrong decision? It could all go terribly wrong . . . right?
THE GOOD NEWS is that most things can be fixed or changed. You be may be stumbling along doing things that later SEEM like a complete waste of time. You may be kicking yourself thinking: “I should have known better.” But trying things, experimenting, and assessing your results are all a part of life.
LIFE IS ABOUT LEARNING. This learning is what LEADS you to the RIGHT PATH.
My mom just sent me an article with quotes from Steve Jobs. Reading through them, I realized that most of his quotes confirm the importance of listening to, respecting, and following your heart. And as an instinctual person who relies on their gut A LOT, I wanted to expand on that concept—listening to your GUT * HEART * YOU . . .
Is that the right thing to do and if so, why? How can you listen to your heart and truly know that it is your heart talking?
To start, it is important to note . . .
1) One choice does not fit all.
This is a tough one to realize. What is the right thing for one person, may not be the right thing for someone else.
Years ago, I had a friend provide an analogy when I was heartbroken over my breakup with an old boyfriend. She used six powerful words: It was not a good fit. As she said, “What you needed and what he could provide did not fit–and vice-versa. It doesn’t mean either of you are a bad person; you just didn’t fit with each other.”
I didn’t like that advice or analogy–not at first. It was when she elaborated that things clicked (I will paraphrase her words): “You see a shirt you like. At first sight, it appears to be something that would look good on you. But, you try it on and the size is wrong. It is too large (or too small) and it doesn’t fit. It doesn’t mean that it is a bad looking shirt or unfashionable. It just didn’t fit you. But it will fit someone else.”
This insight was two-fold: (1) yes, what is a good choice and decision for one person, doesn’t mean it is a good choice for you. Everyone is different. (2) You sometimes have to TRY ON the decision to see if it works or not. And if it doesn’t work/FIT then that is okay. Now you know. It is THEN that you are able to determine what it is that you DO want.
2) Take time to be quiet.
It is when you are quiet and have removed yourself from the chaos that you are able to HEAR what your heart is telling you. Go for a walk in the woods, spend alone time in nature–these are some of the ways in which you can clear your head and reflect without the influence of outside factors. It is easy to let other people’s hopes and desires for you affect your decisions. It is in this deep reflection that you can determine if what you are hearing is your heart—or others’ opinions.
3) Listen to body signals. Your body is smarter than you might give it credit. When you are about to make a decision, how do you feel? Is there a pit in your stomach, do your palms break out in sweat, do you have a feeling of dread? Or, do you feel pumped with adrenaline or excitement? Your body is receptive to your intuition and will often react accordingly.
4) Trusting your heart does not mean you will be 100% doubt-free.
It is very common to have doubts once a decision has been made. You may find yourself second-guessing yourself down the road and wondering, “did I make a mistake?” This often happens when the newness and/or novelty wears off. If things do not go exactly as you thought it would, it doesn’t mean that your decision was wrong. It could be fear creeping in making you question your decision(s).
This can happen EVEN when the RIGHT decision has been made.
This is when you have to re-examine in a quiet space; listen to your heart and body. Picture how you would feel if you quit or changed your mind? Do you feel sad (making you realize that you want to KEEP with your decision) or do you feel relieved (making your realize that another change is in order)?
Regardless, always remember that failure is only for those who do not try. ONLY YOU can know what is truly best for you.